Blogger Abby Johnson

Books for ALL at #PLA2020

Do you know what the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled has to offer your patrons? Neither did I, really, so I stopped by their booth to get some information to bring back to my colleagues. Residents of your state can apply for services, which include audiobooks and braille books for patrons of all ages. This is a free service and it’s coordinated by local network libraries in each state. In Indiana, ours is run through the Indiana State Library. Find your local network library here! I picked up information and a stack of applications to bring back to my librarians and I’m excited to tell them about this service. We often serve patrons with visual disabilities and it’s wonderful to have another resource to share with them.

Blogger Renee Grassi

Ten Accessibility Tips for Youth and Families in the Library

There is no “one size fits all” accessibility solution for youth with disabilities and their families. That said, there are some tips and strategies I invariably subscribe to when working in youth services and advocating for accessibility. Here are my 10 tips. What are yours?   Number 10. When creating summer reading program promotional videos or other library videos on YouTube, add your own closed captions. Number 9. Communicate directly with the patron—rather than the parent, caregiver, interpreter, or support staff. Number 8. When providing behavioral expectations or guidelines, be direct, concrete, and use plain language. Number 7. Meet kids where they are. If they want to walk around the room or use a fidget during a program, let them. Number 6. Listen and provide wait time before repeating a question or statement. Not everyone processes information at the same rate. Number 5. If your library provides sign language interpretation…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Full Supports for Full Inclusion

Just last week, Minnesota celebrated its annual Disability Day at the Capitol. Hosted by the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, this day calls on individuals with and without disabilities to “rally, march and roll” to the Capitol building downtown St. Paul advocating for accessibility and inclusion. By the end of Disability Day, a flurry of photos from the event filled my Twitter and Facebook feeds. I was struck by one particular photo of someone’s poster that read “Full Supports for Full Inclusion.” Upon further research, I was reminded where I had seen this quote before. “Full supports for Full Inclusion” is the driving force of Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan—a plan that moves our state forward towards greater integration and inclusion for people with disabilities. The plan’s goal states “Minnesota will be a place where people with disabilities are living, learning, working and enjoying life in the most integrated setting possible.”…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teens and Tweens: Large Print Makes a Difference!

tween teen large print

Vision Thing Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks have all revolutionized the world for every age group.  For tweens and teens, the effects of hours of utilizing these devices has made a real impact on their vision.  The impact on literacy levels has also been noted.  Dr. Ralph Chu remarks on one condition called dry eye disease (DED), saying that, “you see (DED) commonly in people who are in their 50’s & 60’s, but now with children who are using their smartphones a lot, we’re seeing this more and more.”So, let’s read up on how large print can make all the difference in this vision thing! Large Print and Learning Believe it or not, larger print has some wonderful advantages, not just for staving off myopia.  Struggling readers can benefit significantly from larger print materials.  Tween and teen reluctant readers may want to read, but may be finding it difficult.  For tween/teen…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Noise-Reducing Headphones: Assistive Technology in Youth Services

Assistive technologies are tools that help individuals with disabilities live independently. One type of assistive tech tool that is especially useful for youth and families to use in the context of libraries is noise-reducing headphones. There may be a variety of reasons why children are sensitive to sounds, including the fact that they may experience sensory processing or sensory integration disorder. When a child is sensitive to sounds and auditory information, you may notice a child covering his or her ears. Perhaps they are displaying signs of anxiety or discomfort, such as rocking, moaning, or stimming.  If the sensitivity is severe, the family may choose to avoid the activity all together, so as to not put the child at risk. Noise-reducing headphones can help children with sensory processing disorder or sensory sensitivities by reducing the amount of auditory input that child receives. Eliminating a majority of the auditory information in an…

Blogger Renee Grassi

American Sign Language Celebration

Five years ago, I wrote an ALSC blog post about using American Sign Language in the Library. Revisiting the topic five years later, we see there are now more public libraries expanding services and programs for deaf individuals and those who speak ASL, such as Montgomery County Public Library and Columbus Metropolitan Library. It’s exciting to know that libraries are working towards enhancing services to all populations of library users, even those who may not have always felt welcome at the library before. Last month in honor of National Deaf Awareness Month, my library launched a monthly series called American Sign Language Celebration. Co-planned and co-sponsored by community partners from our Metro Deaf School, Minnesota Resource Libraries, and Minnesota State Academy of Deaf, the goal of this program was two-fold.  We wanted to recognize and celebrate ASL and Deaf Culture at the Library by sharing information about American Sign Language. We also wanted to…

Blogger Renee Grassi

Lessons Learned: IFLA Satellite Conference in Singapore

      Last month, I experienced the incredible honor of representing Dakota County Library and the United States of America at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Satellite Conference in Singapore. Hosted at Singapore’s National Library Board, this Satellite Conference brought together members of IFLA’s “Children and Young Adults” (CYA) and “Library Services to People with Special Needs” (LSN) Sections for a day of learning, cooperation, and collaboration. The focus of the conference was to discuss how to promote inclusive library services to children and young adults, leaving no one behind, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  My article Stronger Together: Successful Community Partnerships Serving Youth with Special Needs in American Public Libraries was one of eight that were accepted and published by IFLA’s CYA and LSN and featured at this conference. And in Singapore, all of the authors were invited to present a summary of their articles to conference attendees….