Diversity & Outreach Section

Practical Skills for Homeless, Addicted and Mentally Ill Patrons

Do you have patrons who bring in too many bags? Smell really bad? Panhandle? Argue? In this interactive training you will learn why homeless individuals do what they do and the practical tools for resolving problems. After this training, you will have more confidence with homeless patrons. The presenter is the Executive Director of a large homeless shelter outside of Chicago. He is currently writing a book on the topic for the American Library Association.

Unifying Drum Circle

"When communicating with words, only one person speaks at a time. But when drumming, everyone can communicate at the same time by listening carefully and responding sensitively. This can generate a joyous feeling of unity and power." –Richard Reiter. Grab a drum and let go to experience the empowerment a drum circle can generate in participants. Take this feeling with you as you return to your libraries and pass it along.

Transformative Conversations with "Problem Patrons"

We try to be so warm, welcoming, and open -- yet on a daily basis, librarians encounter so-called "problem patrons." Interactions can be difficult, and they may cause us discomfort and anxiety, even fear or anger. Even a good understanding of how we can be assertive may be inadequate to dialogue. This discussion will use the lens of social services to analyze the impacts of our expectations, labels and behaviors upon our own communication. From that perspective, along with a sensitivity to cultural pluralism, we'll learn new strategies for transformative conversation.

Readers and Writers in the Library: Perfect Together

Readers are very often writers-in-waiting, needing only some encouragement, tools, and practice to become writers for personal satisfaction and possibly for publication. Bringing writers into the library as writing teachers, coaches, workshop leaders, writing circle facilitators, and inspirations, will not only expand and enhance your patron programs, but tighten and highlight the strong connection between reading and writing. Learn about the many different ways authors can help your library become a place for writers.

Engaging Books for Struggling Teen Readers and Adult Learners

Do you have adult learners (low literacy and/or ESOL), newcomers, or older teens who are struggling readers who ask for books to read but you have difficulty finding the right books for them? You want books that have accessible reading levels and appealing content that is appropriate for their age and interests but do not know what to suggest? This session will provide some ideas and resources and allow time for group discussion.

Inclusive Book Clubbing: How to Invite and Run a Book Club for Developmentally Challenged Patrons

Libraries should be inclusive spaces with something for everyone. While it’s a great idea, it is difficult to execute. This program will show you how easy it is to hold a book club for those members of the community that are developmentally challenged. Jen Schureman will address how to contact the community, how to prepare your library staff, and how to select the books to be discussed.

Whose Voices Count? How Awareness of Harmful Stereotypes is Changing Collection Development

Collection development—encompassing both selection and deselection—gives librarians the responsibility to make sure our collections represent many points of view while still protecting patrons—especially young patrons—from hurtful racist, sexist and homophobic media. What if the book got great reviews? An award winner or a classic? Do we owe a special responsibility to young people to shield them from oppressive stereotypes?

Best Practices in ESL/Adult Literacy Programs

Is illiteracy a growing problem in your community? Wondering how you can contribute toward a solution? Our panelists will discuss how to run a successful ESL/Adult Literacy program at your library. They will cover the pluses and minuses of running your own program or partnering with another agency, using library staff versus volunteers, and how to train your staff or volunteers to derive the most benefit for your community.

News from the Talking Book & Braille Center

The NJSL's Talking Book & Braille Center is consistently working to best serve the needs of all types of readers across the state. Do TBBC patrons want a book now, rather than having to wait for other copies to be returned? Tired of waiting for inter library loan to deliver a copy of an audiobook? TBBC’s latest patron-centered initiative is to create customized audiobook cartridges to meet a reader’s individual needs, right away! Learn more about this and many other TBBC initiatives that put patrons' wants and needs first.

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