Message from the ASCLA President

One of the best things about ASCLA is we have so many members who are truly passionate about the patrons they serve and who have deep content knowledge in their field of expertise.  As a result of this powerful combination of passion and knowledge, they often find themselves teaching and transmitting best practices, whether as consultants, in state libraries or consortia, or in service to people with disabilities.  How can we share, though, when we’re scattered all over the country and only get to see each other (if we’re lucky) twice a year.

I recently learned from our local self-publishing company, Author Solutions, that one of their authors had published three books about people with disabilities.  Her books were so well received that they have been picked up and given a much broader audience by a traditional publisher.  That got me to thinking: How do librarians – like the ones in my busy public library – find good books for their patrons that offer positive views of people with disabilities? 

I realized that ASCLA members could use their passion, knowledge and wide networks to help!  I suggested the idea to the ASCLA Publications Committee this spring, and at the Annual Conference, they agreed to make reviews a regular part of Interface.  With one or two in each issue, pretty soon we’ll have a pretty good little list.

We need writers!  If there is a book that you regularly recommend to someone, would you take a little time to write a review?  It doesn’t have to be new or widely known, just really good.  We readers would like to know:

•             What is the book about generally – the plot, the situation, a description?

•             For what audience you’d recommend it – children, teens, adults, parents, teachers, librarians?

•             What qualities of the book made you recommend it – plot, characters, writing, setting?

Sign your review and email it to the Interface Editor Anne Abate,, then stand by to see your name in lights in an upcoming Interface.  If you’re willing to review but don’t have a title in mind, contact Anne and she’ll probably have some recommendations. I am starting us off in this issue, with a review of a new book published by ALA Editions: Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs; Stories to Foster Understanding, by Allison M. G. Follos.  Maybe it will remind you of one you’ve read and would like to share.  Maybe you’ll read someone else’s review and decide to buy the book for your collection, read it yourself, suggest it to your book club, or share it with a reader.

Sara Laughlin




News from the ASCLA Office

Get Connected! ASCLA on Social Media

Have you liked ASCLA on Facebook? Have you followed us on Twitter yet (@ala_ascla)? We are constantly posting association news and also little pieces of news from around the internet on both of these social media streams. If you follow us on Twitter, make sure to tweet at us and let us know you’re a member so we can follow you back!


Volunteer Opportunities: ASCLA Awards Committee, ASCLA Elections

We love our member volunteers! Perhaps you spotted one at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago wearing a “Library Hero by Day, Association Volunteer by Night” button. We have two opportunities to get involved with ASCLA as a valuable volunteer: the ASCLA Awards Committee is seeking a few additional members. In addition, the ASCLA Nominating Committee seeks candidates for positions to be elected in spring 2014. Click either of those blog links to get more details about what each position entails and who to contact to express your interest.


Online Learning: Upcoming Webinars and Courses

The next offering of our online course “Improving Library Services to People with Disabilities” will start Oct. 14! We also have two webinar series scheduled: “Understanding Personalities in the Workplace” and “Emotional Intelligence in Your Workplace”. Both of these series are taught by Linda Bruno, who has presented for ASCLA before with rave reviews! There is still time to sign up for the first series and receive links to the previous live presentations. You can also register for the second series and the online course now. Visit the online learning page for more information, links to registration and pricing.

Course and webinar descriptions, pricing details, registration instructions for groups and individuals are all posted online on ASCLA’s online learning page. Questions about these offerings should be sent to Andrea Hill at or 312-280-4397. Questions about registration? Contact or (800) 545-2433, option 5.


ASCLA Travel

The ASCLA trip to southern France has been canceled, however we’re working on an itinerary for some new and exciting destinations–both international and domestic. Right now we’re looking for innovative libraries in the San Francisco Bay area that we could visit on a domestic trip. Got ideas? Send a note to Marketing Manager Liz Markel at with your suggestions!


Report from the Consortium Management Interest Group

Submitted by Sheryl Knab, Chair

The ASCLA Consortium Management Interest Group met at ALA on Sunday, June 30, 2013. This special interest group provides a forum for sharing of ideas and news among same-type and multi-type consortia. The group typically meets at the ALA Annual Conference. Over 25 people attended and heard four different speakers provide updates and information on what is new at their consortium. 

Aaron Skog, SWAN Executive Director in Illinois ( spoke on their consortium’s experience in selecting the next generation ILS that will run its large network and the challenges they face in finding an appropriate vendor platform. Dr. Anne Norman, State Librarian and Director, Delaware Division of Libraries, presented on how the Delaware libraries ( are using the data they are collecting from their members to improve services, streamline efficiencies, and leverage limited funds. Kristy Eklund from DALNET (Detroit Area Library Network) demonstrated a different approach to creating a shared digital collection by harnessing free online resources from Youtube and other resources. She talked about how they select the collections they want to promote access to and the creation of records for these collections (see which are freely available. Sheryl Knab, Executive Director, Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC), Buffalo, NY, provided an overview of I2NY – the year-long investigation conducted by the NY 3Rs Association, Inc. (of which WNYLRC is a member) on the feasibility of creating a state-wide information infrastructure. The full report is available at  Copies of all four presentations (PDF) are available through the ALA conference scheduler. 

The group also discussed ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas. Sheryl Knab will continue as chair for 2014 and will call for program ideas in late fall through ALA Connect, the ASLCA listserv, the ICAN listserv, and NYLINE. Additionally, Sheryl recommended hosting a listserv at WNYLRC to facilitate communication among those consortia interested in sharing program ideas and news between meetings called  To participate on the list, send an email to Sheryl directly at


Report from Interest Group “Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library”

Submitted by Alec C. McFarlane, President, Library for Deaf Action

The Interest Group meeting took place on Friday, June 28th at the McCormick Place Convention Center. The meeting came to order with an overflow crowd of more than 50 people in a room booked for half that and represented the largest meeting in this Interest Group’s history. We opened with brief introductions from the audience where people introduced themselves and explained briefly why they had come. We had people from the entire spectrum, seemingly representing all four types of libraries, and they all touched upon a rather common theme: services for the deaf community are largely lacking.

The input from the audience took up a good portion of our allotted hour, and allowed the members to see how others were dealing with their libraries or their duties. There was even a trustee and a director in the audience who expressed that wanted to understand the unique way that perhaps they could contribute.  To them, I emphasized Library Friends’ groups and involvement with various Organizations Serving the Deaf (OSD). We also had two deaf librarians, Holly Lipschultz and Evelyn Keolian, who were both from Chicago.  Ms. Lipschultz would later pen a blog post that is now re-posted on ALA Connect.  Her blog post encapsulates what transpired at the meeting and her takeaway. You can also see it for yourself here:

The meeting ran over the subjects of service to special populations and how individual creativity plays a role in transforming libraries.  I also explained how we visualize the Deaf Cultural Digital Library (DCDL) now under consideration in the Maryland Legislature ( Borrowing in part from the concept of the NLS, we envision the DCDL as a state-level public library that serves all four types of libraries. The key element here is to have a dedicated staff empowered to study and collect materials and resources that can be shared with libraries all over the state, and eventually the nation, with regional outlets. This Interest Group looks to push the concept nationally and get partners from within and without ALA who will be part of making the DCDL a reality. The audience generally agreed that this is something we need and they were encouraged to check out the BDC@YL SIG site on ALA Connect ) and follow up on the meeting in Philadelphia and Las Vegas with the objective of duplicating the concept in America.


Report from the Library Consultants Interest Group

Submitted by Jeannette Smithee, Executive Director, SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network)

The ASCLA Library Consultants Interest Group (LCIG) celebrates an active year and looks forward to another exciting year. The LCIG membership grew along with general ASCLA membership growth. ASCLA as a whole added 55 members in 2012-13 for a 7.4% growth, the highest percentage of all ALA Divisions. The Library Consultants Interest Group added 31 members growing from 32 to 63 members. We would like to keep growing by providing a meaningful forum for discussions and programs that can highlight and improve skills of current and potential independent librarians and library consultants. Please tell your colleagues (current and potential consultants) about the benefits of joining ASCLA and LCIG (for information about joining LCIG see

The 2013 ALA Annual Conference was a good one for the Library Consultants Interest Group.

  • The Saturday program Beyond Brainstorming: Making More Effective Decisions with Joan Frye Williams filled the room with about 350 people. Her lively program was well-received and provided inspiration and practical nuggets for those working for change in their libraries. She described essential steps for communication and involvement for decision making within an organization.
  • At the Sunday program, Do Those Evaluation Statistics Mean Anything? (cosponsored by the ALA Office of Research and Statistics) approximately 100 people heard a panel with staff from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at IMLS a state library grants manager and a consultant program evaluator explore the challenges of managing and evaluating widely distributed grants and sub-grants to provide a meaningful national picture of the impact of library funding. At the end of the program, IMLS called for those interested in continuing the dialog about developing program/grant evaluation plans that balance standardized statistical data and localized narrative descriptions. Anyone interested in participating in the discussion can contact Matthew Birnbaum, Evaluation and Research Officer at IMLS (
  • The Sunday Consultants Give Back (CGB) was cosponsored with PLA. During the afternoon, about 16 consultants were available to meet with librarians for free short consultations. In addition, some CGB consultants conducted meetings at other times and places during the conference. Most librarians had made appointments with the consultants and there were a few drop-ins. The out-of-the-way room assignment inhibited drop-in participation.

 The Library Consultant Interest Group Leadership team is actively planning for 2013-14. Plans include programs and activities of interest to independent consultants and internal organization consultants (such as state library staff or multitype cooperative staff) at Midwinter and Annual Conferences in 2014.

  • At ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia, LCIG plans several opportunities for learning and networking. Nancy Bolt and Liz Bishoff will offer another edition of the long waited preconference “Assembling a Consulting Toolkit: What You Need to Know to be a Successful Library Consultant.” The preconference is planned for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning before the conference. LCIG will host a topic driven Library Consultants Discussion Forum and possibly a networking event. More details and a schedule will come this fall.
  • At the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, LCIG plans to present a conference program on making a transition to independent consulting (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Plan to join the lively discussion.
  • The Consultants Giving Back (CGB) programs held at ALA and PLA Conferences are coordinated through LCIG and ASCLA. Evaluations from the 2013 CGB program will guide the directions and plans for 2014. Expect to hear more about this during the year.

Questions or comments, contact 2013-14 LCIG leader, Allan Kleiman,




Conference Report from the Interest Group for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia

Submitted by Mary Beth Riedner, IGARD, Chair

First place in the Diversity and Outreach Fair at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on Saturday, June 29 was awarded to the Gail Borden Public Library of Elgin, IL for their poster entitled “Remember Me: Serving Persons with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.” The Fair is hosted annually by ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS) and is generously sponsored by DEMCO. The theme of the 2013 Diversity and Outreach Fair was Removing Barriers to Service for All: Creating Meaningful and Integrated Library Experiences for People with Disabilities.
2013-07-02 ALA poster session 007
The winning poster portrayed an innovative program entitled Tales & Travel that brings residents of memory care facilities into close interaction with a wide variety of library materials. The monthly programs focus on a different country or region of the US. Library staff and volunteers invite the residents to go on an imaginary journey to the chosen destination. The location of the country is shown on a globe or world map. The residents then take turns reading aloud from a folk tale, myth or legend from the area, followed by five interesting facts about the location. Finally, they browse through highly illustrated non-fiction books about the area from both the adult and the children’s collections. Music from the destination country can be played in the background. Residents truly enjoy the program and stay engaged for the full hour. 

Also noted on the display was the Carnegie-Whitney grant awarded to the Gail Borden Library to develop a series of bibliographies that will serve as a model for other libraries interested in replicating the Tales & Travel program. Dominican University’s GSLIS program is partnering with the Gail Borden Library and has provided a webpage ( where the bibliographies and other resources will be posted as they are created.

A new ASCLA Interest Group for Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia was also highlighted on the poster. This Interest Group will focus on developing guidelines for library services for this often forgotten population. A starting point will be the Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dementia that were approved by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in 2007. Any ASCLA member interested in joining this Interest Group can find out more by going to

The Hartford Public Library won second place at the Fair for their entry “We Belong Here.”  Third place was awarded to the Brooklyn Public Library, The Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs for their display entitled “Bridges to Autism”.

For those unable to attend the conference in Chicago or who missed the Diversity and Outreach Fair, more information about the 27 entries is expected to be posted at


Program Report: Passages Academy Libraries

Submitted by Regan Schwartz, School Librarian, Passages Academy

The Passages Academy Libraries team enjoyed the opportunity to share our experiences creating and growing arts programs and partnerships in our libraries during the ALA Conference in Chicago this summer. Serving New York City’s youth in detention, nonsecure detention, and nonsecure placement requires a certain amount of creativity and flexibility – both key components to successful collaborations in the arts. Using our long-running partnership with the Museum of Modern Art as a focal point, we discussed the key components of a good partnership, the process of initiating and building a partnership with an arts institution or organization, and presented a range of arts programs that we have successfully run in our libraries – from making bookmarks and origami on our own to making skulls with Noah Scalin and masks with MoMA. More information on our library programming can be found on our blog:

Program Review: Beyond Brainstorming: Making More Effective Decisions

Submitted by Lily Sacharow, MS Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science

Great Expectations: Decision-Making Unpacked at ALA

A program review of “Beyond Brainstorming: Making More Effective Decisions”

My ALA 2013 started off with a bang when I attended “Beyond Brainstorming: Making More Effective Decisions,” an ASCLA-sponsored program given by library consultant Joan Frye Williams on Saturday afternoon. Williams, a change management guru and a member of ASCLA herself, broke down the decision-making process from a leader’s perspective. The talk–relevant, encouraging, and dotted with anecdotes–placed emphasis not only on asking the right kinds of questions throughout the process, but ensuring that the questions are asked in response to the right problem.

The broadening of options was highlighted as an important takeaway: starting with a simple “yes” or “no” isn’t likely to push people to test their assumptions and begin thinking critically. Among the most intriguing approaches here was Williams’ reverse-brainstorming tactic. Even in situations where it seems that every possible element for success has been identified, she suggests considering what would make the end goal completely impossible to reach. “If x elements must be true, try eliminating them,” she urged. When you can anticipate issues that will block progress (or kill a project altogether), regardless of whether they have a clear chance of occurring, the overall probability of success becomes easier to see. This may come in especially handy when working with ideas that may be out of one’s comfort zone. “If none of your options makes you nervous,” said Williams, “you don’t have enough options.”

Another key point was to avoid “canonizing the past.” This includes sticking too closely to ideas that have been working steadily since the good old days, and also being open to what defines a “normal range” of behaviors so that space is left for new norms as well as new exceptions. Unfortunately, we cannot always be overzealous with implementing new possibilities. Williams was wise to include a number of ways to stay grounded in hard data, realistic odds, and the life-cycles of change, including the very popular “just because there’s a grant….” Additionally, including time for distance and reflection on any significant change allows for consideration of how you (or, say, your successor or a new hire) might be likely to react to such a major decision a ways down the road.

Williams concluded by reminding us that the process deserves a positive approach–heck, we deserve a positive approach–and that following best practices in decision-making should prepare us for what is sometimes unimaginable at the get-go: being right! By responding to concerns while assuming positive intent, we stay focused on the results that stem from making decisions. This means that those responses should be framed to behave like open-ended questions: for example, saying “yes, and…” rather than “yes, but….” As Williams remarked about one of her favorite questions in response to an objection, if you can’t think of a way to finish the sentence, “good point–how can we…?” then perhaps you’re not ready to make a decision at all. In the end, at least a few viable options should be developed based on input stemming from multiple parties and directions, often ending up as the best of many suggestions and ideas.

The program was well-attended, with participants filling to capacity a large McCormick Place hall. Williams’ numerous quotables throughout the talk were a definite hook for some of the conference’s avid note-takers, myself among them. I left the session determined to finish out my library school degree with a management course, something I hadn’t originally planned on but was by the end convinced I needed to explore further. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for Williams’ sessions at conferences to come.


Conference Program Slides Available

Storytelling Mojo

Submitted by Liz Markel

The PowerPoint slides from Michael Margolis’ presentation during the ALA Conference on “Storytelling Mojo” are available for download here:

On behalf of ASCLA, I’d like to thank everyone who attended this program for being so friendly and willing to share a cozy space with fellow conference attendees! The energy in the room was absolutely electric, and I hope you’ve been able to take some of what you learned back to your libraries for implementation.


Review Your Conference Programs Now

Did you attend a program or preconference in Chicago hosted by ASCLA? If so, we want to hear from you!

To help us prepare for 2014 programs and other upcoming professional development offerings, we’d appreciate your feedback on your 2013 programming experiences. Please take a moment to complete an evaluation for each ASCLA program you attended.

Use the specified links below for each program; in other words, once you’ve completed one evaluation, come back and use a different link to access the evaluation for another program. It’s the only way you’ll be able to use the evaluation form multiple times.






Preview of Midwinter Events

2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting: Save the Date

The ASCLA Conference Program Planning Committee just completed its review of programs, preconferences and institutes for 2014, and we’re thrilled about what’s coming up at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia! The meeting will be held Jan. 24-28, and we have some incredibly valuable workshops that will be held on Friday, Jan. 24. Additional details will be released soon, with registration opening Oct. 1, and you do not need to register for the entire meeting in order to join us for an institute! So, mark your calendar, keep your ear to the ground for more information and plan to join us!

ASCLA is offering four outstanding learning events in Philadelphia. We’ve got day-long workshops focused on online course design, successful leadership and a crash course in becoming a library consultant! We’ve also scheduled a networking lunch-and-learn for library consultants.

If you’re registering using ALA Bundle Registration, which is open now, you’ll be able to register for these events at the same time! Regular registration for both these events and the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting will open on October 1. More information is available at  and

You do not need to register for Midwinter in order to purchase a ticket for any of the following pre-conference events! Make the trip from DC or NYC and join us for a day for a valuable learning experience.

Below is a quick overview of the ASCLA offerings; more information, including pricing, is on the ASCLA website:

Designing Online Courses for Significant Learning Experiences

8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday, January 24

Are you a teaching librarian currently offering an online course but looking for ways to enhance the course structure and content? Are you a seasoned professional with special skills and expertise that you see a market for via an e-course? Gain the skills and confidence to assist others in the development of online courses, or to develop their own online training modules or courses. The techniques applied in this session can also be applied to face-to-face course development. All participants will receive certificates of participation.

Knowing You, Knowing Them: The Secret to Successful Leadership

9 a.m. – 4 p.m Friday, January 24

One of the biggest challenges of leading others is understanding what makes them tick. This full-day workshop will help you understand both yourself in light of your leadership responsibilities and those who work for you. Instead of offering a checklist or template of how-tos, we’ll focus on the human element of leadership. You will leave this session with insights into personalities, emotional intelligence, dealing with change and creating a motivating environment – secrets that can help you be a more successful leader!

Assembling a Consulting Toolkit: What You Need to Know to be a Successful Library Consultant

1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Thursday, January 23 and 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Friday, January 24

Many of you have asked for it….IT’S BACK!!!! Seasoned consultants Nancy Bolt and Liz Bishoff will present an overview of the consultant’s role and guide you through an active and engaging self-assessment to uncover your unique consulting potential and strengths. Takeaways include marketing tips, pricing your services, responding to RFPs, finding clients, business management strategies and so much more. Note that this event is held over two days–Thursday afternoon and Friday morning–with an opportunity for networking on Thursday evening. **This institute will not be offered in Las Vegas, so don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Consultants Networking Luncheon hosted by ASCLA Library Consultants Interest Group

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, January 25

Lunch and learn with colleagues! This event provides an opportunity for consultants and independent librarians to make connections with other professionals. We’ll also have an hour of education focused on valuable skills for consultants; last year’s event covered icebreaker activities, refining your elevator speech and Twitter. The event is hosted by ASCLA’s Library Consultants Interest Group ( Whether you’re new to consulting or have decades of experience, please join this fun group for some peer-to-peer networking and education.

Interest Group News

LSTA Coordinator’s Interest Group

Are you an LSTA Coordinator? We need your help. Since Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer is now in the role of ASCLA Vice President, she can no longer serve as the coordinator and facilitator of the LSTA Coordinator Interest Group. The responsibilities are to book a day and time for the group to meet at Midwinter and Annual and to submit a report on the discussion to the ASCLA office after each meeting. Please contact the ASCLA office know if you would consider doing this in the coming year. There is so much good sharing that takes place at the meetings, along with the informative report from IMLS.  


Need More Information on YOUR Interest Group?

There is a new connect community set up in ALA Connect for the reports from interest groups and committees.  You can visit the page here:  We’ll add the reports from Interest Groups to the community as they come in.

ASCLA Interest Group Leaders

Interested in joining as ASCLA Interest Group?  Contact the Leader for details on their activities.

ASCLA Alzheimer’s & Related Dementias Interest Group

Leader: Mary Beth Riedner,


ASCLA Future of Libraries Interest Group

Leader: Peggy Cadigan,


ASCLA ICAN Consortium Management Discussion Interest Group

Leader: Sheryl Knab,


ASCLA ICAN (InterLibrary Cooperation & Networking) Collaborative Digitization Interest Group

Leader: Laurie Arp,


ASCLA ICAN (InterLibrary Cooperation & Networking) Interlibrary Cooperation Interest Group

Leader: Scherelene L. Schatz,


ASCLA ICAN (InterLibrary Cooperation & Networking) Physical Delivery Interest Group

Co-Leader: Rae Cheney,  

Co-Leader: Mr. James E. Pletz,

ASCLA Library Consultants Interest Group


Leader: Jeannette Smithee,  


ASCLA Library Services for Youth in Custody (LSSP)

Leader: Camden Eadoin Tadhg,


ASCLA LSSP Bridging Deaf Cultures @ your library Interest Group

Leader: Alec Mcfarlane,


ASCLA LSSP (Libraries Serving Special Populations) LSSP Library Services to People with Visual or Physical Disabilities that Prevent Them from Reading Standard Print Interest Group

Leader:  Carli Spina,


ASCLA LSSP Library Services to the Incarcerated and Detained

Leader: Diane Walden,


ASCLA LSSP Universal Access Interest Group

Leader: Marti Goddard,


ASCLA SLA State Library Agencies – Library Development Interest Group

Leader: Gina Persichini,


ASCLA SLA (State Library Agencies)/LSTA Coordinators Interest Group

Leader: Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer,


ASCLA SLA (State Library Agencies) Youth Services Consultants Interest Group

Leader: Sharon Rawlins,


ASCLA Tribal Libraries Interest Group

Leader: Lillian Chavez,


Book Review: Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs

Review submitted by Sara Loughlin Director, Monroe County (IN) Public Library

Follos, Alison M. G.  Remarkable Books about Young People with Special Needs (Chicago: ALA Editions, 2013

“You can’t depend on the media or the publicity generated from trendy best sellers to routinely highlight special needs protagonists; such books may need your special delivery,” writes Follos, a middle school librarian with more than two decades of experience in finding books for young people and listening as they describe stories that made a difference in their lives. 

I enjoyed the introductory chapters, which reminded me that young people with special needs are just people, and they read for the same reasons all of us do – for escape, motivation, and empowerment. 

The second chapter, titled “Books Aren’t Shy – People Are,” was perhaps the most compelling for me. In it, we meet Elisa, one of the young people whose story Follos tells throughout the book. One of her daughter’s friends had a younger sister, who had difficulty speaking and whose steps were unbalanced and halting. For 15 years, Follos didn’t know what was wrong with her. It was only when working on the book that she approached Elisa’s mother. “I was cautious, sensitive about their privacy and worried that they would be offended by my curiosity,” she reports. “Their response was a surprise. They were excited to have Elisa included in the project.” Her mother said she had encouraged Elisa and said it would be an opportunity to advocate for other special needs individuals and speak up for them. Despite the extraordinary difficulty of reading for Elisa, she had very strong feelings about the books she read and they gave her an opportunity to talk and to reflect on her own situation in a positive and supportive way.

Follos has chosen the best, most beloved, to include in this book in five chapters addressing different sets of special needs, each with a brief introduction, followed by dozens of titles and descriptions, which made me want to go to the library right away and check them out:

Chapter 3, “Stories that Break the Stigma,” includes books about young people with learning disabilities and behavioral differences in the family and in the classroom. Chapter 4, “Stories that Tell Secrets,” books address emotional and psychological issues, including anorexia, self-medicating, alcoholism, cutting, suicide, and abuse. In Chapter 5, “Stories that Help Us Surmount the Challenges,” protagonists cope with physical and psychological illnesses and accidents. Chapter 6, “Stories of Disorders and Differences,” includes books with young people who have autism, Asperger’s or Tourette’s.  Chapter 7 deals with family needs of young people in “Stories of Support and Separation.”

Remarkable Books… can be read, as I did, as a compelling, heart-warming narrative of young people with special needs and their self-discovery through literature.  Or it can be used as a reference for good books for young readers and their parents, teachers, and supporters.  The chapters are well arranged to facilitate this, with introductory essays and then age recommendations and detailed summaries about each recommended title.  On both counts, it’s a great book.


Did you enjoy this book review?  Would you like to submit one of your own? Contact the editor—you might get a free copy of a book out of it! 

Update on the Deaf Cultural Digital Library

Submitted by Alec C. McFarlane, President, Library for Deaf Action

 Our work on behalf of the Deaf Cultural Digital Library (DCDL) continues. We are working to put this on the National Agenda at ALA and we are working to get support from the professionals and the grass roots populace from within and without ALA. With almost 60,000 members and international connections we believe ALA is one of the best –but not the only– platforms to push the concept. Our work has borne some fruits, and we will be bringing this back to our delegates, our representatives, and our congressmen and congresswomen.

We intend to resubmit the DCDL Bill to the Maryland General Assembly in the upcoming 2013 session beginning in January.

It is nice to have someone else speak about what we are doing, and I think that “Holly the Librarian” has done a splendid job of supporting us and also of making her own pointed comments.  This is her blog:  Thank You Holly Lipschultz, MLIS for this posting.

Deaf Cultural Digital Library is a law proposed and passed, with amendment, by the Maryland General Assembly in 2012 (

Library for Deaf Action (LDA) is a private publisher specializing in networking, programming, consulting. and Deaf Culture.  By way of its public service arm, FOLDA or Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (and aka The Red Notebook we have been pursuing the idea of a Central Library to serve the needs of the deaf community and to bridge the divide. We see this as a civil right that should be applied nationally, and indeed internationally.


New Report from OCLC on Library Consortia

OCLC recently released a new report: U.S. Library Consortia: A Snapshot of Priorities & Perspectives. This report details findings from a study OCLC conducted with U.S. library consortia in 2012 to learn about the demographic make-up of their groups, their strategic initiatives, their groups’ challenges and top methods for communicating with their members.

The report is available HERE.


Brooklyn Public Library’s English Conversation Group Program

While Brooklyn Public Library’s English Conversation Groups provide a wonderful opportunity for English language learners to increase their listening and speaking skills, they have also become essential for another reason as well. Many English language learners often mention that it can be difficult to use the new language skills they have acquired because they lack the confidence. They might have the ability to speak and listen but have a fear of making a mistake. This is where attending the English Conversation Groups can help them. Many of the participants surveyed stated that along with improving their listening and speaking skills, they also feel their confidence level has increased. Those who were previously apprehensive to speak in public may be willing to take a chance which is almost as important as the language skills themselves.

In 2010, the New York State Library’s Adult Literacy Library Services Grant Program awarded Brooklyn Public Library a grant to help fund the program. At that time, there were 12 groups. Since then, the program has received additional grants which have continued up until July of this year. Currently there are 44 groups at numerous branches. They meet once a week for a period of 2 hours and are led by a trained volunteer. They are open to adults of all speaking and listening levels and do not require registration so this allows participants to attend that may not be able to commit to an attendance based class. 

Over the past few years, it has been exciting to see the continued success of the program. People who join the groups, at times, become like a small family. They share their opinions, their successes, their frustrations, and their excitement. Some participants become friends and do activities with each other outside the groups and happily tell the others what they did at the next group session. Moving to a new country and trying to navigate New York City can be overwhelming for many people. It is wonderful to see that the groups not only provide a place for people to receive necessary language skills for living in the United States but also a place for them to share their experiences and to learn from others. While some may measure the success by the numbers, others may say the true success lies within the individual who now feels part of a community.

For more information about Brooklyn Public Library’s English Conversation Groups please contact Volunteer Resources at 718-230-2406 or go to


Welcome New Members of ASCLA

Welcome to our new members who have joined us in the past few months! Recognize a name on the list? Reach out to them and say hello.


Lance Simpson, Tuscaloosa


Rebecca J. Kemp, Fullerton

Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley

Claudia Evelyn Bowles, Fullerton

Elsie Okada Tep, Concord


Linda Hofschire, Denver


Beth-Ann Ryan, Dover


Laurie G. Arp, Atlanta

Grace Dunbar, Duluth


Becky Heil, Dubuque


Rae-Anne Montague, Champaign

Crissy Barnat, Dekalb

Angela Leigh Bonnell, Normal

Matthew Metcalf, Champaign

Anne Bensfield, Berwyn                    

Jacob Jeremiah, Arlington Heights


Wendy Jo Knapp, Indianapolis

Alyson Feldman-Piltch, Bloomington

Kimberly Rose Wiseman, Michigan City


Brenda C. Hough, Lawrence


Lori Lee Kebetz, New Market

Lissa Sundermann, Lutherville


Jennifer M. Taggart, Bloomfield Hills

Kathleen Brenda Brandon, Sturgis

Stephanie N. McCoy, Auburn Hills


Melody Condron, Helena

North Carolina

Katherine Whyte Glance, Hendersonville

Barbara J. Kaplan, Pittsboro

Cynthia Leigh Welch, Southport


Laura S. Adler, Omaha

New Jersey

Amanda E. Cowell, Union

New York

David Winger, Brooklyn

Claire Brophy Ianno, New York

Ms. Jamie Prince, New York

Emma Karin Eriksson, New York

Aimee Slater, Brooklyn

Rebecca Kennison, New York


Sandra K. Tharp, Perkins


Stephen G. Marvin, West Chester

Michele A. Leininger, Pittsburgh


Kaylyn Eleece Groves, Nolensville


Judy Daniluk, Flower Mound


Ashley Nicole Barrineau, Virginia Beach

Douglas Arvidson, Onancock

Ontario, CA

Laura Riggs, Toronto


Benefits of ASCLA Membership

We hope you are reading this issue of Interface as an ASCLA members, but if not, here is a quick overview of the membership benefits you can achieve.

A cornucopia of professional development and learning opportunities—with great member rates.

The advantage of big savings on online learning opportunities such as our valuable online course “Improving Library Services to People With Disabilities”.

The best rates on ASCLA workshops at the ALA Annual Conference.

A venue for finding and exchanging valuable information.

ASCLA produces guidelines and publications that serve your profession—most notably, “Think Accessible Before You Buy” and “Library Accessibility: What You Need to Know.” ASCLA members have also been involved with the “Prisoners’ Right to Read”, which was recently passed by ALA Council. More resources can be found under the Professional Tools section of our website.

There are also several communication options for staying current with division and professional news: Interface, our quarterly e-newsletter; the ASCLA blog,; and listservs like ASCLA-L (sign up at

A strong and supportive professional network.

Your ASCLA colleagues are the glue that will hold you together when times are tough, and they’ll also rally around your victories. Connect with these colleagues by joining one of our special interest sections. Don’t see a section representing your type of work? Create your own! More information is available at the ASCLA website.

Make connections at Annual and Midwinter by participating in ASCLA discussion groups, too. These open forums at Annual and Midwinter provide a forum for sharing challenges and successes with your peers, and collaborating on effective solutions.

An opportunity to be a leader, a decision-maker, and to bring about change.

Members can volunteer for ASCLA committees and ASCLA discussion group facilitator roles, lead an interest group, serve on the ASCLA board, and contribute to other ASCLA initiatives. Check out a complete list of committees at our website.

Members can also represent ASCLA on a larger stage by holding an ALA Councilor position or serving as liaison to ALA-wide committees.

Our association relies on the support and talent of its members to succeed, and we are very thankful to have you as a part of this group. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at or 312-280-4395 if you have questions.


Connect With ASCLA

In addition to reading all the news in Interface and the member e-mail updates that flow into your mailbox, you can stay in touch in the following ways:

Thanks for the Submissions! Send More

We thank all of our contributors.  There were some new features, and we hope to keep those coming and expand with other items of use to all ASCLA members. We need your contributions! We are looking for book reviews, programming successes, hot topics and other content of interest to ASCLA members. We are aksi still looking for ASCLA members who would like to be book reviewers. Drop me a note it you are interested. Send submissions to the me, editor,  or feel free to contact me with questions–at  Our next issue will be the Pre-Midwinter issue with a deadline of December 1st.

 Anne K. Abate, ASCLA Interface Editor