About

Background

The Illinois State Library was awarded two grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help libraries better serve patrons and family members impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Phase I, Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum received funding through an IMLS National Leadership Grant. Through two stakeholder forums, this phase of the project – was designed to explore how libraries can work with diverse community organizations and programs to increase their role in supporting patrons and family members impacted by ASD.

Phase II of the project, now underway – Targeting Autism: A Comprehensive Training and Education Program for Librarians is funded through an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to develop and deliver innovative, multi-faceted and replicable training programs designed to improve library services and programs for ASD communities in Illinois and the country.

For more information, visit the Targeting Autism web page.

Intent of the Targeting Autism Weblog:

  1. to provide an online discussion platform to support librarians who serve their diverse community. The blog offers an online place to exchange ideas and to share expertise and resources.
  2. to be informed about all “Targeting Autism” grant-related activities, through ongoing updates.
  3. to provide a central site for those not attending the forums to contribute ideas to share with forum participants.
  4. to provide Illinois libraries with a platform to share ASD related events and programs statewide.

Targeting Autism Board Member Bios

Russell J. Bonanno, M.Ed, Program Director of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP), providing services and supports throughout Illinois, for children and families affected by ASD.  Mr. Bonanno is an experienced clinician who was the director of a community mental health center for two rural counties, as well as a caseworker and child welfare manager for two different rural counties.

Nancy Everhart, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Florida State University, College of Communication and Information, and director of the school library media program and the Partnerships Advancing Library Media (PALM) Center.  Dr. Everhart is co-director of a two year IMLS funded program, Panhandle Autism Library Services (PALS) to improve information services for rural patrons who have an ASD.

Patrice Foerster, Doctoral Candidate, Disability and Equity in Education Program, National Louis University, former librarian and special education teacher, Chicago Public Schools.

Sujin Huggins, Ph.D., Professor, Library and Information Science, Dominican University.

Barbara Klipper, ASD advocate, library consultant and author of “Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” ALA Editions, 2014.  Barbara also established the “Autism Welcome Here” small grant program for libraries.

Greg McCormick, Acting Deputy Director, Illinois State Library

Adria Nassim, Autism advocate and freelance columnist at Bloomington Herald & Times Group.

Mary Pelich, Autism Consultant and Trainer, Targeting Autism, Phase II, Illinois State Library.

Suzanne Schriar, Associate Director, Library Automation & Technology, Illinois State Library, and Targeting Autism Project Director.

Ruth Small, Ph.D., Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Information Studies at Syracuse University, founding director of Syracuse University’s Center for Digital Literacy, and director of Project Enable (Expanding Non-Discriminatory Access By Librarians Everywhere), a three time IMLS funded Laura Bush 21st Century Grant recipient that began in 2010 as a collaborative project of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, Center for Literacy, and Burton Blatt Institute.  Originally conceived as a high quality, comprehensive, train-the-trainer continuing education program for school librarians in New York State to deliver effective library and information services to students with disabilities, the scope of Project Enable has expanded to include training to public, school, and academic librarians, nationwide.

Debra Vines, Founder/Executive Director of The Answer, Autism Awareness and Support Agency, since 2007.

Dan Weiss, Director of Fanwood Public Library, co-developer of Libraries and Autism:  We’re Connected, which began in 2008 with the support of IMLS grant funds.