Sunday, August 30, 2015

Toys "R" Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

Hot off the press! The latest edition of the Toys "R" Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids has just been published online, and Toys "R" Us is currently taking orders for the print edition. This guide is developed in collaboration with Lekotek play specialists who evaluate and recommend toys according to their developmental benefits. While the information focuses on the needs of kids with disabilities, the toys are not adapted in any way so the guide is helpful for parents of children of all abilities!

I've ordered a box of 250 guides to share between us at our October meeting in Glenview. While I don't find the print version to be very popular with my sensory storytime families, you are welcome to place an order for a full box to share with your community partners and patrons.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Announcing NEW Library Grant: Autism Welcome Here!

 Autism Welcome Here Grant
The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" grant is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We're Connected. This grant honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism co-founder Meg Kolaya for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.
* Apply Online Here

Grant Description
Each year, a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded. Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts totaling $5,000.00 may be awarded. Any type of library can apply and the proposal can fund projects and services for any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an already-existing, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance a program or service they already offer. All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly. Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.
Criteria for Selection:
Applications will be judged on the basis of:

  • The project is clearly described and well thought out.
  • There is institutional support for the program or service.
  • People with autism, family members or other community stakeholders are involved in the development and/or implementation of the project.
  • The program is one that would be replicable in other communities.
  • The program or service is based on an understanding of the needs of people with autism and/or best practices in working with this population.
  • The service or program will be sustainable after the end of the grant period.
All questions must be answered, unless they are marked "optional". Completed applications must be submitted by December 1, 2015. The winner(s) will be notified by March 1, 2016. The grant funding period is April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Please direct any questions to Barbara Klipper:
* Apply Online Here
Grant Committee Members
  • Renee Grassi - Youth Department Director, Glen Ellyn (IL) Public Library
  • Barbara Klipper - Retired Librarian, Consultant and Trainer
  • Meg Kolaya - Libraries & Autism, Library Connections, LLC
  • Adria Nassim - Autism Self-Advocate
  • Suaznne Schriar - Associate Director, Illinois Library Automation & Technology, Illinois State Library
  • Debra Vines - Founder/Executive Director of The Answer, Inc.
  • Dan Weiss - Director, Fanwood (NJ) Memorial Library; Libraries & Autism, Library Connections, LLC
This grant is funded by Barbara Klipper, librarian and author of Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014) and The Secret Rules of Social Networking (AAPC Publishing, 2015), a one-of-a-kind resource for teens and young adults with ASD or other social skills deficits that outlines the unstated rules that guide relationships in the real world and online as well.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Accessibility Topics at Illinois' "A Library State of Mind" Conference

Looking to learn about outreach and serving patrons inclusively and accessibly at this year's state library conference?  Join other public, school, academic, and special libraries at this year's conference "A Library State of Mind" where we will connect, network and learn together about serving ALL of our community members.

Getting Started with Outreach In Your Community 
Thursday, October 22 at 10:45 am
This interactive class will provide a background in cultural competence and outreach skills as librarians make outreach efforts to underserved and minority populations in their communities. The goal of this course is to offer concrete ideas to enable librarians to initiate outreach programs with minority communities. Topics to be covered include resources for locating community demographics, the importance of developing relationships, the basics of building and developing community-based partnerships, recognition and acceptance of cultural differences, and the importance of cultural competency. Participants will engage in group discussions to explore models for developing their own programs.

Turning Outward: Community Engagement and Strategic Planning  
Thursday, October 22 at 10:45 am
Turning Outward: it's about seeking and understanding the aspirations of those we serve and turning those aspirations into meaningful, strategic action. It's about working to transform ourselves and our communities. Learn about how the Indian Trails Library District, the Oak Park Public Library, and the Skokie Public Library are using the methods of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation -- with the encouragement of the American Library Association -- to engage our citizens, to develop meaningful action plans, and to prepare our libraries and our communities for the future. 

That ALL May Read
Thursday, October 22 at 1:45 pm
Enhance library services by implementing new technologies to serve students and patrons unable to read standard print. Talking Book and Braille Service, a leader in alternative format reading material has a long partnership with Illinois school, public, academic and special libraries. It provides books, players, and direct downloads to eligible individuals. Discover an innovative new app allowing immediate download to a computer or iPhone at no charge. This established partnership between a Federal program, state agency, and local libraries shows how you can join the collaboration to strengthen your community and enhance the quality of life for people underserved by libraries. 

Tiny Crafters: Art and Sensory Programs for Ages 0-5 
Thursday, October 22 at 3 pm
Art knows no age limits! While a baby or toddler’s artwork may not be hung in a museum, librarians can help facilitate sensory art exploration in an environment that encourages young children to explore their world using all five senses while practicing the five early literacy practices. Learn about how you can host a hands-on art program for children ages 0-5 and leave with a spark of inspiration.

Fairs with Flair
Thursday, October 22 at 3 pm
Want to add some flair to your programming lineup? Learn tricks and tips about incorporating fairs into your library events. This panel presentation will showcase several examples of successful fairs on the topics of Preschool, Special Needs, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), Volunteer, and BookFest. Learn how to: get community groups on board with your idea, determine what’s important to your community, engage your local schools and supplement their curricula, highlight local service groups and community organizations, and showcase the library as the center of what’s happening in your community.

Programming through Partnership for Adults with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome
Friday, October 23 at 2:45 pm
According to the CDC, one in 68 children has autism, and numbers are rising. As these kids turn 21, all of the supports and services they have been receiving under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will no longer be available to them. Learn how the Schaumburg Township District Library implemented a successful series of programs targeted towards its adult patrons with ASD. Representatives from STDL's community partners, including the local school district, community college, autism resource center, and an involved parent of an adult son with autism will talk about the specific needs of the ASD community and how public libraries across the state can help fill some of the current gaps in service.

Targeting Autism: Libraries and Community Stakeholders Taking the Lead to Better Serve Residents with Autism
Saturday, October 24 at 1:45 pm
A panel including a public librarian and school librarian, an autism service provider, and a young woman with autism/self advocate will discuss strategies for collaboration and the power of libraries to improve the quality of life for special needs communities. Targeting Autism is an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grant Project that partners all types of libraries with various autism advocates and service providers for the purpose of helping libraries better support the large population of individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

 More than 1 out of 10 people in Illinois have a disability.  

In recognition of the anniversary of ADA25, the RAILS library system as partnered with ADA25Chicago to offer professional development and learning opportunities to librarians and library staff about serving people with disabilities.  Here is a snapshot of what is available for you and your staff from now until the end of the year.

Webinar: “Beyond Assistive Technology: Improving Library Services to People with Disabilities”
Thursday, August 20 from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Webinar: “Autism 101 for Libraries: What is Autism Spectrum Disorder and How Can We Help Students and Families at the Library?”
Thursday, September 17, 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

In-Person Training: “Mental Health Awareness Training for Library Staff”
Wednesday, October 7, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Skokie Public Library

Webinar: “Inclusive Programming for Adults with Developmental Disabilities”
Thursday, November 12, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
More info:

Webinar: "Accessible to All: Serving Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities"
 Thursday, December 10, 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
More info: