Reaching Out: Library Services to the Developmentally Disabled

 

 

 

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The desire to share what we learn with others is an integral part of our culture. Many Americans relish opportunities to discuss the latest book they just read or movie they just watched, but there is a segment of our population that has limited opportunities to do that. These individuals also are at high risk for unemployment and have a higher rate of poverty than the rest of the population. They are the developmentally disabled, who are often on waiting lists for any type of educational activity once they become adults.

 

The public library can be a place for this group to continue pursuing their natural desire to learn, experience stories, and share opinions and feelings. The Johnson County (Kans.) Library in suburban Kansas City has a long history of serving this population, winning an award in 2006 from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), for services to the disabled population.2 In this article, we share three examples of programs that have been well received by this population: (1) a film discussion program, (2) a craft program called “Create!” and (3) a partnership with the local county agency that serves the developmentally disabled. All of these programs were created by frontline staff through conversations with agency personnel that provide services to the disabled. Click here or click the pic to learn more.

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