Thinking About Access

SR Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science, typed out in blue and green on two identical sheets of paper.

Five Laws of Library Science, blue and green. Image by rochelle hartman at Flickr.

Some scattered thoughts about access to cultural institutions and GLAM (gallery, library, archive, museum) spaces that have been rattling around in my head for about a month, mostly questions.

When we say access, what kinds of access are we addressing? What kind of barriers to access are we focused on?

Intellectual access: Specifically as barriers, such as illiteracy, active illiteracy, untreated intellectual disorders, under-educated/poorly educated. Are our instructional staff reaching out and teaching these crucial skills? Are our tools and visual guides too hard to read for people who are low reading levels or for whom English is not their native language?

Physical access: Is this something that is in compliance with ADA/disability guidelines, but also impoverished areas that don’t have GLAM spaces, or places that aren’t easily reachable by public transit and aren’t part of anyone’s homebound route or bookmobile route? Can people get inside the building easily, and once inside, can they navigate around and access materials and exhibits without requesting aid?

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Wednesday Briefs: Disassembly Required (Part 4)

I hope everyone is enjoying the Disassembly Required story so far (and if you need a refresher or haven’t started it yet, you can start with part one here), because I’ve finally written the fourth installment! This week, at least one question gets answered, Beatriz remains awkward, and I find new ways to remember that she’s holding a dang skillet one-handed the entire time.

Disassembly Required, part 4. Prompts used: mist, motorcycle, emerald, bar.

When she opened her eyes, Beatriz thought she was somewhere else. She no longer saw her own car, but the parking lot was now filled with other vehicles. The fog had lifted, revealing a cloudless blue sky. She could hear music and conversation in the distance.

Has the machine worked after all?

She turned and saw Frank’s Dining, well-lit and alive with activity. Figures moved behind the neon-framed glass. The jukebox must have been working, because strains of an old rock and roll song drifted out every time the front doors opened.

Beatriz made a complete circle of the packed lot. She was grateful that she still held on to the kitchen skillet she’d stolen.

“Allen? Are you here?”

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Wednesday Briefs: Grump Quest (1/?)

Listen, between moving into a new dorm, summer classes ending, and um, (gestures vaguely at the world), all of this, I haven’t had time to properly plot out the next installments of Disassembly Required. So y’all are getting some goofy Game Grumps fanfiction instead. Hey, it’s not as bad as you might think!

Grump Quest (1/?). In which there is a fairly generic RPG setting, Arin has a wand, Dan has a sword, Barry is God, and some goofy good podcast boys show up even though it’s not an Adventure Zone crossover.

Prompts used: “Did you see that?” and a harpsichord. Content warning: as per any Game Grumps episode, there is a lot of cursing (mainly from Arin).

“Did you see that?” Dan waved his sword vaguely at “that”. “Wow, man!”

He turned just in time to see his partner get the shit knocked out of him. A cascade of earth swirled across the air and smacked a small cloaked figure from the sky. It landed in a heap at Dan’s feet. The heap quickly popped upright, and sorted out its crumbled cloak and pointy wizard hat before scowling at Dan. A huge slash across his face was quickly healing itself with green and blue sparks.

“What the fuck, Dan? I thought you said this dungeon was easy?” Arin waved his wand at Dan’s towering figure. The gesture would have been more threatening if it wasn’t a gold bedazzled star on top of a stick.

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Something To Keep The Spirits Up

I honestly think we all need a pick-up after what’s been going on this week (and it’s only Tuesday? Geez-us.) and pretty much the entire year so far. So here are some of my favorite videos that I’ve watched recently (and yes, there is a bit of a theme!).

I hope y’all find some measure of enjoyment from them, and don’t forget to take care of yourself tonight and every night. Love you all! I mean it!

Note: most of the videos have some NSFW audio aside from the first (unless your workplace really hates the historical usage of the word ‘bastard’, in which case yeah, it’s almost all NSFW audio).

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Wednesday Briefs: Disassembly Required, Part 3

Hey, here’s the latest part in Disassembly Required, my newest story for Wednesday Briefs, the weekly flash fiction challenge! In the previous part, which you can read here, our good ladies Beatriz and Allen were in a creepy diner, exploring the kitchen, when the lights went out. Will they find the light? Will Allen get her tuna sandwich? Is Beatriz allergic to capers? At least one of these questions will be answered, maybe, kind of, in this latest installment. I hope you like it!

Disassembly Required, part 3/?. Prompts used: weird machine.

Beatriz stepped forward, into the darkness. She reached out for a physical anchor, a counter or a cutting board, or even the fabric of Allen’s jacket sleeve, but found nothing. Her eyes registered nothing but black.

“Allen?” As soon as she spoke, Beatriz knew she would not be heard. The oppressive lack of light seemed to swallow up her words the second they left her lips, swaddled them up and muted them for good.

Another step. She hit something with her hip. Maybe a corner, but she didn’t know of what. Beatriz involuntarily screwed her face up to stop from shouting at the sharp pain now shooting through her leg. At least the thump of her body making contact seemed to travel outward, because it was answered with a quiet “Beatriz?” from the other side of the darkness.

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Playing Doctor (Who)

When I was ten years old, all I wanted to be was a scientific adviser. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

I didn’t exactly know what that meant, but I knew that was the Doctor’s position at UNIT, and the Doctor was always helping UNIT out and saving them from evil aliens, and I loved the Doctor, therefore being a scientific adviser seemed like a perfect job. Who wouldn’t want to be more like their childhood hero?

I grew up watching Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen on BBC America, and I wanted to be the one wearing the scarf, wielding the sonic screwdriver, being smart, always helpful and kind.

And then I grew older and saw that I would never be the scientific adviser, only the assistant, the one passing along the Doctor’s test tubes, as Liz Shaw and the Brigadier would say, and tell him how brilliant he is. And I forgot that being the Doctor would ever be possible.

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Wednesday Briefs: Slug Love

This week’s piece of flash fiction for Wednesday Briefs is, unfortunately, not the third part of Disassembly Required. It’s actually a weird, goofball stand-alone piece about a couple of college kids cramming on a Sunday night. Write what you know, right? Perfect for fans of unusual slugs and unusual physicists. I enjoyed writing it, so I hope y’all enjoy reading it!

Slug Love. One-shot. Prompt used: I asked you not to tell me that.

“I asked you not to tell me that!”

“Tell you what?”

“About the banana slugs!”

It was 8 pm on a Sunday night, and Trista and her best friend Ronaldo were at the library. Surrounded by five stacks of books deep, they sat at one of the biggest tables on the group study floor. Only a ring of empty and half-full coffee cups separated their working space from the towering texts that made up their study fortress. Ronaldo’s laptop face was clean, while Trista’s silver laptop was buried underneath layers of stickers that said things like Stand back, I’m going to do science, back in my day, we had nine planets, and drop the base. Instead of the biology essay she had due the next day on the history of forensic zoology, she’d found multiple articles on banana slugs, and was inflicting the minutiae of the Ariolimax columbianus‘ sex life upon Ronaldo.

“So you’re not interested in how banana slugs are simultaneous hermaphrodites?” She clicked from one tab to another. “Or that sometimes slugs will bite off the genitalia of their mate after copulation?”

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