Does Library School Education Prepare Librarians to be Actively Inclusive? Some Great Initiatives and Much Work Left to be Done!

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Panel presentations and discussion on the status of library education and training offered on ASD and related developmental disabilities.


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

Wei Gao is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UIUC.

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.

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.

Library School Education and Autism Spectrum Disorders 


Panel of Library Experts Share Strategies for Serving Patrons with ASD

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Lesley Farmer, Ph.D., author of Library Services for Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorders, ALA, 2013, and professor, California State University, Long Beach, College of Education.

Barbara Klipper has been training librarians on autism since 2006. She started the grant-funded Sensory Storytime program at The Ferguson Library in Stamford, CT in 2009. Barbara is the author of Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ALA, 2014.  Barbara welcomes your questions.  She can be reached at: barbara@klipper.us

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, is a virtual campaign designed to make patrons with ASD more comfortable and successful in their interactions with libraries.

 Presentation  on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum

Joel Gershenfeld / WayMark Systems Jumpstarts the Conversation

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Joel Gershenfeld, co-founder of WayMark Systems sets the forum in motion, getting the group to focus on session goals and how to make the two day session a great success.

Part I

Part II

Notes from the group discussion are available here

Adria Nassim on Living with ASD and the Importance of Libraries and Community Support

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Adria Nassim, ASD advocate and consultant helps forum participants understand what growing up with ASD has been like for her and the opportunity and responsibility libraries and communities have to improve the quality of life for special needs populations.  In reference to the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” Adria ends her talk with the question “Who’s village are you here to build”?

Adria Nassim’s presentation at the March Forum

Russ Bonanno Gives an Inspirational Keynote Address at the Forum

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Targeting Autism Keynote Address

Russ Bonanno, Program Manager, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) challenges us to reflect on why we are here.  After reading numerous library mission statements, Russ observes that “…libraries exist to serve everyone in their communities…”  He also reminds us that by working together we can accomplish great things.

Why Wait For the Forum to Start the Conversation?

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Let us know what’s on your mind.  Tweet us at #TargetingAutism Let’s jumpstart the Forum!

Important Reminder About ASD Survey!!

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Thank you to everyone who has taken and promoted the ASD survey instrument.  If you have not done so, there is still time left.  If you live in Illinois and have a personal and/or professional stake in ASD,  your voice will make a difference.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand your needs, priorities, and interests around ASD in order to guide the development and delivery of ASD information services by community libraries across the state. Please share the survey with your patrons, friends and all Illinois residents who have been personally or professionally  affected by ASD.

The survey is available in English and Spanish and can be reached through the following link:   


 Your participation in the survey is voluntary and all responses will be kept confidential — only combined responses will be reported.  The results will be presented at a state-wide summit session in March and they will be distributed broadly, including to people who have responded to this request.