For the last four years I have had the honor to serve on the Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee (LSSPCC). Each year we award the ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way” Grant. Through the years I have read through grant applications where libraries and librarians are reaching out to special populations. I am thrilled to hear about the great programs going on throughout the country and I wish our committee could fund them all. I also wish our committee could share these great programs and programming ideas. We often suggest highlighting a non-winner for article in the ALSC blog or ALSC Matters, because the work they are doing is noteworthy.
Mary Seratt, last year’s winner of the “Light the Way” Grant has a wonderful article in the Bright Ideas section of the March 2013 ALSC Matters. Read with Me, Sign with Me – Inclusive Storytimes for Children and Families highlights the incredible work that is happening at the Memphis Public Library Information Center. I hope their work will inspire other communities.
In addition to the “Light the Way” Grant, the LSSPCC Committee hosts an ALSC discussion group on ALA Connect: Serving Children with Autism. Please feel free to join and post to this discussion group. The discussion group was formed after our Annual Conference Program on Sensory Storytime and there are handouts from that event on the site as well.
This year is the first year our committee took on a new role as blogger for the ALSC blog. We post the first Saturday of the month and I hope that you find our information helpful. Our very first post was on Serving Teen Parents and their Children. Last month’s post on Apps for Autism got a lot of comments going. Please know we read your comments and appreciate your likes and tweets. It’s a great way for us to share stories and provide highly requested information and it’s archived, so that you can access it at anytime.
Our next venture is to partner with the ALSC Children and Technology Committee on a #alscchat on Twitter focusing on services to children in non-traditional settings. We aren’t the only committee, division or interest group that focuses on Special Populations and I highly recommend taking a peek at ASCLA’s – Library Accessibility – What You Need to Know. Also consider the ALSC/Candlewick Press “Light the Way” Grant for your library next year.
Next month catch the LSSPCC interview with Paula Kelly of the Whitehall Public Library, discussing her work the library’s resettled refugee population. She states that the library’s programs present “an ideal opportunity to shine a positive light on the community’s diversity, and introduce opportunities for community conversation and support.” Here is a small teaser; check out a WPL YouTube video filmed in 2011.
Paula Holmes is ALSC Committee Chair, Library Service to Special Population Children and their Caregivers and Trustee for the Upper St. Clair Township Library