Reaching Every Patron: Creating and Presenting Inclusive Outreach to Patrons of all Abilities

“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people - people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

― E.B. White

Every library can serve as a places for people to find encouragement, comfort and books that serve as good company. Unfortunately, patrons with special needs often don't feel welcome in these spaces and can have trouble relating to libraries where their needs are not met. This course will discuss methods for reaching patrons with special needs in your community and how to help staff and your community create an inclusive environment. This course will also provide tools for defining your success when doing outreach to patrons of all abilities. Students will leave this course with a set of tools that can be used to establish outreach in their communities, create their own unique outreach programs and assist staff in working with patrons with special needs.

Learning Outcomes

Introductions and discussions about assessing which population your library wants to create inclusive and accessible programming.

By using the knowledge you already have about your community, students will explore the various organizations or groups that they would like to work with to create effective outreach programming for patrons with special needs. They will select one and discuss how to create a partnership.

Understanding the types of outreach and how to determine which is best for you, your library and your targeted population.

Students will present their outreach plans via the discussion boards and discuss each other’s plan. We will conclude this course with structured and well-articulated takeaways that can be practically applied to help define your program’s success.


Jordan Boaz is the Children’s Librarian for the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, a branch of New York Public Library. She regularly plans innovative, inclusive programming and outreach for youth with a wide variety of disabilities. She is an active member of the ALSC Committee For Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers as well as the NYPL Programming for Children with Special Needs Committee.


How to Register

  • Online
  • By Fax: download, complete, and fax form (PDF format) to (312) 280-1538
  • By Mail: download, complete, and mail form (PDF format) to American Library Association, ATTN: MACS/Online CE Registration, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611


1.1 CEU credits will be issued to all participants who complete the coursework.


Questions about your registration should be directed to Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Andrea Hill, RUSA Web Manager, at

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!