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Eric Dibner Papers
BANC MSS 99/186 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Eric Dibner Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1973-1991
    Date (bulk): 1975-1985
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 99/186 c
    Creator: Dibner, Eric
    Extent: Number of containers: 4 cartons Linear feet: 5
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Eric Dibner Papers, 1973-1991 (bulk 1975-1985), document Dibner's work as an accessibility expert for persons with disabilities. Dibner was very active in the disability rights movement, and consulted for variety of institutions and organizations, including the University of California, Berkeley, the Center for Independent Living (CIL), and the California Association of the Physically Handicapped (CAPH). The collection, which includes notes, correspondence, meeting agendas, files, legal briefs, photographs, architectural plans, reports, and publications, also shows the development of architectural accessibility through the momentum of the disability rights movement.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English.
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Eric Dibner Papers, BANC MSS 99/186 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    BANC MSS 2001/49 c, v. 3. Phonotape 3109 C: 1-29
    Builders and sustainers of the Independent Living Movement in Berkeley: oral history transcripts. Vol. 3: Eric Dibner: Advocate and specialist in architectural accessibility; Hale Zukas: National disability activist, architectural and transit accessibility, personal assistance services. Interviews conducted by Kathy Cowan and Sharon Bonney, 1997-1998. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2000. Transcript available through the Online Archive of California; http://ark.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt4c6003rh.
    Additional related collections may be found by searching the corporate author/name "Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement collection" in U.C. Berkeley's online catalog.

    Separated Material

    Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Center for Independent Living.
    University of California, Berkeley.
    San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (Calif.)
    California Association of the Physically Handicapped.
    Gray Panthers.
    Barrier-free design--California--Berkeley.
    Discrimination against people with disabilities--Law and legislation.
    People with disabilities--California.
    Dwellings--Access.
    Barrier-free design.
    Barrier-free design for students with disabilities.
    Berkeley (Calif.)
    People's Park (Berkeley, Calif.)
    Photographs.
    Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement collection.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Eric Dibner Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Eric Dibner in 1998.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Amber Smock; completed by Elizabeth Konzak.

    Biography

    Eric Dibner, born in 1947, enrolled in an architecture curriculum at University of California, Berkeley in 1965. After working at a construction company and an architect's office during the following summer, Dibner found that he did not enjoy drafting, preferring to think and theorize about design. While attending classes in the Fall of 1967, Dibner also began working part-time as an attendant for Scott Sorensen and John Hessler, disabled students in the Cowell Hospital Disabled Residence Program. In 1968, frustrated by his schoolwork and enthralled by the activity in Berkeley, Dibner dropped out of school and accompanied John Hessler to France to work as a live-in attendant while Hessler studied abroad.
    In the fall of 1969, following his return to California, Dibner became a live-in attendant for Scott Sorensen in Berkeley. After Sorensen died a year later, Dibner worked for the University's Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP) as a housing coordinator, also filling in for various other duties when needed. Because of his interest in architecture, Dibner became involved with the Coordinating Committee for the Removal of Architectural Barriers (CCRAB), working within the university to promote accessibility for the disabled. Dibner ascribed to the thought that people with disabilities know best what sort of accommodations work, and helped to test new accessibility measures with people from PDSP.
    In 1972, Dibner began working for the Center for Independent Living (CIL), a Berkeley community organization for disabled self-help. He worked on a variety of access and housing issues for CIL including accessibility surveys of buildings and sidewalks. In 1974, Dibner worked as a live-in attendant for Hale Zukas, a leading advocate for barrier removal. Zukas became a mentor to Dibner on access issues, policy processes, and design development.
    In 1975 Dibner conducted an accessibility survey of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), and also worked on campaigns and lawsuits to remove grocery store cart barriers that made stores inaccessible. Besides working on these and other public building accessibility initiatives, Dibner also coordinated CIL's move from their University Avenue offices to a new building on Telegraph Avenue. In 1978 and 1979 Dibner worked with the Disabled Law Resource Center of CIL to provide Section 504 compliance training as well as continuing education classes on accessability. Through his work experience Dibner became known as an accessability specialist, frequently working as a consultant and speaking at conferences.
    By the early 1980's CIL had many important projects but very little funding, causing the staff to be overwhelmed and underpaid. After CIL administration tried to prevent a union from forming, the staff, including Dibner, went on strike. Disillusioned, Dibner resigned from CIL in 1982. He then worked for Access California, a municipal organization in Oakland, California, and spent much of his time surveying Oakland's street corners for accessability. Dibner was also very involved with the California Association of the Physically Handicapped (CAPH), serving on various housing and executive committees, and as East Bay chapter vice president and later, president, from 1983-1984.
    In 1985, Dibner returned to Maine to be closer to his family. From 1986 to 1991, he worked as an accessability specialist for a number of groups, including the independent-living organization Alpha One and the Maine Association for Handicapped Persons (MAHP). He also consulted for the Transit Authority of South Portland in order to help tackle accessability issues on public buses. In 1991, Dibner moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and took a consulting job that focused on technology-related assistance, as part of a project undertaken by the Department of Rehabilitation. Later, he worked on access issues and building codes with the Governor's Committee on Advocating for Disabled Access. Dibner returned to California in the mid-1990's, and worked for the City of Berkeley as the Disability Compliance Coordinator from 1996-2001.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Eric Dibner Papers, 1973-1991 (bulk 1975-1985), document Dibner's work as an accessibility expert for people with disabilities. Dibner was very active in the disability rights movement, and consulted for variety of institutions and organizations, including the University of California, Berkeley, the Center for Independent Living (CIL), and the California Association of the Physically Handicapped (CAPH). The collection, which includes notes, correspondence, meeting agendas, files, legal briefs, photographs, architectural plans, reports, and publications, shows the development of architectural accessibility through the momentum of the disability rights movement.
    The bulk of the material is from Dibner's work with CIL and various other housing and accessability organizations, including committees organized by the City of Berkeley, in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Although Dibner worked as an attendant for UC Berkeley students John Hessler, Scott Sorensen, and Hale Zukas, and was very active in the university's Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP), there is no documentation of these activities in the collection. There are also very few records dated after Dibner's move to Maine in 1985.
    The collection contains materials on a number of notable projects and events, including the surveying of public buildings and streets in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco, and materials documenting an accessibility survey resulting in an access lawsuit against BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Also included are materials regarding campaigns and lawsuits for the removal of grocery store cart barriers, as well as documentation of protests against San Francisco Regency Theaters' ironically inaccessible screenings of Coming Home, a film about a disabled veteran.
    Other San Francisco Bay Area related materials in the collection include files regarding Berkeley public space planning for areas such as the California School for the Deaf and Blind, the waterfront, and People's Park, as well as files concerning Berkeley housing and rent control.
    Records from CIL, predominantly from the years 1975-1982, contain condensed reports on the internal workings of CIL, and include information on accessibility measures, as well as administrative, organizational, and committee files. The materials also include documentation and photographs of the CIL worker's strike in 1981-1982, and information on the Disability Support Service Workers Union.
    Of particular interest to researchers may be CIL records, community group files, and materials regarding Berkeley-area public space planning, as well as the broad coverage of a number of disability rights and accessibility organizations.