ALA Annual 2015

Learn How To Better Serve Your Community @ ALA Annual

The American Library Association’s 2015 Annual Conference is approaching. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to explore the Scheduler tool available to you on I’m excited to share with you several sessions for librarians and library staff aimed at how to better serve your special needs populations. If you are unfamiliar with the term, “Special Population”, I strongly recommend reading, “What Do You Mean by Special Population?” , by fellow committee member, Amy Musser. Here, Amy highlights the importance of creating services and programs for special needs populations as a way of making sure our libraries remain accessible. She urges us to remember, “…all patrons are individuals, not just members of one group or another.” With that, I have here a list of incredible programming available to you at ALA San Francisco: Library Services for the Incarcerated and Detained | Saturday, 06/27/2015 – 08:30am – 10:00am | Marriott…

ALA Midwinter 2015

Diversity: Special Needs at #alamw15

Lately, I’ve been investigating and thinking about ways we serve young people with special needs, and how it ties in with the heightened focus on diversity. At yesterday’s “Diversity Matters: Stepping It Up With Action!,” publishers and librarians engaged in a fascinating dialogue about practical ways we can include all voices. We should: hire more diverse staff; reach out to authors from underrepresented backgrounds; do targeted outreach; and develop partnerships with community organizations. But, as many audience members pointed out, our efforts should not only address race, culture, and sexual orientation, but should also include people with special needs. Here are a few highlights of special needs resources found/represented at #alamw15: *Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs: Stories to Foster Understanding by Alison M. G. Follos (Huron Street Press, 2013) *Children with Disabilities in the Library – an ALSC online professional development course. *Schneider Family Book Award, which…

ALSC Online Courses

Winter 2015 ALSC Online Courses

Is it really 2015!? It will be once January rolls around and what a perfect time to refresh your library programs! ALSC online courses are a great way to introduce new ideas and energy into your programs and services. Registration is now open for the winter 2015 ALSC online course season. Classes start Monday, January 5, 2015. Three of the courses being offered this semester are eligible for continuing education units (CEUs). The American Library Association (ALA) has been certified to provide CEUs by the IACET. ALSC online courses are designed to fit the needs of working professionals. Courses are taught by experienced librarians and academics. As participants frequently noted in post-course surveys, ALSC stresses quality and caring in its online education options. For more information on ALSC online learning, please visit: Children with Disabilities in the Library 6 weeks, January 5 — February 13, 2015 CEU Certified Course,…


Yoga as a Bridge for Serving a Cross Section of Your Library Population

Serving a diverse community can be difficult, especially when you are dealing with diversity across the physical, mental, and emotional spectrum. Often the social aspect of the library can be off putting for children, and parents of children with developmental disabilities. For children on the Autism spectrum, the child’s inability to regulate behavior can be problematic in a highly structured setting (such as a library program). Children with physical disabilities may feel that they are limited in how they can participate in library programs. But often the simplest programs can be the most effective and by offering a new or unique opportunity the library becomes a safe place to engage in something outside their preconceived limitations. Do you have a pre-set program time for children with disabilities? Do you have a pre-set time for family programs? Consider a family program featuring beginner and child friendly yoga. No matter how you incorporate…


Beyond Sensory Storytime at #ALSC14

Renee Grassi led this informative session on serving children (and adults) with special needs. She started off by sharing the rationale behind expanding services to this population: To provide a supportive and inclusive environment for a traditionally underserved group in your community. She also shared some startling statistics: Nearly 20% of the US population lives with a disability- about 13% with a severe disability. Only 56% of students w/ autism finish high school, even though there are more than 1 million people w/ autism in the USA. For those wondering where to begin w/ developing services for people w/ special needs, Renee suggests starting with conversations- get to know people and talk to them about what they need and want. One way to do this is by offering family tour services at the library. This can be available for any family- special-needs or just new to the community or library….