Guest Blogger

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: A Milestone….Hopefully, Just a Start

Author Julia Finley Mosca and illustrator Daniel Rieley have broken a barrier with The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin.  One of the first autistic persons to speak publicly about her condition, Dr. Grandin’s insight into the minds of cows, and her perseverance, led her into the halls of corporate America and changed the ethical standards for processing meat.  Dr. Grandin has received numerous honors and written many books.

Guest Blogger

Everybody Plays! Welcoming All Abilities to the Library

It’s Everybody Plays day at Simsbury Public Library in Connecticut, and I stop for a moment to look around our large program room. Children and adults are trying out the balance path, playing at the train table, digging their hands into the rice bin, and rolling a ball through the tunnel into the play tent. One little one in particular has his curly head bent over the sensory table, which holds lots of different kinds of beans today.

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…

Guest Blogger

Transforming Sensory Storytime Lemons into Sensory Kit Lemonade

In November 2014, my assistant director asked me if I’d ever heard of a special needs storytime. I responded, perhaps overenthusiastically, with the notes and links I had been gathering for 6 months. We decided we wanted to start a Sensory Storytime at our largest branch. We knew we had families with children on the spectrum in our community; some came to the library, some didn’t. We read all the resources we could get our hands on (including these excellent resources here, here, and here). We asked some of our key donors to help buy sensory toys as a part of our annual end-of-year appeal. We observed a sensory storytime at a library on the other side of Michigan in January. That spring, we steadily cultivated relationships with (semi) nearby parent support groups, local therapy clinics, the local university’s collaborative autism center, county public health, and teachers who worked in…