Friday, January 08, 2016

Inclusive Programming for Adults with Developmental Disorders

Contra Costa Library has an Inclusive Library Plan which consists of

*Accessible Library Products and Services (Products included Assistive Technology and the collection) and services are inclusive public programs and outreach.)

*Library Insiders Program-monthly programs for adults with developmental disabilities

*Summer Reading (all ages/abilities)

People of all abilities can participate in library services and activities. Bringing people and ideas together: Improving access for people with disabilities means improved access for all. This is done through their accessibility committee. They provide training for staff and discuss accessibility concerns and issues, working to make sure the library is ADA compliant.

What is Inclusion: Importance of Attitude of Staff:
  • Encourage people of all abilities to feel comfortable and confident using the library.
  • Staff work to present programs that provide a variety of opportunities for learning for everyone.

Equality doesn’t mean justice. “Sometimes equality means treating people the same despite their differences. Sometimes it means treating them as equal by accommodating their differences.” (Rosalie Silberman Abella-Canadian Supreme Court Justice)

It requires creativity thinking and flexibility to work to make all feel welcome. Contra Costa County Library started a program for adults with developmental disabilities because they saw adults from group living homes coming into the library unsure of how to engage in the library. They began with tours and instruction on how to use the library and expanded to a variety of opportunities to learn from community experts on a variety of topics.This program came to be called the Insiders Program because participants talked about how they felt they had moved from being an “outsider” at the library to being an “insider”, someone who belonged. CCC Library defines a library insider as someone who feels at ease navigating the library, who approaches the desk with a question or comment, and who uses resources and/or attends programs as a library user. Libraries have an opportunity and a responsibility to provide opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to help them not feel intimidated by using the library but to feel that they belong and can participate along with everyone else.

How to Get Started with Inclusive Services for Adults

*Do you have community-based groups visiting your library? If so introduce yourself to groups or individuals already in your library and see how can be of service. Is there a desire to learn more about and interact more with the library? How can you connect? Remember that Saint Paul Public Library is becoming a Next Chapter Book Club affiliate and there is an upcoming training if you would like to be trained as a facilitator or be able to train a volunteer to be a facilitator (get your supervisor’s permission to attend the training).

*Call local city/county adult community based organizations (Arc Greater Twin Cities, Lifeworks, group homes, Adaptive Recreation, Community Education programs for Adults with Special Needs , etc.) to see whether would like a library tour.

Types of Programs:

Noelle and Gina recommend that in terms of programming you do what works for your library on whatever level you can. In some cases, this could be providing a space for an activity/meeting that is being overseen by an outside group or if possible providing a space for a visiting group to take a break, eat a snack, etc.

*Offer programs that encourage adults with developmental disabilities to feel comfortable and confident using all resources in the public library. Contra Costa County Library found that after they offered adults from a day program a tour and scavenger hunt which showed them how to use the library, that the groups coming in were more engaged and would greet staff, interact, and use library resources.

-Behind the Scenes Library Tour (Show the library, all the types of materials available, how check in /out, introduce to as many staff as can)

-Scavenger hunt (explore the library, learn how to find different types of materials. One part of the scavenger hunt is going to one of the service desks and having staff tell a joke. CCC Library prepared staff ahead of time so knew about hunt, what questions were, had a list of jokes they could tell. Click here for handouts.)

-Special Library Resources: show special collections, tell about any museum passes or other programs that might be of interest, may want to build a collection with materials on life skills for this audience.

-Library technology and computer tutorials: In 2013 CCC Library received a grant to purchase iPads and they installed apps geared towards developing life skills. The apps were geared towards adults (some teen-related) and covered the areas of career skills, money, reading skills that they found through the Attainment Company and also free art apps for drawing or creative projects. They have 10 iPads that they use during group activities and can share for use with other library programs. You can e-mail Noelle Burch ( to get a list of the apps they purchased.

-Summer Reading Records (click here for handouts)-Created Summer Reading Records for an Adult Summer Reading program with activities that could be done by all including: visit the library, ask a librarian a question, listen to music or books, read or spend time with a book or magazine, watch a movie, write or draw a picture about your summer. Allow participants to review a book or activity to be entered for prizes.

-Volunteering: Volunteering benefits the library and helps individuals develop career and life skills. It can be done through group or individual volunteering and it is a basic way to begin creating an inclusive environment.

*Programs that provide a variety of opportunities for lifelong learning

Partners: Agencies and presenters could include police and fire departments, city parks and recreation department, local rangers, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, friends and library foundation. CCC Library was able to get mostly free programs for their Insiders group by working with community partners.

Topics could include:
-Safety and Health
Types of programs CCC Library has done include:

*Fire Safety: The Fire Department did a program on cooking safety and the library purchased oven mitts to give out.

*Personal Safety: The Police Department presented this program. This is a very important topic to help people learn about stranger danger, being taken advantage of, who is safe to interact with.

*Doctors from the local hospital visited and presented advice on health, safety, how to know when you are sick.

*American Heart Association presented on health, safety, and how to know when you are sick.

*Reading Therapy Dogs and Guide Dogs for the Blind-Therapy dogs were brought in that the Insiders group could talk to, pet, read with.

*Local Businesses (Yoga, Nutritionists, etc.) The Insiders group loves learning about new topics and getting information.

-Local Environment (can reach out to non-profits)
*Park Rangers
*Local Wildlife Rehabilitation Organizations
*Drought Awareness
*Lapidary Society

-Creativity and Expression
*Music and Dance: local musicians, dance parties, karaoke, library inclusive music kit (purchased drums, various instruments that could also be used for other programs)

*Crafting and Art: collages, beading (think about motor skills and may want to purchase bigger beads, larger strings for greater ease, coloring (did whole hour of coloring and it was very popular), water coloring (offered this through Parks and Rec).

-Career Development

*Could invite Goodwill Easter Seals or another organization, local HR department (from college or business) to talk about resumes, employment skills

*Host career fair in person or virtual

*Could ask professionals or volunteers in to help with informational interviews/practice interviews

*Could design classes on soft skills and use some ideas from Skills to Pay the Bills

-Current holidays and events

*Veterans Day: CCL Library’s Insider’s Group talked about wars and veterans and wrote thank-you cards to veterans which they gave to a local National Guard unit to deliver to veterans and they were invited to tour the National Guard unit to see its resources.

*Martin Luther King Jr. Day: The Insiders talked about civil rights, listened to the "I Have a Dream" speech and had a chance to write or draw about a dream and ended up having a discussion of their civil rights.

*Valentine’s Day: The Insiders made Valentines for friends and each other.

*Holiday Season (making gifts): Insiders made simple crafts and ornaments and had help making gifts for friends.

What kind of programs could you offer?

*Maybe contact Parks and Rec, DNR?
*Contact local businesses to see what topics could talk about
*Contact banks to see if could talk about money skills, management, saving, etc.
*Universities, League of Women Voters

Frequency of Programs and Scheduling:

*When working with local adult organizations it is helpful to determine a set schedule for programs and to share this schedule with your partner groups.

*Most programs meet on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. CCC Library found that early afternoon is the most popular time for their programs.

*Programs are publically promoted. CCC Library publicizes their Insiders and other events as “all are welcome to attend and that programs are geared towards adults with developmental disabilities.” Sometimes have multi age and multi-ability, but mostly members of the Insiders group attend.

*When arrange for presenters, let them know that the audience will be mostly adults with developmental disabilities and have found all their presenters to be friendly and able to accommodate needs, modify presentation. For the therapy dog session, CCC Library requested very friendly dogs for the program to help with participants who may feel shy around animals.

Staff Cooperation:

*Communication: Explain the importance of including everyone, share program feedback, foster introductions and relationships with staff and Insiders, get everyone involved.

*Once CCC Library staff got project started, staff were very welcoming.  Most difficult change was changing srp program reading record, but were able to convince staff that this allowed them to offer library services and literacy to more people.

Nothing About Us Without Us:
*Programs at CCC Library wouldn’t be possible without constant feedback from their participants. They always seek opinions and get honest, friendly feedback. Some programs will end up being more popular than others.

*Insiders presented alongside CCC Librarians on a panel about programming for adults with developmental disabilities. Participants were able to take part and give feedback.


*Participants report that they use the library more, feel comfortable asking questions of library staff, and are now attending a variety of library programs.

*Library Insiders gain independent public skills and are equipped to navigate most public library resources/services.

*Staff appreciate the kindness and positive interactions received from Library Insiders.


Erin Zolotukhin-Ridgway, George Latimer Central (

Monday, January 04, 2016

Sensory Integration: Recognizing and Responding to Young Children with Sensory Issues

What is Sensory Integration?  It’s the neurological process of organizing sensory inputs for function in life. The brain takes in sensory information (sound, touch, etc.) and sends signals to the body on how to respond.

Did you know that we really have 7 senses? You’ll notice there are two extra ones here in addition to the ones we learn in school-body position (also known as proprioceptive-your sense of your body position in space) and balance (also known as vestibular-affects balance and movement).  Your vestibular sense is based in your inner ear and it tells your brain that your body is moving. Your proprioceptive sense is brought in through joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons and gives your brain the position of where your body is in space (can you touch your nose with your eyes closed?) .

Sensory Processing Disorder is a neurological problem with sensory integration. A person is unable to respond effectively to inputs from one or more senses to the point where daily life activities are impacted. For example, problems with proprioception can cause difficulties with learning how to type, holding scissors, because of needing to be able to sense where one’s hands are without looking. Everyone has some sensory problems, but it is when it causes problems with daily living that it is considered a sensory processing disorder or SPD.

It is estimated that 1 in 20 have a sensory processing disorder and they may or may not have another diagnosis. 90% of people diagnosed with Autism have sensory processing disorders. The exact cause of sensory processing disorders is unknown although genetic and environmental factors are suspected and the speaker mentioned that babies born prematurely or to parents addicted to drugs/alcohol may be more likely to have sensory processing disorders.

Kids need to coordinate all 7 senses for success. Sensory processing disorders can lead to problems with coordination, attention, handwriting, use of scissors, having a too high or too low activity level, self care problems (feeding, dressing, etc), low self esteem (noticing that you are different), poor social interaction, being over or under sensitive to outside stimuli.

2 Categories of Sensory Seekers Most Commonly Seen:

Sensory Avoiders:  These kids are oversensitive to one or more stimuli. Their brain responds too much to sensory stimuli and sends messages of pain or danger. This can cause a child who is being touched or bumped lightly to feel like they are being hit and may respond with a fight-or-flight reaction if they are tactilely defensive or they may perceive sounds as too loud or lights as too bright, be overwhelmed by smells or movement. Sensory avoiders may try to talk their way out of situations they perceive as potentially dangerous or painful like going out on the playground which could be perceived as a place that is too loud, too much movement, unpleasant tactile sensations, etc.

Sensory Seekers: Their brain and body craves more stimuli. These kids’ sensory systems are under receptive to sensory stimuli and may need more input to feel regulated. They may need crashing and spinning activities or other sensory stimuli like swinging and may never seem to get enough of these activities.

Kids can be both sensory-seeking and sensory-avoiding in different areas, but not in the same area.

Sensory needs can vary throughout the day and from day to day. It is possible to have difficulties in more than one input.

Vestibular seeker (Needing movement and balance input): Brain says need more movement. Unable to sit still. Often in constant motion. Wiggle, sway, pace. May take safety risks, impulsive, run instead of walk. Can look like ADHD.

Tactile avoider: Brain says “ouch” to common experiences. Light or unexpected touch can result in screaming, biting, crying, running away as it can feel like a much greater impact than the person doing the touch intended. Kids who experience tactile avoidance may not want to hug, hold hands, may not enjoy getting messy, and can be a picky eater.

How can teachers, caregivers, those working with children help?

*Be Sensory Aware. Have new eyes about how you see challenging behaviors and what could be behind the fear, the reaction.

*Respect children’s emotions.

*Consider changing the environment and sensory inputs:

For a Vestibular seeker:

*Offer movement experiences like large motor activities that can be offered inside or outside. Breaking up quiet activities with large motor activities can help with learning and sensory needs. Some ways to do this include a mini tramp, balance beam, mat, etc.

An example of an activity could be to have different stations that kids could move to and from so as not to have to stand still too long. One could be for dress up which is another form of active play.

Some other ways to help a vestibular seeker are to offer different ways to participate like being able to stand or sit in a rocking chair, on a ball, on a pillow which can help give a sense of boundaries and also help them engage their bodies and minds more easily.

Tactile Avoiders:

*Don’t force a child to touch

*Tell the child when touch will occur.

*Prevent unexpected touch when possible by allowing the child to be a line leader or to follow after another child and/or sitting next to an adult

*Let the child build trust and initiate touch so he/she can have control.

*Look for other ways to participate in learning. Offer tools that can help with this (wearing gloves for finger painting, for example or using chopsticks or tongs) Offer the option to watch first and touch later.

Quiet Centers: Can be helpful to set up a quiet center or calming corner to go when kids are feeling overwhelmed.

Finding resources: Sensorimotor integration, Sensory processing are keywords that will help find books in our catalog that may be useful. Just using “sensory” on its own can bring up titles too although you may have to sift out some you don’t want.

Other ideas are to consult with parents, occupational therapists at pediatric/youth clinics, school special education and/or OT specialists, advocacy groups.

Erin Zolotukhin-Ridgway, George Latimer Central (

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Wednesday, October 27:  I focused on the Opening Keynote Panel, and sessions on IFLA, Tech Trends, Social Media Strategies and Leadership Lessons.

Opening Keynote Panel:  Trends In Tech Biz—Jean-Claude Monney—Global KM Lead Microsoft (What can we learn from the Technology & Business?)
Knowledge is the world’s most precious renewable resource.  However, the time of knowledge heroes is gone.  We’ve entered an age of collaboration and sharing—we should encourage knowledge sharing & knowledge reuse.  Microsoft Services Knowledge Transfer Study:  Collaborate --> Capture -->Codify  --> Cultivate --Champion -->Consume (this pattern repeats).

New Technologies:
  • A Digital Knowledge Assistant (Cortana) will be replaced by an Intelligent Digital Knowledge Assistant—Project GigJam (Cortana + Office + email + Outlook + live share +)
  • HoloLens (a way to combine knowledge creation, collaboration, and exploration)
  • Skype Translate (a way to address the world’s collective knowledge and allow for live interaction in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin)—web translators uses machine learning

Library Trends From IFLA—Donna Scheeder President of Library Strategies International & International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
Trends Report  “Riding the Wave Or Caught In the Tide”
Consider this report a call to action.  We need to prepare people, institutions, and both national and international policies.  

Trends that libraries need to be aware of:
  • The new technologies will create an even larger digital divide.  
  • Increased free online learning sessions (including higher education classes) will flourish.
  • The boundaries of data protection and privacy will be redefined.  See also Library Freedom Project.

Technology Trends:  Not Your Grandmother’s Web—Stephen Abram
The presenter’s predictions for technology of the not-too-distant future, perhaps 15 years.
  • The internet browser is declining rapidly, and becoming more machine based.  At the moment, we use mobile devices, but as WE are mobile, it will make more sense to have technology embedded for more movement (batteries that recharge via your bloodstream, technology carried in watches/belts/underwear.)
  • Beacons—A technology that allows mobile apps to recognize when an iPhone is near a small wireless sensor called a beacon which transmits data.  Combining this technology with an interactive mesh web (a 3D map), we will be able to “beaconize” areas in libraries and other buildings.  An ideal technology for travelers or someone new to an area.
  • hitchBOTs may be more prevalent.
  • Smart cameras will improve facial recognition.
  • Empathy machines will modify their behaviors to match interactions.

Social Media Strategies for Advocacy—PC Sweeney  
Any library initiative anywhere matters to every library everywhere.

Politicians will respond to (1) people and (2) money.  Libraries can use social media to raise awareness to situation.  Email & Facebook are most significant resources.

EveryLibrary uses OrangeBoy, a Customer Intelligence company.  OrangeBoy includes an event management system, a crowdfunding system, a volunteer management system, surveys & polling systems, email management and a GIS platform.

OrangeBoy does not make any private records public, but it aggregates self-created social media entries—email, Facebook reports, tweets—and fills in full profile details which are automatically updated.  Individuals have the option to accept emails promoting library events or fundraising activities.

It is secure.  There is no connection to the ILS, no connection to the library card, no connection to the amount of time spent on public internet stations or the sites that were searched.

Leadership Lessons & Strategies—Rebecca Raven, Frank Cervone, Rudy Leon and Ben Bizzle  Panel shared their personal leadership lessons & offered techniques to help staff grow into leadership positions.   Do you want to create a sphere of influence or a sphere of control?  When do you stop listening and start implementing?  Think of leadership more as a responsibility not authority.  Leaders work with people—managers work with processes.  Know what you don’t know and trust the surrounding people to know their jobs.  Power that comes with leadership can become dangerous.  Get out of the fiefdom sort of mentality—it’s not about you and it’s not “your” library.  Always adapt to the new direction, even if you’re not buying into it.  You can’t fight the altitude sometimes.  

Closing Keynote:  the Future of Libraries—Kim Bui-Burton & Susan Hildreth
The public good is dead—focus on the public value instead.  We remain the traditional place to be welcomed.  Focus on the uniqueness of what a library can do.  We have no agenda like teachers or social workers.  We meet the lifelong learner where they are, without prejudice or judgment.  See also BiblioTech:  Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey to get more ideas the role libraries can and should play in the 21st century.

Internet Librarian Action Item ideas:
  • Collaborate to a Twitter Poetry Spine challenge—based on football / baseball rivalry
  • Use Tineye to see who is using SPPL photos and logos
  • Does SPPL want to have a wiki specialist on staff?
  • Does SPPL want to collaborate with the Loft, the Friends, and/or the U of MN to support local creative programs to publish our own eBook?
  • What are staff doing to learn IT-ese?  
  • Only 60% of the people know we offer eBooks & audiobooks.  
  • 94% of responders would support services and programs offered for active military personnel and veterans.
  • Offer programs and events on protecting privacy and identity theft
  • Marketing opportunity:  blogger moms in the community
  • Purchase/create device charging kits for every branch
  • Marketing opportunity:  March madness with required reading lists
  • Create virtual HELP buttons on public internet & catalog terminals
  • Offer concierge services at the Library desk—calling for cabs, stamps, envelopes
  • See the Library Freedom Project for how to conduct classes on privacy.
  • Marketing opportunity:  get email addresses from the public whenever possible, and spend money to place ads on Facebook.  

--Jodi @Hayden Heights