If you’re going to the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, you’re in luck! You have many opportunities for learning and inspiration, including a wide variety of programs about inclusive services to youth in libraries. Here’s a snapshot of some of the highlights you won’t want to miss.
- *Accessible eBooks: Ensuring that Your Library’s eContent is Universally Accessible to All (Saturday, June 28 at 8:30 am): As library’s purchase an ever increasing amount of electronic content, questions about universal accessibility become ever more important. In this session, attendees will learn timely options for making their collections accessible to patrons with print disabilities and will walk away with concrete steps and strategies that libraries can implement to ensure their ongoing accessibility.
- *Creating Fun, Accessible Programming for Youth with Disabilities (Saturday, June 28 at 10:30am): Youth patrons with disabilities are members of every public library’s population. This presentation will review best practices on accessible, engaging and entertaining programs for children of all ages and abilities. Throughout the presentation there will be examples and discussion of accessible technology options for children with varying disabilities and how to apply them to specialized programming that caters to their individual needs.
- *Creative Collaborations: Successful Partnerships That Serve Children With Autism (Saturday, June 28 at 1 pm): With the incidence of autism now at 1 in 88, children with this disability need our libraries. Librarians want to serve this population, but may not have the expertise or resources to offer appropriate programming. This panel will feature librarians who forged partnerships with outside organizations in order to serve their young patrons with autism in new and exciting ways. Find out how they did it, and be inspired to do it too.
- *Creating a Safe Library Space for All Youth (Saturday, June 28 at 3 pm): Libraries are in a unique position to be a safe and central location for many youth to turn to. Join us for a discussion of how we can make libraries a safer more welcoming space that meets the needs of all youth.
- *Stepping Up: Providing Effective Library and Information Services, Programs, and Resources to Students with Disabilities (Sunday, June 29 at 3 pm): Research has demonstrated that school librarians often lack the skills and knowledge to effectively design, implement and evaluate services, resources and programs for students with a range of physical, neuro-developmental and/or learning disabilities in their schools. This session will be led by four distinguished university faculty with different perspectives and areas of expertise: disabilities law, leadership and advocacy, communication disorders, and motivation and instructional design. The presenters will use a variety of interactive knowledge-building exercises and participative activities (e.g., what it is like to have a learning disability, how to create an accessible library facility) that motivate and engage participants.
- *Free and Affordable Apps for Accessibility (Saturday, June 28 at 1 pm): Library personnel are the greatest resource in providing outreach services to those with special needs or underserved populations. Free and low cost applications for smart phones and tablets have gone beyond simply games and utility functions and can be used to increase accessibility for library patrons of all ages. These apps and how to implement them in the library’s existing outreach resources will be discussed and demonstrated, and a go-to list of further resources will be provided.