Just last week, Minnesota celebrated its annual Disability Day at the Capitol. Hosted by the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, this day calls on individuals with and without disabilities to “rally, march and roll” to the Capitol building downtown St. Paul advocating for accessibility and inclusion.
By the end of Disability Day, a flurry of photos from the event filled my Twitter and Facebook feeds. I was struck by one particular photo of someone’s poster that read “Full Supports for Full Inclusion.”
Upon further research, I was reminded where I had seen this quote before. “Full supports for Full Inclusion” is the driving force of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan—a plan that moves our state forward towards greater integration and inclusion for people with disabilities.
The plan’s goal states “Minnesota will be a place where people with disabilities are living, learning, working and enjoying life in the most integrated setting possible.” Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan applies to 7 specific areas of life, including two that are intrinsically tied to the mission of libraries: School/Lifelong Learning and Community Life.
This quote and photo made me stop and reflect about what it means to provide full supports and be fully inclusive. To me, this concept is more than ADA compliance or making accommodations. To me, this is about developing an infrastructure and a culture that provides barrier-free access in a way that individuals with disabilities can participate alongside others in the library community.
But this concept goes beyond serving individuals with disabilities in libraries. Whether it’s youth with disabilities, immigrant families and new Americans, parents who homeschool their children, First Nation and Indigenous populations, LGBTQ+ youth and their families–we know that libraries are for everyone. But we need to put that into practice every day. How can we advocate for full supports and for full inclusion in our work in youth services in the infrastructure we build and the culture we create?
How does your library practice full supports for full inclusion? Share your comments below.