Mercian Disability Forum Launches

Gaz J Johnson

After behind the scene discussions, the Mercian Collaboration is delighted to welcome another special interest group into the fold, representing an increase in specialised regional support and experience exchange for library professionals.

Special interest groups, which represent particular areas of concern, interest and activity, form one of the most tangible and active markers of the Collaboration’s contributions to the region. While a disability forum has been operating for some time within the Midlands region, July 2017 marked the point at which this group was officially brought into the Mercian Collaboration’s family of special interest groups. This follows some months of discussions behind the scenes, as the Mercian and the group considered how they could best work together effectively.

Going by the name the Mercian Disability Forum (MDF), the group comprises library professionals working within member institutions with an interest in, or responsibility for, supporting disabled students.

Beck Maguire (Librarian, Accessibility and Support, Nottingham) welcomed member representatives during a meeting held at the University of Nottingham’s recently refurbished and royally launched George Green Library. Attendees worked through a programme of experience exchanges, as well as setting about configuring the MDF’s terms of reference. These will go to the Mercian Directors’ in November for approval.

The MDF hopes to meet a few times each year, but is especially keen to develop a workshop event, open to all member intuitions’ staff, in early 2018 entitled Inclusivity: The Wider Picture. Details will be forthcoming, and is expected the MDF will formally announce the event in late 2017.

Currently, not all Mercian membership organisations are represented within the forum, but the MDF Chair warmly invitates these regional libraries who’ve yet to designate a representative to get in touch.

Further information on the MDF, and their activities, can be found in the group’s section of the Mercian Website, or by contacting its Chair or the Mercian Development Officer.