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Autism workshop for librarians set for Friday

News Courier - 9/11/2019

Sep. 10--The Athens-Limestone Public Library may be more crowded and noisier than usual Friday as it welcomes about 60 librarians from across the region.

The library will host a workshop, Autism & Libraries, designed to educate librarians about programs and services they can offer autistic patrons. The workshop will be led by Dan Weiss, who conducts workshops on the topic across the country.

Librarian Amanda Coleman praised Weiss' work and his website, librariesandautism.org.

"It helps libraries build a bridge for those on the spectrum," she said.

She explained most of the librarians who would attend the workshop are from Alabama and surrounding states, though at least one call of interest came from Pennsylvania.

"Many of the libraries in the area don't provide services for children who have autism or special needs, and this is to help them learn what to do," Coleman said.

The workshop was made possible from a $5,000Loleta D. Fyan grant the library received earlier this year from the American Library Association. The grant also allowed the library to offer its sensory story time weekly, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays.

Coleman said the first sensory story time after school started back was Aug. 26 and had about seven children. Unlike traditional story time, which is held in the library's activity room, sensory story time is held in the quieter community room with low light. It's also much more structured.

As part of the workshop, Coleman said she would lead a sensory story time for the visiting librarians so they can get a feel for the exercise.

There are still a few spots available for librarians interested in learning more about how they can help patrons on the spectrum. To register, call the library at 256-232-1233. The cost is $15 per person.

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