Spring 2014 Meeting Recap

Vernon Hills Public Library hosted our spring meeting on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 in their beautifully redesigned library. We covered a lot of ground in a few short hours, so if you weren't able to attend, please take some time to soak in this recap.

Leap into Literacy
Rita Angelini, founder of Leap into Literacy, shared the history and mission of her organization as well as the process of creating an adaptive book by translating the text into Boardmaker symbols, laminating the pages, and adding page fluffers. About a dozen suburban libraries have already received a donation of these books, and Rita is working with volunteers and SNAILS to provide them to many more libraries. To see which libraries already carry Rita's books, as well as the books' titles, visit the new Leap into Literacy website

After Rita's presentation, a conversation ensued about the extra time it takes for Technical Services to catalog and process adaptive books. Due to the books' modified format, bibliographic records cannot be downloaded from OCLC; and, therefore, they must be cataloged from scratch. If your catalogers would like to see examples of how other libraries have cataloged Leap into Literacy books check out Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Prospect Heights Public LibrarySkokie Public Library, or Tinley Park Public LibraryBooks can be easily interlibrary loaned through ILS consortiums or Innovative's INNreach (i.e. LINKin), but borrowing from a library outside your group can prove to be a little more difficult for your ILL librarian.

A couple of other topics that came up were shelving and promotion. If your library has Leap into Literacy books, where do you shelve them? How do you promote them to the public or to schools?

Holly gave an overview of Mayer Johnson's Boardmaker® software so that those considering purchasing the software would have an idea of how it works. At this point, most libraries are using it to print visual supports such as program schedules, so the basic Boardmaker® v.6 - with or without the addendum libraries - is sufficient. It's not difficult to learn, but it does take some practice. Does your library have Boardmaker®?

Visual Supports
A few of us shared examples of how we use visual supports in our special needs programs. Lindsay has been encouraging all of her storytime teachers at Arlington Heights Memorial Library to incorporate basic visual supports into their regular storytimes. We also took a quick look at Boardmaker Share and the new Boardmaker Achieve Community where others are sharing their Boardmaker creations.

Hi-Lo Books
Renee created a great bibliography for Glencoe Public Library called "Books You Will Like! Hi-Lo Books for Grades 5-8," which recommends individual fiction, biography, and nonfiction titles, as well as two series, audiobooks and Playaways. Holly mentioned the "ALA 2012: What's UP with Hi-Lo?" Publishers Weekly article by Shannon Maughan and provided a list of recommended true hi-lo publishers and distributors as well as a few reluctant reader booklists.

Summer Reading Club Discussion
Inspired by the article, Summer Reading Club: Inviting Accessibility by Cynthia Ford of the British Columbia Library Association, we broke into small groups to discuss the following questions:
  1. What benefits do summer reading clubs provide for families of children with special needs?
  2. What barriers exist that prevent children with special needs from participating in summer reading clubs?
  3. What are strategies to make our summer reading clubs accessible from the start? 
  4. What are examples of accommodations that we can make as we go along?
  5. What are methods for inviting families of children with special needs to participate in our programs?
Great food for thought. After our discussion, Renee distributed copies of her fantastic ALSC blog post entitled "10 Quick Tips for Marketing to Families of Children with Special Needs."

Vernon Area Library
Pam Minarik graced us with her presence and shared passionately about the impact that the FACE-IT book discussion program has had on incarcerated youth. Sarah Okner then told us about her outreach to high school special education students and generously shared a few of her lesson plans. We want to hear much more from Sarah and Pam, so check back later for an additional post.

Wow, what a meeting! Our next SNAILS gathering is scheduled for Wednesday, August 13, 2014. We're a little late in identifying locations for the 2014-2105 season, so if you'd be willing to host this amazing networking group please contact Holly at hjin(at)skokielibrary.info.