Blogger Bethany Lafferty

Keep the Conversation Going – Services and Programs for Individuals with Disabilities

Full disclosure: I am not only a Children’s Librarian who advocates for inclusive programs and services for children with varying abilities, but I am also the parent of a child with a life-limiting genetic syndrome that causes significant developmental delays.  I am motivated to a great extent by my daughter to ensure that libraries across the country have the tools and training needed to create and/or improve their offerings for people with disabilities. It is my goal to have her enjoy visiting the library as much as I did as a child. Many libraries today are addressing the needs of children with special needs to ensure inclusion in story time programs and successful visits for materials and other resources.  Sensory story times are the most popular offerings, but even a classic story time structure with simple modifications can be offered to include children with special needs.  If you are just…

ALA Annual 2014

Last Minute Tips if You’re Vegas Bound! #alaac14

Here are the Top 5 Tips the Local Arrangements Committee members want to make sure you have before you arrive in Las Vegas next week. 5. Las Vegas isn’t just the Strip. Check out these uniquely Las Vegas, family-friendly destinations. Discovery Children’s Museum ( ), now in a brand new, 3-story building, the Discovery Children’s Museum has nine themed exhibit halls with interactive, hand-on activities. Visit the website for admission rates. Downtown Container Park ( is an exciting, sustainable shopping attraction in downtown Las Vegas. It is home to several boutique shops, restaurants and a one-of-a-kind interactive play area for children. Hours vary and no one under the age of 21 is allowed after 9 p.m. Springs Preserve ( is the place in the Southern Nevada Valley to explore unique nature exhibits, botanical gardens, hiking trails, and live animal shows. Visit the website for admission prices. Town Square Las Vegas…

ALA Annual 2011

Serving Children and Families with Special Needs

Are you heading to New Orleans next week?  If so,put this program sponsored by ALSC’s Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers Committee on your to-do list.  Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming That Makes Sense for Kids with Autism Saturday, June 25, 1:30 pm-3:30 pm, Convention Center Room 283 Learn about these adapted storytime programs and the principles behind them from three experienced public librarians and a Louisiana-based Sensory Integration Occupational Therapist who works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and sensory processing problems.  Expect to be inspired, educated and empowered to develop or modify your own storytime programs to serve the kids with autism in your community.  Speakers:  Ellen Fader, Youth Services Director, Multnomah County Library System Barbara Klipper, Youth Services Librarian, The Ferguson Library Allison LeBouef, LOTR, Co-Owner of the Pediatric Therapy and Learning Center Patricia Twarogowski, Youth Public Services Supervisor, Cuyahoga County Public Library   Erin…

Blogger Bethany Lafferty

A First Step to Serving Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs

These days most of us can be found using the Internet to check e-mail, update our Facebook status, using smart phones and other devices to keep up with busy schedules and look for information.  Parents are no different.  And parents of children with special needs frequently turn to the Internet to find information, advice, and support for caring for their children.  It can sometimes be hard to find local support groups or the time to attend workshops, but online communities are only a click away.  However, some parents may not be as savvy as others in conducting searches online, so the public library is a natural place to seek information and resources to support their needs.                   A great way that your library can begin to serve the needs of children and families dealing with disabilities is to provide a list of resources, be it national, regional or local.  Knowing…

Blogger Bethany Lafferty

Library Services for Children with Special Needs

                Recently there have been many shared stories about programs for children with special needs and their parents, and how to successfully integrate this population into existing programs.  Individuals have shared their stories of inclusion of babies and toddlers into story time and how they adapt to meet the needs of these children.   Large library systems have presented conference programs on how to effectively create and run a successful program addressing the needs of children with autism.  But what if you are a small library or have minimal resources (i.e. funds, staff, expertise) to conduct an ongoing or large-scale program?  Many of us answer that question by finding a community partner to work with.                  If your child audience is the under 3 set and you are focusing on early literacy skills and development, a great partner for collaboration and expert information can be found within an Early Intervention (EI)…

Blogger Bethany Lafferty

Keep your cool with the Kids! @ Your Library Tool Kit

Greetings from the ALSC Public Awareness Committee! Summer is nearly here, and with temperatures rising, and kids out of school, what’s a busy librarian to do? Keep your cool with the Kids! @ your library® tool kit, which has some great ideas to help you with your summer program plans! Here are 10 FREE ideas from our online tool kit to get your summer off to a great start! More details for each activity can be found at the Kids! Website. 1.       Use our scripts for the “Library Dragon” or “The Chicken and the Librarian” to host your own reader’s theatre program. 2.       Hold a bookmark contest, and distribute the winning bookmarks as part of your summer reading program. 3.       Have your tweens decorate the library entrance for summer using sidewalk chalk. 4.       Children’s Book Week is around the corner — visit the CBW website for posters, bookmarks, and activities!…

Blogger Bethany Lafferty

Countdown to Dia!

Let the countdown to Dí­a begin!  El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), known as Dí­a, is a celebration EVERY DAY of children, families, and reading that culminates each year on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Not sure what to plan or how to do it?  Visit the “Celebrations” page for ideas.  Register your library’s Dí­a program, print brochures and use the interactive map to see what other communities are doing to celebrate nationwide. Become a fan of Dí­a on Facebook and follow the countdown to the Dí­a Celebrations on April 30! Bethany Lafferty, ALSC Public Awareness Committee member

Blogger Bethany Lafferty

Multicultural Populations in your Library

Do you serve multicultural populations in your library?  Are you meeting the needs of these populations?  Would you like more resources to assist you? We need to hear from you! The Association for Library Service to Children is currently assessing how we can best help you and your colleagues provide enhanced library service to your multicultural populations.  We ask you to take a few short minutes to complete a survey designed to collect current information about the challenges you face, the tools you need and how we can help. It’s quick and easy.  Simply click on the link below to get started. The survey has about 15 questions and will take just 5-10 minutes of your time.  We ask that you complete the survey by Friday, March 12. Here’s the link Thank you!