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Dyslexic Librarian: Library Resources for the Learning Disabled

Word searchers, Port Richmond, Digital ID 94898, New York Public LibraryWord searchers, Port Richmond, Digital ID 94898, New York Public LibraryI have been a librarian for about twelve years and have worked in many libraries for much longer. I am also dyslexic which I have been since I have known the meaning of that word's existence. Weird you say but it's the truth.

Dyslexia is a learning disability, which, for me effects my writing and reading abilities. I don't write letters backwards but I spell words with the letters switched around. I would refer to it as abstract spelling or surrealist writing. Actually it effects my writing skills much more than my reading skills. If it wasn't for Microsoft Word and spell-check, I'd be lost, extremely frustrated. You know the old advice that if you can't figure out how to spell a word that you should look it up in the dictionary. In my case, I couldn't even figure out how the word even looked in order to locate it in the dictionary.

As a teenager and before the age of computers, I have thrown many dictionaries across my bedroom and sometimes cracking windows and denting walls. The typewriter was and is still my sworn enemy. If it wasn't for my Mom who was more than happy to type up my homework assignments, I might not have graduated high school on time. As for college, I did not start college until I was 21 years old because I was so afraid of how my learning disability would affect my academic performance. Actually, I was too afraid and thoughts I was too stupid too remotely get through college. If it wasn't for my older sister emotionally blackmailing me to apply to the College of Staten Island, I might have never gone. I remember crying the night before my first day of college because I was that terrified.

The first week was terrifying, but after that first week, I began to feel more and more confident. The college had an office called Special Students Office where they provided tutoring and just support. In fact, I meet so many other college students with so many physical and learning disabilities who were these academic soldiers. I still admire them. I also learned how to use the computer, which completely turned everything around for me. I was getting awesome grades in almost every class. I graduated with honors and oh my God; I could believe the journey I went through from fear to achievement.

Somewhere along the recent line, I decided to become a librarian. I loved to read, help people and I always had a thing for putting things in order. I remember as a baby that I use to classify my stuffed animals in my crib. Does my learning disability affect my job as a librarian? Yes it does. It's hard to look up certain words in a database if you can't spell them. However, that fact as never stopped me at all. There are many databases that the New York Library offers that check spelling that I know how to cut and paste from and into other not so helpful databases. In other words, being a dyslexic librarian does not mean I cannot do my job. I just adapted different ways to get it done. I love being a librarian and I am not going to allow dyslexia stop me from doing it. Plus, I've also taken advantage of the library's books on CD where I can keep up with the collection along with my colleagues.

NYPL Resources for persons with disabilities.

dys·lex·ia – NOUN: A learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words.

li·brar·i·an – NOUN: 1. A person who is a specialist in library work. 2. A person who is responsible for a collection of specialized or technical information or materials, such as musical scores or computer documentation.


1 : act or an instance of contradicting

2 a : a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something b : a statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other <a round square is a contradiction in terms>

3 a : logical incongruity b : a situation in which inherent factors, actions, or propositions are inconsistent or contrary to one another

Browse books and materials about dyslexia in the catalog. Some of my favorite titles:


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We all cut and paste from

We all cut and paste from search engines, the NYPL's catalog and databases, etc., so you are not alone in that regard. But,thank you for sharing and explaining how you have dealt with dyslexia.

Thank you for writing this.

It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one with a learning disability and a library degree! I was fortunate to have a huge support system and a lot of understanding from my friends and family. It’s still scary knowing you have a disadvantage from the get go. I’ve found it helpful being able to laugh at my mistakes. For instance, when I write something and it comes out all sorts of inappropriate. One thing I’m still timid with is starting a conversation about readings. In grade school I had more trouble with reading comprehension which lead to a few embarrassing moments with class discussions. Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v are very much my best friends in this line of work.


A BOOK WAS WRITTEN CALLED, "THE GIFT OF DYSLEXIA." Although a person who has this condition may at first lack self confidence, the fact is that many people who have this condition are highly intelligent. Some of those who suffered from dyslexia have literally been genius'. Leonardo DaVinci, a famous painter who did great work in the Roman churches, Thomas Edison the inventor of light and electricity, Jay Leno, the ever popular talk show host on NBC, and a very long list of other famous people. Dyslexia enables those who have it to think in unconventional terms, because it is always a challenge. Therefore, they are often more creative than those who do not have such a condition. If you can find the psychology book called, "The Gift of Dyslexia," and read it, it would be a great blessing! To those who have dyslexia, keep the faith, you are probably far above the intelligence of most, and your talents are there. You just have to find them!

Well said!

I was touched and I learned from your post, and from the comments.

Another dyslexic librarian

Yes, it is nice to know I am in good company. I'm a librarian too and I have dyslexia. I have kept it a secret for the most part, as I prefer not to have a stigma applied to myself. I have never considered myself to have a disability. My brain just works differently than the majority of the population. I struggled as a child and with the help of tutors and teachers that helped me learn strategies to figure out how to read I persevered. I am successful and intelligent. It takes me longer to read than other people. I read differently. Prefer saying that I have a learning difference. That makes more sense to me. I just read "Fish in a Tree", a piece of fiction about a girl in elementary school who discovers that she is dyslexic. I highly recommend it.

An Adult Services Librarian with LD

I feel relieved that I am not the only librarian with disabilities, even though I don't have dyslexia I have struggled most of my life with learning disabilities such as Dyscalculia (disabilities with math) & a bit of Dysgraphia (bad handwriting) even though I had to push myself real hard in school, college, & library school, I managed to finish my education & get my MLIS. I am now starting a new job as a Adult Services Librarian in my city in the SF Bay Area, even though I am looking forward to start, I also worry if I can handle the responsibilities of developing the adult collection in my branch & plan programs as well as events. I go through stages of worry & doubt of my abilities, but once I start & get into the grove of things I will eventually get the hang of my duties & in turn build my confidence. It's happened before & I am sure it will happen again! Thank you for posting this I really appreciate it & I am glad to know I am not the only one out there with LD.

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