October Recognizes Important Observance
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.
According to the US Department of Labor, this year marks not only the 75th observance of NDEAM, but also the 30th anniversary of the ADA. Both milestones are being commemorated with a range of events and activities centered on the theme “Increasing Access and Opportunity.”
“This annual event draws attention to employment and ADA barriers that still need to be addressed,” said Sherry Machones, NWLS & WVLS Inclusive Services Consultant. “Are there things we can do in our libraries right now to convey inclusivity for patrons who have disabilities, or who might have difficulty applying for positions? I think that’s a good place to start.”
Machones said ensuring library entrances and walkways are accessible is one way to make our library buildings more inclusive. However, the pandemic has forced many services to go virtual.
Machones stresses the importance of making your services digitally accessible. Websites, electronic documents and mobile applications should easily be navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including users who have visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities.
For more information and posters on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, see the US Department of Labor website.