Dyslexic Library

July 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

My mum is severely dyslexic. Librarians seem to have been trained in dealing with dyslexic people, because she finds that they often know what she finds difficult and consequently they know how to help her.

She finds it difficult to find a book because she can’t understand the system that uses numbers. She understands things better if they are assigned colours and shapes.

All the spine colours can be overwhelming, so if all the spines of the books were covered in white or brown paper then it would be easier to find what you’re looking for.

If the books were categorised by colours and shapes instead of with numbers, where red circle is art, blue triangle is biology etc then books can also be given multiple categories, by using multiple stickers of these shapes and colours. Often a book transcends categories so this would overcome that problem. It would also make it more easy for dyslexic people to understand how the categories work.

The titles could also be colour coded, and if there is too much colour, then patterns could also be used.

All this would be difficult for a normal library to implement because you’d have to go through every single book, and where dyslexic people are a minority they may not want to bother. However, if we make a library specifically for dyslexic people, with books about subjects they are generally interested in (dyslexic people are more likely to be artists or other kinds of creatives than scientists), it may work. The library could also facilitate meetings; they could hold lectures and workshops about dyslexic issues, there could be a coffee bar, even networking events could be held here.

Libraries may not be the preferred hang out place for dyslexic people because at the moment they are not designed with them in mind. We can turn that around. I forgot the statistic but an enormously high rate of prisoners are dyslexic and poorly educated, indicating that if we can educate dyslexic people in a way accessible to them, we may be able to lower crime rates – apart from making dyslexic people more satisfied with their lives. These people perceive things in a different way – a more visual way – and the world was not designed based on their perception. We can have places designed according to their needs – places of education, where they can find their talents and meet people on a similar wavelength. A library, I think, would be a good place to start.

I believe that there are plenty of dyslexic people who would be happy to pay to become part of a library such as this. It’s a service that can be paid for, which will improve peoples’ lives, and doesn’t involve wastage of material. In fact it involves sharing which is the other end of the spectrum to waste – it’s even better than simply keeping an object.

Dyslexic people are not less intelligent – they simply understand the world in a different way, and therefore are misunderstood by the rest of society. They should have the opportunity to form their own society – a community where they can make their own world, designed just for them.

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