Today’s teens face major life changes and a tremendous amount of social and emotional pressure. We are now seeing some of the emotional fallout from the isolation and trauma that came from the pandemic. For those on the autism spectrum, these effects are even more pronounced.

Libraries are an incredible resource for teens and can serve as critically important safe spaces for those suffering from mental health crises. 

In this webinar, the presenters will explore techniques for updating our collections and adapting our services to ensure we are both representing the experiences of these teens and serving them day-to-day. They will show how our programming can promote empathy and compassion among all library users. Using examples from their own library, the presenters will share different ideas for programs and services and insights on how you can develop your own.

This webinar will be split into two sessions, with one session focusing on mental health and one focusing on neurodiversity.

After participating in this event, attendees will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the fundamentals of neurodiversity and mental health
  • Understand how representation in stories can improve teens' mental health
  • Have specific strategies for creating and implementing mental health and neurodiversity-oriented programs in their libraries
  • Understand how to assess the specific mental health and neurodiversity needs of their community and tailor programs and services accordingly

Adriana White is an autistic librarian, writer, and public speaker. She is a staff editor for the website "A Novel Mind" and a 2021 recipient of the Walter Grant from We Need Diverse Books. She holds a Master's in Education and an MLIS with a certificate in Storytelling. Adriana is currently the Lead Librarian for the South San Antonio Independent School District in Texas. You can find more information on her website,

Ashleigh Torres is a librarian who is passionate about mental health advocacy in libraries. She is currently the branch supervisor of the Winters Community Library in Yolo County, California. She is the chair of the Youth Services Interest Group for the California Library Association. Find more mental health resources and topics for libraries on her social media @ashbrarian.

This event will be hosted in Zoom. Automatic captions will be enabled for this event. This event will be recorded, and registrants will receive access to the recording within a day after the event ends.

If you have questions or requests regarding accessibility, contact us at or at 312-280-5100.