Blogger Renee Grassi

Recommending Books for Kids with Low Vision

Twitter is a great place to share ideas with your fellow youth librarians.  Just recently, Jennifer Taggart, blogger at Adaptive Umbrella and author of the recent ALSC blog post Inclusive Technology Station, reached out to her Twitter followers.  She needed suggestions of high contrast picture books for children with low vision to add to her library’s special needs collection. It made me think–how do families with children who have low vision find library books? Unless our libraries have a special needs collection, it can be difficult for librarians and parents alike to sift through all of the picture books to find the right one. If this is a situation you have struggled with at your library, here are some criteria you can consider when making book recommendations to families with children with low vision. High Contrast: Books featuring high contrasting colors are inherently more accessible to children with low vision.  These titles offer…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Autism Welcome Here: Grant Opportunity

                If your library is looking to fund a new project or service that welcomes people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at your library, consider the Autism Welcome Here Grant. The “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More” grant honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected co-founder, Meg Kolaya, for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries with the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with ASD and their families to the library community. It is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected. All types of libraries, either in the U.S. or Canada, are encouraged to apply.  Proposals can fund projects or services directed at any age group.  Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an established, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Learning About Library Accessibility

What does it mean to make your library accessible?  Is it just a quick evaluation of your space, making sure that your department is ADA compliant? Or is it more than that? The term accessibility encompasses a wide variety of issues and topics concerning access of those with disabilities.  When we consider accessibility in libraries, we think of library design, allocation of space, furniture, technology, programming, customer service, collections, library websites, volunteer and employment opportunities, library policies and procedures, and more.  Basically, library accessibility is about equal service and access for everyone in all areas of the library experience.  And there’s a lot to learn about it. ASCLA, a division of ALA, provides free online tip sheets perfect for anyone interested in learning more about library accessibility. These tip sheets provide an overview of each accessibility topic, they share concrete real-world tips and strategies to apply to your service and…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Serving Children with Disabilities in Libraries: A Beginner’s Guide

Where should I begin? This can sometimes be the most challenging part about developing library services to children with disabilities.  In fact, the most common question I receive is about where to start.  While there isn’t a one-stop-shop when it comes to expanding your knowledge in this area, I’m pleased to say that there is a plethora of resources out there that can help you on your journey to becoming an advocate for children with disabilities.  Basically, what that means is that the first step is to learn.  And you’re in luck–here are some of my favorite resources to help you do just that!

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Professional Resources for Learning About Inclusive Play

So much learning happens through play. Play can help children practice language, motor skills, problem-solving skills and social skills. Many of our libraries may already include free play as part of our storytime programs for young children to support this growth. We may not realize it, though, but there are many barriers to play that exist for children with special needs.  Some of the kids in our communities may not be equipped with the skills to play without accommodations or support. So it’s important that we develop strategies to be inclusive and enable access to play for all. Coming up with accessible and inclusive play-based activities and games for storytime programs can be a challenge if you do not have a background in occupational therapy or special education. Thankfully, there are a variety of up to date and valuable resources at our disposal to help us learn about inclusive play-based…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Announcing New Grant! Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services, and More

Is your library looking to expand services to patrons with autism, but you are in need of funding to get your project started? Look no further than this new grant opportunity “Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More.” This grant honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism co-founder Meg Kolaya for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.  This opportunity is funded by Barbara Klipper, librarian and author of Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014) and The Secret Rules of Social Networking (AAPC Publishing, 2015), a one-of-a-kind resource for teens and young adults with ASD or other social skills deficits that outlines the unstated rules that guide relationships in the real world and online as well. Any type…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Targeting Autism: Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum

Did you know that April is National Autism Awareness Month? According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 68 children have been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) nationwide.  This dramatic increase is no doubt affecting how libraries provide programs and services that are inclusive and welcoming to those with ASD.  Because of that, the state of Illinois has kickstarted the conversation with Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum. In 2014, the Illinois State Library was awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Forum Grant to help libraries better serve patrons and family members impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). This project explores how libraries can work with diverse community organizations and programs to address the topic of ASD, through training, education and support services. The primary goals of the…