Dear Reader

This blog is no longer active as of 2017.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One of My Favorite Authors Died Today

When I saw the name of one of my favorite authors, Maeve Binchy, trending on Yahoo this afternoon, naturally I clicked. But I was sad to learn that she wasn't announcing a new book. Instead, she had died today. There would be no more new Maeve Binchy novels to come.

I first read Maeve Binchy when I was assigned to lead a book discussion on Firefly Summer as a newly minted librarian in 1989. I enjoyed the novel set in Ireland and the experience of talking about it with others and got hooked on both Maeve Binchy and book talks. I went on to read nearly all her books in the years to come. My favorites are The Lilac Bus, Silver Wedding, Evening Class, Scarlet Feather, and Quentins. I especially enjoyed the novels which featured characters that had appeared in her other stories.

If you're a fan of Maeve Binchy, which are your favorites? If you've never heard of Maeve Binchy, please take a moment to watch the short video below and get acquainted.

[captioning option is transcribed English, imperfectly transcribed]

Maeve Binchy, 1940-2012
She'll be missed by readers all around the globe.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Show Us the Captions - this November

During the month of November 2012, people with hearing loss and deafness, along with their friends and families, will be asking theaters to demonstrate accessibility, when they go to the movies as part of the “Show Us the Captions!” advocacy campaign.

Theaters can provide captioning either through showing open caption films where all seats in the theater have access or by distributing individual captioning devices with access limited to the number of devices available.

Sponsored by Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning, this campaign is intended to
  • Promote captioning to potential movie goers who don’t know their theater has it.
  • Demonstrate the real need for captioning to theater owners.
  • Raise awareness of inclusion and accessibility issues to the general public.
  • Show appreciation to the cinemas that provide access via captioning.

The Association for Late Deafened Adults, Chicago chapter, is spearheading the campaign and hosting their own event on November 17, 2012. All organizations and interested people are invited to join them in planning their own events. Talk to your local cinema now, rally friends and neighbors, select a date, and begin to get the word out soon.

Regular readers may recall that I wrote about this idea last month. Since that time, I've been busy working to make it a reality. First I created the graphic above and posted the idea on the CCAC members' forum. I'm happy to say the reaction there was very positive. Lauren Storck, the founder of CCAC, decided to take the campaign on as a Captioning Advocacy Project (CAP) for the organization. With their backing, I have been able to spread the idea even further.

To help other groups participate, I created a Facebook site and posted the following tips for event coordinators:
  1. Choose a theater near you that offers some form of captioning.
  2. Choose a date in November for your event.
  3. Ask friends, family, and coworkers NOW to save that date to join you and others with hearing loss at the movies.
  4. Contact the theater’s manager
    • to explain that your group will be coming on that day,
    • find out how far in advance the movie show times for that day will be available,
    • and if the theater uses a closed captioning system, check to make sure enough devices will be available.
  5. Announce the event to your local hearing loss support group so they can invite their family and friends, and coworkers and help you spread the word.
  6. Post the date and location of your event on Facebook at so we can promote it.
  7. Follow up with your group once the movie schedule is available to finalize your plans.
  8. Follow up with the theater manager when you have a good idea of how many will be coming and how many will be using the captioning.
  9. Let us know on Facebook if you have any questions.

Then I got started setting up Chicago's event. I've been in contact with two Marcus Theaters so far. One location has 10 CaptiView devices and the other has 6 plus the offer to get more if they are needed. I still need volunteers. Two of mine were unable to help after all, but another person has stepped up, thankfully. I will keep you informed as this project progresses. If any of you want to join in and arrange a Show Us the Captions event in your area, that would be great.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Christmas in July

I visited my favorite public library the other day to return some books. I noticed one of the library staff speaking to me from across the way, but I couldn't make out what she was saying. I walked over to her and rather unexpectedly, she said "I thought Santa had come in." I looked at her blankly. She saw my puzzlement and added, "because of all the jingling." I looked down at the key ring dangling in my hand and mumbled, "I'm hard of hearing and didn't realize..." I wanted to drop through the floor from embarrassment. The library lady shrugged it off and said it was a nice sound.

Have you ever been caught in a similar embarrassing situation because you could not hear a sound? If so, please share in the comments. I promise not to laugh (ho, ho, ho).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Power of Communication

Is there a book for every problem?

As a librarian, naturally I turn to books for help. Currently on my night stand are How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, Staying Connected to Your Teenager, and Wonderful Ways to Love a Teen ... even when it seems impossible. Need I say more?

Librarian to Hit the Books Again

Recently I decided to apply to grad school to study communication. I became inspired to do this after reading Bruno Kahne's Lessons of Silence. In this article, he describes his approach to training corporate executives to communicate more effectively. His unique method is to employ people who are deaf as the trainers. They do not teach sign language; instead they demonstrate deaf cultural behaviors that allow them to communicate effectively. I realized then the significance of the behavioral changes I have made and continue to make as I face communication challenges on a daily basis. I began to consider how experiencing hearing loss made me become a more attentive and strategic listener. I wondered if anyone besides Kahne had studied this and thought I would like to do that type of research.

But mainly, I want to further my knowledge of communication and hone my writing and speaking skills so I can be more effective as an advocate for people with hearing loss.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stay Cool

Blondie keeping cool 

With temperatures soaring, nothing beats an afternoon nap in front of the fan. This picture was taken in our basement which stays naturally cool. With a fan running, it feels just like air conditioning.

How are you staying cool?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Protect your hearing this holiday and enjoy this accessible version of Katy Perry's "Firework" done in kinetic typography.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Not Quite Sign, But Fun to Watch

This post could also be titled "How did I miss these?" Apparently these three videos have been out on the internet for some time, but I only stumbled on them last weekend.  In case you missed them too, I wanted to share them.

This first video is a clip from a Spin City episode in which a temp, who claims to know sign language but actually doesn't, stands in as an interpreter for the Mayor's televised address. He improvises and the outcome is hilarious. It reminded me of this comedy clip I posted previously of Helen Marsh "translating" into seven languages.

Unfortunately this video is unavailable with captions.

This second video features JayFunk finger tutting. There are no words to this video, simply techno music playing, and the amazing choreography of creative fingers and visual effects.

This third video doesn't relate to sign at all, but I'm including it with the others because it reminded me of captioning. The technique used for these song lyrics is called kinetic typography.

Warning: Since listening to it on the weekend, I've had this song stuck in my head. As you may know already, the only way to fix that is to pass it along to somebody else's inner soundtrack. All kidding aside, this is a fun song for summer. Hope you enjoy!


My Jury Duty Summons Experience

Last spring I received a notice in the mail for jury duty. On the form it said I was a standby juror. That meant I wouldn't know for sure if I would be needed until the day before. How that works is you call in to a recording which tells you if you are needed. The last time I had a standby juror notice, I didn't have to go. This time I noticed the form provided contact information to let them know if I would need an accommodation. I sent an email requesting CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) service. They responded by giving me an extension so they would have time to make the arrangements. That was fine with me.

My next notice that came in the mail was an actual jury duty summons - nothing standby about it at all. Again I was instructed to contact the Jury Administration Office concerning accommodations. Once more, I emailed them requesting CART.

On my summons date, I went to the courthouse. When I checked in, I mentioned that I had requested help because I don't hear well. The woman assisting me went to check about it. When she returned, she told me to go ahead and take a seat as I wouldn't need help in this room. She gave me a panel number and a name tag sticker identifying me as a juror. She said that if my panel number got called to go into a courtroom, I was to let the deputy in the courtroom know and he would handle it. I really appreciated that she faced me and spoke distinctly when she told me this.

I took my seat in this very large room that was similar to an airport gate waiting area. After a while, a video was played on large TV screens located around the room. I was very relieved to see that the video was captioned in large type. The video explained everything we needed to know about jury service. Then it was back to waiting. I had brought snacks, a water bottle, and reading material so I didn't mind. After a little longer, panel numbers began to be called. The numbers were announced on a microphone which I was able to hear. My number wasn't called.

An hour later, an announcement was made that we would be dismissed. No more jurors were needed that day. We lined up at a counter according to our last names and received checks for our jury service.

To be honest, I was kind of relieved that it turned out that way. I knew I did the right thing by showing up and by requesting accommodations, but I was still concerned about how I would be able to hear during jury deliberations. I hoped a CART provider would be allowed in the room with me, but I wasn't absolutely sure.

I recently read an article on the Limping Chicken website about a deaf woman in England who was rejected for jury duty because of her deafness. I am glad that here in America, I was given a chance to participate.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A summer day camp for deaf/hard of hearing kids

I took this photo when I went to Goshen for the quilt garden tour.

For the first time in their ministry, College Mennonite Church of Goshen, Indiana is hosting a day camp this summer for deaf and hard of hearing children. In a newspaper interview, camp organizers explained that for most of the 16 children attending, "this camp means more than having fun and games. It means being able to fully communicate with other kids during rounds of "duck, duck, goose" or freeze tag and watching a TV show where the characters use their language." The camp is conducted mostly in American Sign Language and the television show referred to is Dr. Wonder's Workshop. The organizers' aim is for the children "to have complete access to what's going using a visual language."

I think that's wonderful and wish the children a happy, safe time making new friendships and learning new things together.

You can read the complete newspaper article here on the Elkhart Truth website. Thanks very much to the terrific person who clipped it and sent it to me in the mail.