Trustees of the Board praised staff and volunteers at this week's meeting for their initiatives in developing innovative sensory story time programs for special needs children.
The local library recently won the Best Practices Award at the 10th annual North Suburban Special Education District’s award ceremonies for its program “Sensory Story time: Stories and Emergent Literacy Activities for Special Needs Children.”
Library Director Mary Pergander said Wednesday it was the first time a public library has been recognized by the local special education district.
The program, designed by Youth Librarian Renee Grassi for children ages 4 to 8 who have difficulties with sensory processing, was funded by a $2,000 grant from Target Corp. The program was presented at the Deerfield Public Library during the months of January and February.
Grassi said the autistic children interacted with trained library staff, parental caregivers, and teen volunteers to practice skill building in a multi-sensory approach through music, movement, stories, and play.
“We designed the program for children with autism, learning disorders, or those who have challenges just trying to sit still,” Grassi said.
She said she was thrilled with the encouraging parental support and the prestige the program has brought to the library, “particularly from the North Shore Special Education District.”
“There is a real need for programs that welcome children with special needs, and the library is a perfect gathering spot for those programs,” Grassi said.
In other action, the library board:
- Approved a series of public open houses to update residents on referendum progress to date in refurbishing the library. The first session is scheduled for Sunday, June 12, from 3-5 p.m., at the library. Additional dates will be announced in May.
- Approved the purchase of three security cameras and a server not to exceed $8,000.
- Approved the planned replacement of 17 small desktop computers at a cost of $16,500.
- Library Director Mary Pergander reported all is proceeding smoothly with the library’s new self-service check-in/checkout circulation system that became operational on April 5. She indicated that comments have been very favorable towards the new service and no personnel layoffs have taken place, although re-assignments in some job duties have been made.