For immediate release | September 23, 2013

How to include families of children with special needs

CHICAGO — More than 6.5 million children in the US receive special education services; in any given community, approximately one child out of every six will get speech therapy, go to counseling, attend classes exclusively with other children with disabilities or receive some other service that allows him or her to learn. The new revised edition of “Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” is a step-by-step guide to serving children and youth with disabilities as well as the family members, caregivers and other people involved in their lives. Authors Carrie Scott Banks, Sandra Feinberg, Barbara A. Jordan, Kathleen Deerr and Michelle Langa show how staff can enable full use of the library’s resources by integrating the methods of educators, medical and psychological therapists, social workers, librarians, parents and other caregivers. Widening the scope to address the needs of teens as well as preschool and school-age children, this edition also discusses the needs of Spanish-speaking children with disabilities and their families, looking at cultural competency as well as Spanish-language resources. Enhanced with checklists, stories based on real experiences, descriptions of model programs and resources and an overview of appropriate internet sites and services, this how-to gives thorough consideration to:

  • partnering and collaborating with parents and other professionals;
  • developing special collections and resources;
  • assessing competencies and skills;
  • principles underlying family-centered services and resource-based practices;
  • the interrelationship of early intervention, special education and library service.

Banks has been the director of Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs since 1997. She serves on BPL’s Children’s Steering Committee and on the Universal Access Community of Interest, which is part of Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA). Her articles have appeared in Children and Libraries, and she is the author of a chapter about The Child’s Place for the book “From Outreach to Equity.” In 2000, she received New York University’s Samuel and May Rudin Award for Community Services for her work with the disability community. In 2010, she received the Sloan Public Service Award and, in 2012, she was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker.

Jordan served as assistant director for Grants and Special Projects and head of Parenting and Clearinghouse Services at Middle Country Public Library (Centereach, N.Y.) during her long tenure at the library. She developed a comprehensive multimedia resource center for parents and professionals and coordinated the Community Resource Database of Long Island, an online directory of health and human services for the Long Island region. She administered the Partners for Inclusion Project at Middle Country, a project aimed at improving opportunities for the inclusion of children with disabilities in community settings. She is co-author of several books, including “Audiovisual Resources for Family Programming,” “A Family Child Care Provider’s Guide to New York’s Early Intervention Program,” and “The Family-Centered Library Handbook.”

Feinberg has devoted the past 40 years to public library service and, since 1991, has served as the director of the Middle Country Public Library, the largest and busiest public library on Long Island (NY). In 1979, she created the Parent/Child Workshop, a unique program that welcomes parents and children as young as one year into the library and integrates community resource professionals within the delivery of library services. This program has gone on to be replicated nationally as part of Family Place Libraries™. She has received numerous awards, including the 2007 Public Library Association Charlie Robinson Award. She is the author of numerous articles and books.

Deerr has been working with children and families in public libraries for the past three decades. For the past 10 years she has served as the national Family Place Libraries™ coordinator. During that time, the number of libraries in the Family Places network has tripled. She has developed many innovative, interdisciplinary programs that focus on parent-child interactions and has administered programs such as the Partners for Inclusion Project, Reach Out and Read, and the Parent Child Home Program. She has served as guest lecturer at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science and is the co-author of the books “Running a Parent/Child Workshop: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” and “The Family-Centered Library Handbook.”

Langa is an educator with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of special education. In the past, she held several administrative positions as the director of different agencies serving children with special needs, the director of special education for a large school district and the director of a multisite preschool and child care center. As a consultant, she has developed three training curricula (one with Feinberg and Jordan) for New York State’s Early Intervention program, one of which was developed in collaboration with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She has also published a number of online articles for LRPNET and Parenthoodweb. com as well as articles for clinical journals.

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Related Links

"Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians, Revised Edition"

"Library Services for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders"

"The Family-Centered Library Handbook"


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