Library Highlights the Disability Community of Toledo

In 2023 the Toledo Lucas County Public Library was one of four libraries in the country to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. This highest honor is bestowed upon museums and libraries because of their outstanding contributions to their communities. 

TLCPL is a phenomenal resource to the community and offers so much more than many area residents even realize. One of many things our library does for the community is work hard at preserving the rich history of the Toledo and NW Ohio region. Digital collections and online exhibits are just one such example of how the library preserves and shares our colorful history.

Digital exhibits on TLCPL website

The newest online exhibit highlights the stories and history of the Disability Community of Toledo. According to Caitlyn Reihle, Librarian/Archivist of local history and genealogy, it’s important all of our library’s collections represent all the people of Toledo.

This exhibit gave us a great opportunity to showcase some of the many organizations that were started for people with disabilities by people with disabilities, and it also allowed us to highlight individuals and their personal stories,” said Reihle.

Janet Rhodes and the Digitization Department of TLCPL has been organizing records and digitizing memoirs, photos, scrapbooks etc. of anything that highlights the rich history of the Disability Community of Toledo. The online exhibit walks you through the history beginning with events in the early 19th. Century that shaped the community. The online exhibit highlights photos and descriptions of the early organizations started for children and adults with disabilities.

“There are so many interesting stories and so much history to uncover, and I’m hoping that people will use this exhibit as a jumping off point to explore more of this history,” said Reihle.

Antique leg bracesPhysical items on display

Though this is a digital exhibit, the Main Library atrium has a Gendron Wheelchair and leg braces, both donated by the Ability Center, on display until February 29. Pictures of the artifacts and their history are also part of the online exhibit. 

The TLCPL website has recently been revamped. Now, all digital history exhibits can be found under local history resources, which is one of several links under the SERVICES tab on the home page of the website. Reihle said it is important that everyone can find their history and their community in their collections and that is why they have digital exhibits on local Jewish history, Black history, Indigenous history and even things such as the history of Jeep in Toledo.

The TLCPL has done an incredible job making so much information accessible to all with just the click of a button. However, you are always welcome to view more historical items in person at the Main Library.