In short order, I plan to submit an abstract to the 2015 Symposium on LIS Education, which will be held here at GSLIS in April. There is nothing quite like a deadline to encourage writing, as unfortunate as it may be, but there is also nothing quite like writing an abstract to make one pause. I will submit a proposal pertaining to library service to dyslexics—but I have yet to decide if I want to present a traditional paper or a poster. My research is already done; I got a little excited last semester, when I wrote a trends and best practices-style paper on services to teenage dyslexics, and my bibliography was about as long as the paper itself. Several of those resources come straight from neurobiology and other scientific research into dyslexic and other learning disabilities, while others are written by readings specialists and educators.
Only a very few of the articles I’ve found come from the library world: most notably, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has guidelines, currently in draft form, for services to dyslexics; in addition, they have a poster, available in pdf format, for quick reference. The overwhelming silence seems to me a missed opportunity. Despite the overall lack of library and information science publications on dyslexia, I noticed rather early in my research that, in most cases, following best practices for dyslexic patrons would also help bring libraries and their websites into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Thus, while bringing our services towards best practice for dyslexics will require time and effort, it will serve others with learning disabilities as well.
Since the Symposium’s nerve center will be LIS education, I will focus my own abstract—and, should it be accepted, my presentation as well—on LIS education and dyslexia. I have yet to decide exactly how to approach my topic, but I certainly hope to help make a case for the inclusion of information on dyslexics (and other non-neurotypical people) in LIS instruction and, thus, for improved library services to such people.