Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring 2018 Targeting Autism Forum

Registration for the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum is now open! This fourth and final two-day intensive will take place in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18, 2018. 

Suzanne Schriar and Russ Bonanno will kick off the two-day forum and introduce the keynote speakers:

Susan Senator
Journey Into Autism Adulthood: Creative Insights & Strategies for a Fulfilling Life

Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Stephanie Diorio, Erin Miller, Charlie Remy and Mitch Silverman
Librarians on the Spectrum: On Helping Make Libraries Inclusive

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu
At the Intersection of Being Black, Female and Autistic

Amanda Marti
Building Community Engagement

Samuel Senyo Dogoe
Autism & Libraries in Ghana

Kerry Magro
Journey to Adulthood on the Spectrum

Nancy Bolt
Advocating That All Be Served: the U.N., IFLA, A Survey and Library Service to People with Disabilities

Sujin Huggins
Autism & Libraries in Trinidad

Kathy Claybough, Cathy Hoffman, Holly Jin, Julie Ozier, and Deb Sherrick
Panel: Collaborative Models

During the UnForum Session, attendees will engage with one another in an informal setting to select and discuss a chosen topic(s) related to autism and libraries.

The winners of the 2018 Autism Welcome Here grant will be announced, and the Targeting Autism Project Team Members will provide an update on the Targeting Autism initiative including Project ENABLE.

The Forum will be held at the Illinois State Library. Travel to and from Springfield, Illinois will be at each participant's expense. There is no registration fee to participate in the Forum. Lodging for May 16-17 and meals (breakfast and lunch) for both days are provided.

To register, simply email Suzanne Schriar. The subject line should read "Registration for the Forum." Please include your name, job title, name of your library or other professional affiliation and a brief statement about your interest in the topic of autism and libraries. Seating is limited, so register early.

View past Forum presentations on the Targeting Autism YouTube channel.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Diversability programs at the 2017 Illinois Library Association Conference

It's officially fall, and that means it's time for sharing and learning at the annual Illinois Library Association Conference! If you are registered for Rise Up! October 10-12 in Tinley Park, aim to attend these sessions focused on serving young people with disabilities.

ILA Conference logo


Assisting People with Disabilities, 1:30-2:30pm (JJ Pionke, UIUC)
This session will highlight some of the work that has been going on at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in terms of reaching out to and assisting people with disabilities (physical, mental, sensory). This session will also include a practical discussion for empowering libraries to go beyond American with Disabilities Act compliance including walking your building, using User Experience techniques, and refining services.

Be an Advocate: Create Volunteer Opportunities for Young Adults with Disabilities, 2:45-3:45pm (Dawn Wlezien, Skokie Public Library)
Our message to people with disabilities is that the library is a place of lifelong learning and discovery for people of all abilities, and that our library is not complete without their participation. The library's goal is to provide volunteer opportunities that bring differently abled residents together for discovery, enrichment, and the exchange of ideas. If you want to find out more on how to develop, shape, and implement a progressive volunteer program for young adults with disabilities, this session is for you.


Diversity and Diversability: Developing Programming for All, 10:15-11:15am (Greg Diaz, Patrice Johnson, and Evelyn Keolian, Chicago Public Library)
Diversity programming, from culturally based focuses to inclusive events for those experiencing disabilities, is a key tool in building connections within and across communities. It is also one of the best methods librarians have to increase their own awareness of and empathy for the communities they serve. This session will discuss the importance and value of diversity programming, as well as the impact it can have on both communities and library staff. Practical strategies for developing such programming will also be explored.

Diversity in Illinois Libraries Discussion Group, 1:45-2:45pm
Join others in a discussion about diversity in the Illinois library community. Participants will be given the opportunity to talk about traditionally underrepresented groups within the library profession, and share ideas to help libraries improve the way we recruit and retain diverse staff. Facilitated by the Diversity Task Force.


POSTER SESSION: Literacy Resources for Serving Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 12:00-1:30pm (Beth Paoli, Illinois State Library)
Two programs of the Illinois State Library (ISL), Targeting Autism and the Literacy office, have collaborated to develop resources for libraries to better serve individuals and families impacted by autism spectrum disorder. As a result of this collaboration, an autism friendly adaptation section has been added to every Adult New Reader Book Club and Family Literacy Story Kit facilitators guide. The adaptation section offers suggestions on communication tips, visual guides and programming ideas for libraries to make learning experiences more inclusive and comfortable for those on the autism spectrum. In addition, three new titles featuring characters with autism spectrum disorder have been added to the collections. This poster session will introduce these autism friendly resources and encourage Illinois libraries to borrow these items from the ISL.

POSTER SESSION: Library Guides on Disabilities: Building a Robust Resource for All, 12:00-1:30 (JJ Pionke, UIUC)
This poster discusses the creation of over 20 LibGuides that focus on disabilities, disability theory, and assistive technology. Accessibility will be highlighted as well as critical response to the guides. This project was generously funded by an American Library Association Carnegie Whitney Grant.

For more sessions on serving diverse population groups, select the Diversity and Special Populations track on the Conference Programs website.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Developing Inclusive Library Services to Teens with Disabilities webinar

The 2017-2018 school year has officially begun, so let's get our learning on! Be sure to register for this free webinar as there are only 100 spaces available.

Developing Inclusive Library Services to Teens with Disabilities
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 10:00-11:00am (CST)
Presented by Renee Grassi
Hosted by Minitex, An Information and Resource Sharing Program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Nathan Anderson photos
Public libraries have a mission to serve and include all members of the community, including teens with disabilities. Librarian and advocate Renee Grassi will show how you can develop a comprehensive plan to welcome teens with disabilities at your library. In this workshop, attendees will learn about collections and technologies for teens with disabilities, innovative programs ideas, and suggestions for outreach and forging partnerships in the community. Participants will also learn how to develop best practices for building relationships with teens, working with caregivers, and inclusive customer service.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Renee Grassi to receive the Alexander J. Skrzypek Award

Renee Grassi
Renee Grassi, co-founder of SNAILS, friend, and mentor to many of our members, has been selected to receive the 2017 Alexander J. Skrzypek Award!

Presented by the Illinois Library Association and the Illinois State Library in honor of Alexander J. Skrzypek (1905-1976) -- the first librarian for the blind at the Chicago Public Library -- the award is given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library services for the blind or physically disabled in Illinois.

We know first hand how Renee's work has impacted libraries and communities across the state of Illinois, so we nominated her for the award! Read ILA's press release to learn about Renee's award-winning efforts to make Illinois libraries more inclusive to children with disabilities.

Renee's word cloud
The Alexander J. Skrzypek Award Award will be presented to Renee at the Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, October 10, during the 2017 Illinois Library Association Annual Conference in Tinley Park. If you are going to ILA this year, be sure to keep an eye out for Renee to congratulate her.

Renee will receive a certificate and have her name added to the plaque at the Illinois State Library. Even though she has moved to Minnesota, she will forever be a part of Illinois library history!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Get your ADA questions answered at our next SNAILS meeting!

Our summer meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30 at Deerfield Public Library. Please plan to arrive close to 9:00am for morning treats and networking. Our business will begin promptly at 9:30am.

Robin Jones
This month, we have the privilege of hearing from Robin Jones, the Director of the Great Lakes ADA Center. Robin will be giving an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act as it relates to local government (i.e. public libraries). Her presentation is jam-packed with legal and practical information, so this is a great meeting for library staff at all service levels to attend.

In order to the make the presentation as relevant as possible, Robin would like to know what type of scenarios you experience when serving (or not being equipped to serve) people with disabilities. If you ever wanted to ask an ADA expert a question about legal requirements, best practices, or "what to do if..." this is your chance!

Even if you can't make it to the meeting, please share your experiences/questions in the comments below or email us using the form at the left.

We'll record Robin's presentation and post it on our SNAILS YouTube Channel so that everyone can learn from her talk. It's quite possible that her presentation will inspire you to change a library policy, implement a new service, or develop a new program!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Disability Pride Parade this weekend in Chicago

The 14th Annual Disability Pride Parade is this weekend, on Saturday, July 22! The Parade kicks off at 11:00am from 401 S. Plymouth Court (beside the Harold Washington Library Center), and then travels up Dearborn Street to the Daley Center where post-parade festivities take place beginning at 12:30pm.

According to the parade website, the overall mission of the Disability Pride Parade is:

To change the way people think about and define “disability;”
To break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities; and
To promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride.

Wouldn't it be great if a group of SNAILS members could meet downtown and cheer for the parade participants?? If you'd like to show support as a spectator use the Contact Us form on the right side of the blog, and I'll work out the logistics for meeting in one place. If you can't attend the parade this Saturday don't worry -- you can still show your support by wearing green, orange, and purple ribbons this weekend!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meet Julia, the first Sesame Street Muppet with autism

The Muppets of Sesame Street are getting a new friend for the first time in years! Julia, a red-headed four-year-old with big, green eyes, loves to sing and jump and happens to have autism.

Julia was first introduced digitally in 2015 as an illustrated character in an online storybook entitled "We're Amazing, 1,2,3!" (which can be viewed on the Sesame Street and Autism website or by downloading the app for iOS, or Android).

This year, during Autism Awareness Month, Julia will make her TV debut as a Muppet on Sesame Street! Tune into PBS Kids or HBO on Monday, April 10 to meet Julia and learn about autism. Muppeteer Stacey Gordon, who has a child with autism and used to work as therapist for kids on the spectrum, has the privilege of bringing Julia to life.

Learn more about Julia, Stacey Gordon, and the Sesame Street: See Amazing in All Children initiative by viewing this report from the Today Show.