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July 2013

From The Guardian: The Top Ten Books About Disabilities?

July 23, 2013 | Margaret W. | Comments (2)

In the Books Blog of the British national newspaper The Guardian, Paul Wilson states that "despite literature's fervour to explore the far reaches of human experience, disability is for the most part disregarded, or at least pushed to the margins. Disabled protagonists are few and far between".

In his post he presents his choices for the top ten books on disability (including non-fiction). All are available at TPL; many are available in multiple formats.

Here are his top three picks:

Cover of To Kill A Mockingbird
Of Mice and Men

  The Sound and the Furyjpg

To Kill a Mockingbird

Of Mice and Men

The Sound and the Fury

Other books he recommends are:

Moby-Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The First Man by Albert Camus

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

A Son of the Circus by John Irving

Far From the Tree (non-fiction) by Andrew Solomon


Here's a later post on the Books Blog in which the blogger, this time playwrite Kaite O'Reilly, calls Wilson's list "a missed opportunity". 

She notes that "one of the slogans of the disability rights movement is "Nothing About Us Without Us" - and there was very little "us" in last week's selection". She suggests a number of books that should have been included.

Some of the books she mentions are also at TPL. Here they are:

Scapegoat: How We Are Failing Disabled People by Katharine Quarmby

Poppy Shakespeare by Clare Allan

Look Me In the Eye: My Life With Asperger's by John Elder Robison

Born On A Blue Day: A Memoir of Asperger's And An Extraordinary Mind by Daniel Tammet

Animals In Translation by Temple Grandin

Dam-burst Of Dreams by Christopher Nolan

Mean Little Deaf Queer: A Memoir by Terry Galloway

Beauty Is A Verb: The New Poetry Of Disability edited by Jennifer Bartlett, Michael Northen and Sheila Black


What books would you include?










JAWS Screen Reader Software

July 3, 2013 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

JAWS (which stands for Job Access With Speech) is screen reader software currently available at two branches of the Toronto Public Library: North York Central Library and Toronto Reference Library.

JAWS reads aloud the contents of documents and web pages and speaks standard computer functions for someone who is blind or has low vision.

Using the commands of this powerful software, you can navigate through documents, programs, forms and websites. The program announces page features and links.

JAWS is produced by Freedom Scientific Inc. Their JAWS for Windows Quick Start Guide (PDF) is a great way to get a feel for the program. You might want to begin at the JAWS Help System section of the Guide, which starts on page 16.

More about JAWS coming up in later posts!


The Accessibility Services Blog provides information and updates on current and upcoming library trends, programs, collections, and services to existing and potential TPL customers with disabilities, along with their friends and family. The blog offers a forum through which library customers can interact with TPL and share feedback and ideas, and communicate with staff. Features of the blog include highlights on special collections and assistive technologies available through the library, opportunities to get involved, and staff recommendations for programs, books and other materials.