Neurodivergent wellness as quality of life, community, and autonomy in academic libraries


Movements for disability justice have stressed that quality of life is inseparable from the larger human need for reliable and consistent community connections and support on the one hand and room to express one’s individual autonomy on the other. When translated into the corporate sphere (of which universities are a part) questions of quality of life often get reframed into the language of “wellness,” but these core features must remain if the word is to have any meaning. While there is a growing body of work considering the unique place of neurodivergence and neurodiversity in society, there are still major obstacles facing neurodivergent peoples today. Questions of our worth are often framed in terms of our “employability” and ability to fit the monocultural demands of neoliberal capitalism. To be unemployed is to be less of a person. To be precariously employed is to always have that personhood in doubt. This talk will introduce attendees to the social model of disability as it applies to neurodivergence, provide a brief overview of the current literature surrounding neurodiversity and library practice, and identify common forms of cognitive marginalization and epistemic injustice faced by neurodivergent patrons and staff in library settings. It concludes by observing how quality of life and institutional power are inseparable.

Jun 6, 2022 10:00 AM