The Targeting Autism Project is an initiative aimed at helping libraries work with various community stakeholders to help improve the quality of lives for residents affected by autism. As librarians, we need to learn about our diverse populations in order to provide appropriate library programming and services. Because autism is often characterized by invisible disabilities, librarians are dependent on knowledge gained from experts and advocates. Libraries cannot succeed at being inclusive of the ASD population without additional training and education.
Libraries need to partner with a wide variety of community groups, social service providers, educators, clinicians, and autism advocates to become skilled as community hubs to local resources, and ultimately, to play an important role in improving the quality of so many lives.
So where do we begin? Our first step is to learn about our community.
At the September Forum, we are asking participants to share what they’ve learned about their ASD and community services and needs. These questions provide a starting point:
1. Who are the stakeholders?
2. What services are provided in my community?
3. What types of support is needed?
4. What are the demographics of the ASD population?
5. What do the libraries need to do to be a conduit to local resources?
6. What types of training opportunities are available for staff?
7. What can I do to make my libraries more welcoming to the ASD community?