Member Libraries

The purpose of this page to promote Illinois library programs and services to children and teens with special needs. If you represent a public library in Illinois and want to expand programs and services, you can join SNAILS as a member library. Simply attend one of our upcoming meetings. If you cannot attend a meeting, your library can still become a member. To add/edit information about your library's services to this page or to to be included on the SNAILS distribution list, simply send an email to hjin(at)skokielibrary.info. We look forward to connecting with you!

Algonquin Area Public Library: offers an inclusive model to library programming for patrons with special needs, rather than special designed targeted programs; provides a home bound library delivery service

Arlington Heights Memorial Library: offers Rainbow Time, which is a literacy program utilizing trained therapy dogs for children; offers Sensory Storytime every other month; collection of iPads with apps specially for children with special needs; runs a special Digital Storytime program utilizing animated picture books and ebooks; launched an unstructured play program for children of all abilities called Sensory Play; has page on the library's website devoted to highlighting special needs resources for parents and professional; created an e-newsletter called "The Special Child" specifically highlighting library programs and resources for parents with children with special needs; offers the Lindsay Room (their programming room) to be booked for parents with children who need a calm, quiet place: the room has dim lighting, low music, sensory toys, and is called "My Space," which is always offered after Sensory Storytime ends; launched a "Stories of Autism campaign in the library; all library staff were trained on autism awareness and during the month of April, staff were encouraged to wear bracelets and give out stickers about Autism Awareness Month; offers an inclusive Play Group program for all patrons even without AHML library cards with unstructured exploration play stations around the Children's Department; offers a This is My Library social story on library website

Batavia Public Library: partners with local special education classes to bring students to visit the library; has offered Sensory Storytime for the past year designed for children with autism and other developmental disabilities; created a "Welcome to the Library" social story; circulates a fine motor skills bag, and other games and kits to teach learning skills; has a page on the library website devoted to special needs resources

Bloomingdale Public Library

Bridgeview Public Library

Brookfield Public Library: offers a Sensory Table in children's program and children's department; uses "story tins" or sensory boxes in existing children's programs, which are boxes full of tactile objects related to a particular story or folktale; in collaboration with local special education teachers to expand services and programs; has an interest in increasing programs and services for teens and young adults with special needs

Chicago Public Library: Sensory Storytime for all children up to age 12 offered monthly at Harold Washington Library Center, Woodson Regional, and Sulzer Regional; website features autism resources, including accessibility guides, helpful websites, and book recommendations; some branch librarians lead class visits from local special education schools

Crystal Lake Public Library:
Crystal Lake offers a monthly sensory "1st Saturday Storytime" that is for children ages 3-8 and their families. They have created a social story, "Storytime at the Library," and they also offer outreach for the district's special needs early childhood classes.

Deerfield Public Library: has hosted Sensory Storytimes and Read to Rover programs with local therapy dogs; offers a This is My Library social story; led special education class visits from elementary and middle school; hosting a special music program in partnership with local special education district bringing Jim Gill for an inclusive family program; will be hosting special inclusive programming on a quarterly basis (lego program, Read to Rover with therapy dogs); in the process of creating a new lending library of adaptive toys; staff have participated in staff training opportunities led by Disability Awareness Players from JJ's List, Lekotek, and Chicago Play Project

Ela Area Public Library: has led focus groups with local stakeholders in the community to begin expanding services to patrons with special needs; offers a monthly Sensory Storytime; visited local special education district to observe classrooms; brought in a local special needs professional to address space concerns and needs from the perspective of a person with special needs; staff have participated in ALA online courses; offer a special storytime with trained therapy dogs;

Fountaindale Public Library:

Gail Borden Public Library: leads library visits from special education classes; offers a special storytime led by a local retired special education teacher; provides a questionnaire for parents to fill out before storytime program to assess child's strengths, interests, etc.; uses Boardmaker to create a library communication board; represented the library at teacher and parent fairs 

Geneva Public Library District: just beginning expanding services and programs with patrons with special needs and hoping to learn

Glen Elyn Public Library: hosts a month Sensory Storytime program starting April, 2016; provides a downloadable "This is my Library" social story for patrons to prepare for library visits; provides Life Skills programs and outreach visits to local high school students with disabilities; offers an online library presence with their "Special Needs" youth webpage; offers a circulating collection of adapted books for patrons with disabilities created and donated to the library by Leap into Literacy;

Glencoe Public Library: partners with the National Lekotek Center to offer a monthly Sensory Storytime inclusive program for children of all abilities ages 3 - 8 with siblings; provides a downloadable "This Is My Library" social story for children and young adults with special needs to prepare for library visits; offers a handout for parents and caregivers about utilizing the library with their child with special needs; participant in NSSED library survey assessing need and interest in local special education district with expanding library services; leads visits from local special education elementary and junior high classrooms; has offered a special before library hours Open House promoting library programs and services to parents with children with special needs; offers a literacy program with the K-9 Reading Buddies of the North Shore for children to read to trained therapy dogs; represents the library and its services at local parent fairs

Glenside Public Library District: local special education classes make visits to the library weekly; provide outreach to special education classes; in planning process to launch a new Sensory Storytime program

Glenview Public Library: Monthly Friendship Club for children in grades 3-8 where Friendship Ambassadors in 4-12th grade create a safe place to enjoy a program and make friends.

Green Hills Public Library District

Hillside Public Library

Helen Plum Memorial Library: provides outreach to local special education classes with special storytime; creating a circulating collection of sensory kits with sensory toys and resources for parents to use with children

Indian Trails Public Library: interested in learning more about Sensory Storytime and other programs to expand programs for children with special needs

La Grange Park Public Library:

Lake Forest Library:

Mount Prospect Public Library: added special schedules and supports to annual summer reading program especially designed for children with special needs; leads special storytimes for local special education classrooms; offers a circulating toy collection, which includes adapted and sensory toys; has created Library social stories; staff have received training about serving patrons with special needs; library has a thriving volunteer program, utilizing the assistance of several people with disabilities; will offer support to patrons with staff as aids upon request

Naperville Public Library: offers a special needs storytime on Saturdays led by rotating group of youth service staff; young adults through a local agency/organization make visits to the library and volunteer to assist with library duties; leads library visits from special education classes; library staff have received training from local special education teachers

Niles Public Library: offers inclusive programming for children of all abilities; librarian uses sign language and signs during regular sessions of storytimes; outreach to local special education classrooms; wants to begin offering a special Sensory Storytime; has offered therapy dog programs for children of all abilities; hosts Reading Buddies inclusive program which pairs teen volunteers with pre- or beginning readers

Northbrook Public Library: houses a special "Autism Collection" of materials for professionals and parents wanting to learn more about autism; has regular library visits from local organization "Center on Deafness;" partners with Lekotek to provide Sensory Storytime; has offered an Open House program for families with children with special needs to visit the library before regular operating hours; will host the NSSED Parent Network Open House; staff have received Disability Awareness Training from JJ's List; offered a special sibling book discussion during Autism Awareness Month on the book Rules by Cynthia Lord; hosted parent workshops about special needs topics; looking to expand arts and craft programming for children with special needs

Oak Lawn Public Library: offers workshops to informed parents about resources for patrons with visual impairments; leads library visits from special education classes; does not offer a specific storytime designed for children with special needs, but has a more inclusive model and makes accommodations for patrons as needed; uses sign language in storytimes and other programs

Oak Park Public Library: Offers Sensory Storytime sessions; "This is My Library" social story available online and in print at the Children's Desk.

Palatine Public Library:

Park Ridge Public Library: offered Sensory Storytime on a monthly basis, but because of low attendance, now offers the program on a quarterly basis; developed a partnership with local agency "Have Dreams;" has a more inclusive program model offering music and movement programs for children of all abilities

Plainfield Public Library District: offers Sensory Storytime for children with special needs; utilizes sensory boxes; established a collaboration with special education district and parent group to inform programming and services

Poplar Creek Public Library District:

Schaumburg Public Library: offer a toy lending library with sensory and adapted toys; houses a special needs collection for parents and caregivers; has iPads in the library for child use; hosts a special Read to Rover dog program

Skokie Public Library: offers three monthly programs for children with special needs: Club Wonder for children ages 3 to 7 and their families through partnership with various special needs organizations, Rainbow (Animal Assisted) Therapy Time for children ages 7 to 12, and an inclusive social group named Friend Squad for teens ages 11-16. Hosts occasional parent workshops on special needs topics with child care; in partnership with Niles Township District for Special education hosts class visits, tween gaming, family nights, and an annual Spring Fling - a special stage performance for the entire student body; offers adapted and sensory toys for use in the Library; Zac Browser is installed on all computers in the Youth Computer Lab; houses a Special Needs Collection with Hi-Lo, Braille, and Boardmaker adapted books; downloadable "I Can Go to Skokie Public Library" social story for children to prepare for their visit, library video tour for parents and caregivers promoting library's services to patrons with special needs; has a dedicated space on the library's website with resources for children with special needs; past programs include Braille BuddiesCommunity Special Education NightKids Just Want to Have Fun and others.

Stickney-Forest View Public Library:

Tinley Park Public Library:

Vernon Area Public Library District: has worked with local special education classes and made visits to local schools; leads library tours and special storytimes for special education classes; has offered a book discussion program called Face-It serving young adults in a local detention center

Villa Park Public Library:


Warren Newport Public Library: offers a Sensory Storytime program once a month with sensory manipulatives and large group and individual schedules using Boardmaker software; learned from local special ed teacher how to incorporate MeMoves movement activities in library programs; hosts an unstructured program called Sensory Play Time, which was an idea that developed from a partnership with the local recreation center; wants to create a This is My Library social story and dedicate space on library website with resources for parents and caregivers; hoping to reach out to local special education classes and lead library and class visits; 

Warrenville Public Library: will be offering a multitude of programming for children with special needs; current projects in the works include a volunteer program to give assistance with behavioral support during library programs; sensory friendly film programs; outreach to special education classes; sibling support workshops; special library tours for families with children with special needs; will be collaborating with local organizations and businesses to provide programs with life skill training and experiences for children with special needs (ex. visits to local restaurants, hair dressers, etc.)

West Chicago Public Library District: partnership with DuPage Special Recreation Association for training for library staff; offers a volunteer program and utilizes the assistance of patrons with special needs; has offered job training classes for high school students with special needs

Wilmette Public Library: hosts Sensory Friendly movie screenings on school holidays based on the AMC model of sensory friendly films -- lights and sound are turned down and the kids are allowed to talk and move about; upon patron request, hires contractors to do additional performances for children with special needs, which require advanced registration and are limited to a low number of attendees in a more intimate, sensory-friendly environment; has hosted a one-hour special needs storytime led by local special education teacher; promotes special needs programs and services on library's social media outlets

Winnetka-Northfield Public Library:

2 comments:

  1. How can we become a "member" library?

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  2. Great question! If you are representing a public library in Illinois, simply attend one of our meetings. Information about our upcoming meeting schedule is on the "Meetings and Topics" tab above. If for any reason you cannot attend our next meeting, that's okay, too. We would love to still promote your library's programs and services to children and teens with special needs on our "Member Libraries" page. And please feel free to send an email to hjin@skokielibrary.info and ask to be added to the SNAILS Distribution list. We look forward to connecting with you!

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