Library programming for autistic children and teens

For Immediate Release
Wed, 05/05/2021


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — Those who understand the unique characteristics of autistic young people know that ordinary library programming guides are not up to the task of effectively serving these library users. The new second edition of “Library Programming for Autistic Children and Teens,” published by ALA Editions, provides key information, updated program ideas, and practical tips that will help library workers feel more prepared to serve members of this prevalent population. Well qualified to speak to this area, author Amelia Anderson is an educator, library researcher, and former public librarian who has helped develop two IMLS funded initiatives that train library workers to better understand and serve autistic patrons. Here, building upon Barbara Klipper’s first edition, she offers librarians who work with children and teens in both public library and K-12 educational settings a comprehensive resource that includes:

  • an updated introduction to the basics of autism, including language, symbolism, and best practices in the library rooted in the principles of Universal Design;
  • step-by-step programs from librarians across the country, adaptable for both public and school library settings, that are cost-effective and easy to replicate;
  • contributions from autistic self-advocates throughout the text, demonstrating that the program ideas included are truly designed with their preferences in mind;
  • suggestions for securing funding and establishing partnerships with community organizations; and
  • many helpful appendices, with handy resources for training and education, building a collection, storytimes, sensory integration activities, and a “Tips for a Successful Library Visit” template.

Anderson, PhD, is an assistant professor of library science at Old Dominion University who has extensive experience on the topic of autism and libraries through her work as a public librarian, library researcher, and educator. She has worked to develop training for librarians to better understand and serve their users on the autism spectrum through two IMLS funded initiatives, Project PALS and Project A+. Through original research and partnerships with autism self-advocates, she studies and shares best practices and trends at the intersection of autism and libraries and has presented her work at conferences from local to international audiences.

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