In 2020, Evergreen Park Public Library was awarded an “Autism Welcome Here” grant from the Libraries and Autism Project to expand social opportunities for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr. Meg Carroll, Director of the Graduate Special Education Program at Saint Xavier University, facilitated staff training to equip them with the skills and confidence to interact successfully with people with autism. Participants addressed library space from an autistic user perspective and discussed ways to create a culture of awareness and acceptance that will positively impact the degree to which individuals with ASD and their families feel welcome.

Grant activities include organizing a social club for post high-school young adults with autism. “We expect that social activities combined with increased staff competence in engaging individuals with autism will expand the library’s capacity to reduce social isolation experienced by some young people with ASD,” said Young Adult Services Coordinator Mary Black. Look for more information about the Stacks Social Club this fall.

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