Sunday, March 9, 2014

#Libchat host Natalie Binder shares primer on autism

Mug shot: Natalie Binder
Natalie Binder on Facebook
From rural Florida librarian Natalie Binder, here’s a “librarian’s personal primer” on autism spectrum disorder.
“I’ve often wondered if librarianship attracts autistic people, or if there is a higher rate of this common disability among librarians. I don’t think anyone’s done a study on the subject, but I keenly remember how important school and public libraries were to me when I was a child.”
This library assistant, who is also on the spectrum, appreciates Binder’s essay for its comprehensive information about autism spectrum disorder, including explanations of what autism is and is not.

Among them, autism is not an “inability to feel empathy or love.” Autism is not a “disease that needs a cure” or an “excuse for harassment or abuse.”

I appreciate knowing that someone else on the spectrum is employed in library science. I’ve argued that efforts at diversity in libraries need to include people with disabilities.

To read Binder’s essay is to receive affirmation that there are more of us out there:
“As someone with a disability that impacts cognition, or the way the brain processes information, I find information science and data analysis compelling subjects. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I chose a career in libraries. I also know that autistic children still frequently find their way to the library. I think a good understanding of autism spectrum disorders is valuable for anyone who works in libraries.”
I look forward to further posts by Binder on the subject of autism. I share her concern that employee selection needs to become more equitable and the workplace needs to become more welcoming.

Binder hosts #libchat from 5 to 6:3p p.m. Pacific Time, on Twitter. It’s a weekly forum among library professionals and students. Participants self-curate their posts with the #libchat hashtag. Binder accepts questions sent without the hashtag to her @nataliebinder Twitter account.

Binder notes in her blog’s “About Me” section that content is free to share under a Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommercial license (CC-BY-NC).

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