Yesterday morning I attended an AODA workshop at Hart House, since I have been asked to take on the responsibilities of the curator of the Hart House Library until Hart House is able to hire someone officially to fulfill that role.
I expected an interesting and educational workshop, but found it to be more entertaining than I had expected. The host of the workshop provided us not only with valuable information, but activities and critical exercises to draw out how we think about disability, and what we know about it. One of the most striking exercises involved defining the words “charity” and “equity.” What it really reaffirmed for me is the need to respect every individual equally and to be tolerant of differences in others.
In the end, I learned that although I have not read the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act), I already knew most of what is on there, since, according to our instructor, its principles are mostly determined by common sense.
We were given handouts with summaries of the AODA and other important information, which I plan to leave with the library and the next curator.
After the workshop, I participated in an interview to discuss in more detail what I know about disabilities, and what experiences I have had with disability at Hart House. I mentioned a few areas for potential improvement. One of them came to mind only because I attended a symposium last semester in which a speaker discussed the challenges she faces everyday trying to use her computer and read for her degree with a vision impairment.
I look forward to hearing more about the initiatives planned for Hart House, and hope to get the library involved in any activities or events related to this issue.