14 July, 2024
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In a world not always accommodating for people living with disability, Julie Magill finds solace at her local library.

The Bankstown local has been living with cerebral palsy since she was just ten months old – a physical disability that affects her right side and sometimes makes it tricky to get around.

“I go to Bankstown Library to have a bit of quiet time and chill out,” Ms Magill said.

“I go if I’ve got meeting preparations and if I need to do paperwork in between meetings – it has a range of resources in braille, AUSLAN and translated materials and is very accessible to public transport.”

Ms Magill will be sharing her story at Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre’s Accessible Open Day on Friday 31 May.

“Events like this are so important so we can continue the conversation around accessibility, because sometimes it gets lost in translation.”

Also sharing her experiences at the event is 24-year-old Maria Elias, a frequent user of Riverwood Library.

Ms Elias was born with cerebral palsy and faces challenges with daily activities. A recent operation on her dominant hand has left her unable to tie her shoelaces and makes it difficult to cut up food.

“I always felt that my disability was a burden but now I’m excited to share my story,” Ms Elias said.

“I’ve wanted to showcase that we are a community full of people that deserve to be heard and to feel understood.

“Were not different to anybody else, were just differently abled.”

Anyone living with disability, as well as regular library goers, teachers and students are encouraged to come along to the Accessible Library Open Day to learn what library services are available to them.

The day will kick off at 10am with an accessible library story time, followed by an afternoon of shared stories with a living library.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) will be on hand at the event to provide information, advocacy and support, while Council staff will be available to answer accessibility questions and help with accessibility requirements.

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek said with approximately seven per cent of the community living with a disability, it’s vital that programs, services and facilities are accessible to all.

“Our libraries offer some fantastic programs and I encourage everyone to come along and learn how Council can help you access what you need,” Mayor El-Hayek said.

“Together we can all help make literature and knowledge accessible to all.”

Assistance animals are welcome and an AUSLAN interpreter and a quiet space will also be available at the event.

For more information and to see the full program, visit cb.city/AccessibleLibrary or call Council’s Access and Inclusion Officer on 0447 098 728.

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