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Bellingham Public Library Celebrates Ability Diversity in August

The act of reading outside of your experience increases empathy. It broadens our understanding of humanity and our ideas about who we are and about what we can be.” – Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones and Sing, Unburied, Sing

Many of us experience lifelong challenges that impact, and yet often enrich, our lives. When considering ability diversity, it’s important to remember that not all challenges are visible to the eye, and not all differences are considered disabilities by those living with them. Reading about the lived experience of others is a valuable way to find understanding and connection, and it’s equally important to to see ourselves reflected and represented in the stories we read.

Ability Diversity Books for Adults

Book Lists for Adults:

Library Staff Recommends…

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Dr. Devon Price

“From autistic voices, an important discussion of masking, unmasking, intersecting disabilities, and how it feels to be a neurodivergent adult.” – Ariana, Public Services Clerk

Book cover title Being Heumann

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judith Heumann

“This is the powerful story of Judith Heumann’s lifelong fight for equality for herself and for all individuals with disabilities, including the right to receive an education, participate in the workforce, and live independently. Her efforts resulted in the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which led to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and she went on to serve in the U.S. Dept of Education, and in the U.S. State Department.” – Annette, Head of Community Relations

Legends of the North Cascades by Jonathan Evison

“Struggling with PTSD and searching for a life away from the stress, despair, pain and struggle of life in an ailing society, Dave and his 7 year old daughter Bella escape to the wilderness of the North Cascades. Survival, beauty, history, magic, fear, and the mystery of the unknown combine.” – Jenni, Community Relations Specialist

Ability Diversity Books for Teens

Library Staff Recommends…

YA Book List

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

“After a failed attempt to alchemically raise their mother from the dead cost Edward his arm and leg, and Alphonse his whole body, the brothers set out in search of the fabled Philosopher’s Stone in order to restore their bodies. Action-packed and gut-wrenching, heartfelt and triumphant!” – Lorena, Library Assistant

Ability Diversity Books for Kids

Book Lists for Kids from BPL Librarians:

Library Staff Recommends…

We Are Little Feminists: On-the-Go by Brook Sitgraves Turner & Archaa Shrivastav

“There are so many ways to get around 🙂 The delightful, inclusive photos of real families in this board book will make readers want to MOVE!” – Ali, Children’s Librarian

Recommended for ages birth – 5

Air by Monica Roe

“Emmie is determined to get a new wheelchair to replace her old one so that she can practice wheelchair motorcross. Emmie is a strong character and gets her family, school, and community engaging in a larger conversation about accessibility and perception of her disability.” – Mandee, Children’s Specialist

Recommended for ages 10-13

BPL Ability Diversity Services for Patrons

  • Hearing Loops at Public Service desks
  • Closed circuit TV (magnification device) for the visually impaired (Central Library)
  • Magnifying glass and reading glasses for in-house use (Central Library)
  • Outreach services to the homebound, nursing homes, and adult care facilities
  • Video phone for the signing community (Central Library)

August 2023 Ability Diversity Local Events

Fairhaven Funky Bizarre Bazaar to benefit NAMI Whatcom

@ Fairhaven Village Green

August 5, 11:00am – 5:00pm

Come and join in this festive day of community, art, music and entertainment. The Fairhaven Village Green will be filled with creative re-creators, up-cyclers, collectors of the funky and unusual, musicians, writers, and artists selling wares to benefit NAMI Whatcom

Service Dogs 4 Veterans Fundraiser

Brigadoon Service Dogs @ Boundary Bay Brewery Garden August 5, 5:30 – 9:00pm

This delightfully fun summer night event in the brewery garden raises funds for veterans in need of a service dog. Tickets are $90 and include meeting service dogs, talking to trainers, BBQ dinner, Boundary Bay beer, and live music. Reserve tickets!

Whatcom Neurodivergent Collective Meetup

@ Inner Child Studio

Sunday, August 6, 6:30 – 8:00pm

The goal of the WNC is to build community, offer support, and provide a base for education and activism for Neurodivergent people in Whatcom County. Meetups will be focused around reaching a consensus about what we will all be interested in doing, and then achieving our goals through the use of event organizing and communication which may sometimes be outside of ICS’s building or discord chat. Members of this group will develop their own structure, policy, and format based on their needs.

Shriners Hospital – Pediatric & Adolescent Orthopedic Clinic

@ PeaceHealth Medical Group

August 19 – all day

Dr. Jeremy Bauer will again be in Bellingham on August 19 for pediatric and adolescent orthopedic needs. What’s new this year is the Prosthetics and Orthotics team will also be in Bellingham alongside Dr. Bauer to assist with any child’s assistive mobility needs.

Shriners Children’s Intake contact info to reserve an appointment:
• Phone: (503) 221-3422
• Fax: (503) 221-3483
• Email: newpatient@shrinenet.org (ok to use for existing patients, too!)

SPIN Dance Ice Cream Social

@ Depot Market Square

August 21, 6:00 – 8:00pm

End summer with a special SPIN Dance! Bellingham Parks and Recreation and the Max Higbee Center will host an Ice Cream Social at Depot Market Square for individuals with disabilities. Everyone 14 and older is invited to dance with us to music provided by Glitt3r Lyfe’s Aireekah! Please pre-register for this special event

Lookout Sessions: Chris Pierce

@ Mount Baker Theatre

September 9, 7:30pm

Chris Pierce gained national prominence with his hit song, “We Can Always Come Back to This”, when it aired on three episodes of the NBC series This is Us. From there, the song went on to take the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Chart. Pierce has headlined international tours and performed with B.B. King, Seal, Al Green, Allison Russell, Colbie Caillat, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Jill Scott, Keb’Mo, Blind Boys of Alabama, and Aaron Neville.

At a young age, Pierce developed a rare hearing disorder called Otosclerosis which led to the loss of hearing in one ear and partial deafness in the other – a setback that would deter many people from becoming a musician. Instead, Pierce’s diagnosis fueled his passion and determination, forcing him to re-learn almost everything he had known prior to developing his condition. To him, music was — and still is — an unconditional companion. Reserve tickets now

Bellingham Walk to Defeat ALS

@ Zuanich Point Park

September 16

Participation in the Walk to Defeat ALS directly impacts people living with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and their families at the local level. Through education, support groups, access to care, research, and advocacy, we are working to defeat ALS and provide hope to people living with ALS and their families. Join us on Saturday, September 16 at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham as we march together toward a cure for ALS. For additional information contact Justin Taft at justin.taft@als.org or 206-703-3517. Register here

HLAA Whatcom County Chapter

Details: Meets every 3rd Saturday of the month at 9:30am (Does not meet Aug/Dec). Next meeting is September 16th.

Location: Christ the Servant Lutheran Church (Fellowship Hall)

2600 Lakeway Dr. Bellingham, Washington 98229


Larry Wonnacott lwonnacott@symmetryfunds.com


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