Too Many Spoons: Library Workers and Disabilities

Anita Siraki


A desk attendant gestures in my direction where I am waiting for an interview at a library on campus. I am nervous. My hand is shaking over my assistive device.

Beside the desk attendant stands an impeccably dressed, tall woman who adjusts her glasses. “Where is she sitting?”

“There, near the gray couches,” the desk attendant answers. She leans over and says, “It’s that person with the assistive device,” as if she’s trying not to out me as a leper.

Any person with a disability reading this who has applied for jobs and gone on interviews has experienced some version of the above exchange. You arrive for an interview, something you feel fortunate for, and think for a split second “They want me! I could be hired here!” Only once you get there, staff members look you over, silently deciding for themselves how much your disability limits what you can and can’t do, walking too quickly and expecting you to keep up, and worst of all, making judgments without speaking to you. The above experience has happened to me at academic libraries, public libraries, and other institutions.


disability, management, accommodations, organizational development, diversity, inclusion

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American library Association Texas Digital Library