Katherine’s Story

2021 Educational Enrichment Fund Scholar - Simmons University

As a child with epilepsy, I knew that things called seizures happened to me, and that I had to take medication, but didn’t really understand why. Growing up, I came to better understand the medical aspects of epilepsy, but no matter how many appointments with my neurologist I went to, I still had trouble understanding the way my seizures affected other aspects of my life. I received unexpected help with this confusion at my local library, where I found that much more than medical texts on epilepsy exist. Books of all kinds, from children’s fiction to autobiographical graphic novels, had been written by and for people like me. They addressed many of the personal and social issues I was facing as a young adult. Understanding that I was not alone in my experiences was affirming: others had achieved so much with what I had often considered impassible limitations. In high school and college, I was able to face my negative self-perception and overcome the limitations I had set on myself in order to achieve academically, creatively, and socially.

As a librarian, I hope to be an agent of change by encouraging and assisting others to gain better access to reliable resources about epilepsy. The common reliance on Internet search engines for information makes it easy to become lost in a data overload, which can be especially risky when looking for information about medical conditions like epilepsy. Part of a librarian’s job is helping patrons find reliable sources. I also hope to help develop multifaceted library collections that enable access to the kind of media that helped me better understand myself as a person with epilepsy, especially for children and young adults.

To achieve these goals, I have enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Science degree program at the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science. I have started to take classes in a variety of aspects of librarianship, beginning with reference services. Reference librarians help library patrons identify, search for, find and access the information they need, as well as discover new resources. I think that is it essential to enable greater community access to media showcasing the work of creators with disabilities and about people with disabilities. Libraries are hubs of interaction and education: as a librarian, I want to facilitate better learning and communication about epilepsy among those with epilepsy and throughout the community.


    Join our email list for the
    latest epilepsy research news,
    discoveries, and more.