Targeting Autism Forum Survey for School Librarians

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Participants of the Targeting Autism Forum developed a short survey to gather information that will serve to help school libraries address the needs of students with ASD. If you are a school librarian, please take the survey. If you know any school librarians, please share the survey link.

Assisting students with ASD is an increasingly important issue. We rely on input from all ASD stakeholders, including school librarians, to support our advocacy efforts and to pursue additional grant funding.

We need to hear from you! Please take and/or share the survey link:


ASD Training and Consulting Opportunities Available for Libraries!!

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From October, 2015 through September, 2016 as part of the Targeting Autism grant project, Russ Bonanno, project partner and Director, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) is available to schedule a limited number of consulting and training opportunities for interested libraries.

russ bonnanoServices include:

  1. providing on-site introductory level training sessions in the understanding of autism;
  2. consulting and providing technical assistance in developing needs assessments related to autism; and
  3. consulting and providing technical assistance in developing programs or evaluating modifications to better meet the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

This is a great opportunity for librarians and all public services library employees to receive expert consulting services and training at no charge!  To get on the schedule and ensure a session at your library, contact Russ Bonanno at your earliest convenience.

AUTISM WELCOME HERE: Library Programs, Services and More Grant

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Library Programs, Services and More Grant

Applications are now being accepted online
Submission deadline is December 1, 2015

For more information and details about this unique grant opportunity please see:

Each year, a total of $5,000.00 will be awarded. Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts may be awarded.

Any type of library can apply, and the proposal can fund projects and services for any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an already existing, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance a program or service they already offer. All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly. Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.

Applications will be judged on the basis of:

  • The project is clearly described and well thought out.
  • There is institutional support for the program or service.
  • People with autism, family members or other community stakeholders are involved in the
    development and/or implementation of the project.
  • The program is one that would be replicable in other communities.
  • The program or service is based on an understanding of the needs of people with autism
    and/or best practices in working with this population.
  • The service or program will be sustainable after the end of the grant period.

Please direct any questions to Barbara Klipper:

Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected is honored and excited to be sponsoring this new grant opportunity that honors the groundbreaking work of Libraries and Autism co-founder Meg Kolaya for her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.

This grant is an outcome of the Illinois State Library’s broad and ambitious project, Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum. The grant is funded by Barbara Klipper, retired librarian, consultant and trainer, and the author of two important books, Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014) and The Secret Rules of Social Networking (AAPC Publishing, 2015).

New dates set for Targeting Autism Forum — March 10-11, 2016

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The new dates for the second Targeting Autism Forum has officially been set for Thursday, March 10 through Friday, March 11, 2016.  The lack of a state budget remains challenging for Illinois, as we continue to wait for a resolution.  We appreciate your understanding and hope that you take advantage of the additional time to collaborate with autism services providers and various community stakeholders.   Direct your attention to the outside community and refer to these questions as a starting point:

  1.  Who are the autism stakeholders in my community?
  2.  What services are provided for individuals and family members impacted by autism?
  3.  What is the demographic makeup of  those residents with autism in my community?
  4.  How can I help my community library to become a conduit to local support services and resources?
  5.  How extensive are the autism education/training needs of librarians and public services staff?
  6.  What does my library currently do to support the patron population impacted by autism?  Is it enough?
  7.  What can I do to ensure that my library is welcoming to residents with autism?

Finally, please share your stories, both positive and negative, using the ‘Contact’ section of this blog.  All stories pertaining to patrons/families impacted by autism and their library experiences are important to the continuation of the Targeting Autism initiative.  Please show  your support by staying connected and keeping the momentum up!

I look forward to seeing you in Springfield, IL, for the March forum!

Libraries and Autism: Why It Matters!

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On Thursday, September 24, 2015, 1:30-3:00pm (CST) Russ Bonanno, Director, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) and I will present a webinar, titled, Libraries and Autism: Why It Matters!  Registration information is available on the L2 calendar of events.

Description:  Libraries play a number of roles within their communities, which leaves them uniquely positioned to provide resources and services that can greatly benefit community members with autism spectrum disorder and their friends and families. This webinar will introduce the Targeting Autism project spearheaded by the Illinois State Library and funded by a grant from IMLS. Beginning with a brief overview of autism and how it may impact libraries and library staff, the presenters will discuss the rationale behind this project, future project plans, and how libraries can benefit from their involvement in this project.

This webinar is hosted by the RAILS Library System and is included as part of ADA 25 Chicago series of webinars developed to commemorate this year’s 25th anniversary of ADA.


Targeting Autism September Forum Postponed Until March, 2016

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August has arrived and there is still no state budget in Illinois.  Although the Targeting Autism Project is funded by IMLS, the Illinois State Library has no authority to spend funds until an Illinois budget is approved.

Please understand that the Illinois State Library remains strongly committed to the Targeting Autism Project and to all initiatives that assist libraries in becoming more welcoming to the ASD community.  In addition, the State Library has been granted a project extension from IMLS, which enables us to postpone the Targeting Autism Forum until March, 2016.   The exact dates for the two-day forum will be announced once we can coordinate and confirm some of the meeting details.

Thank you for your patience and support during these challenging times.

Illinois State Budget Delay Could Postpone Targeting Autism Forum — Stay Tuned!

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The upcoming Targeting Autism forum, September 3-4, may need to be rescheduled due to the delay in approving the fiscal 2016 Illinois state budget.  Essentially, the Illinois State Library will not have the authority to make expenditures for fiscal year 2016 until a state budget is approved. 

If no budget is in place by August 1st, the forum will be rescheduled.  We are committed to the success of this program; and should we need to reschedule the forum, every attempt will be made to accommodate the schedule needs of our participants. 

In the meantime, I will keep you updated on any developments that impact the forum.  Thank you for your support and patience.