*Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More is a grant program that was conceived by Barbara Klipper, librarian and author, at the session at the March 2015 Targeting Autism Forum in Springfield, IL. According to Barbara, “…It was during a breakout session, when attendees met in groups based on geographic proximity. I was assisting the organizers, moving from group to group and facilitating discussions about what local libraries could do to bring stakeholders together and begin to serve people with ASD. As I circulated I heard the same refrain from several participants. It went something like this: ‘I’d love to do something, but my library is so small (underfunded, understaffed) that we just don’t have the resources to take this on’…”
Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More will fund $5000 a year for 5 years. Barbara Klipper’s generosity and commitment to this important cause has been hugely successful, but the need for more funding is evident.
An overwhelming 57 grant applications were received from multitype libraries from many states across the U.S., including: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Successful applicant(s) will be selected by committee over the next couple of months.
For me, the most gratifying part of the Targeting Autism project has been this amazing network of people, like Barbara and so many others, who each day, work hard to make a difference in the lives of all those who are affected by ASD.
*Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More honors Meg Kolaya, a pioneer in the area of library service to people with autism and co-founder of Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected.