rusq: Vol. 54 Issue 1: p. 55
Sources: Including Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians
Jenny Foster Stenis

Children’s Services Coordinator, Pioneer Library System, Norman, Oklahoma

Ms. Banks brings her own personal experiences with disabilities and her expertise as the director of Brooklyn Public Library’s The Children’s Place for Children with Special Needs to this newly revised edition of Including Families of Children with Special Needs. Broader in scope than the 1999 edition, which addressed the needs of preschoolers and their families, this revision covers services to all children and youth and their families and/or caregivers. In addition, the focus has been expanded to include children with any type of disability, and information about Spanish-language resources and cultural competency is included.

Banks says in her preface that “this book will give you an overview of what frameworks, tools and materials are needed to successfully welcome children with disabilities into your library.” This guide for providing services to children with special needs is divided into three sections. “Part One: Understanding Inclusion” begins with the definition of inclusion, including a discussion of the research that supports the benefits of inclusion. The following chapters cover the basic disability laws, developmentally appropriate services, resource-based practice and inclusion, and multiple intelligences and universal design. “Part Two: Getting Your Library Ready” is devoted to staff training, community involvement, universal design, and assistive and adaptive technology. “Part Three: Developing Collections and Services” includes chapters focusing on play and learning and varieties of resource centers for children, families, and other professionals. Of special interest is the chapter on electronic resources.

Sidebars highlight the topics in each chapter and provide timelines and additional information about the key concepts covered. Each chapter ends with a useful list of resources and references. An appendix suggests pathways to help readers locate resources by state.

Banks has combined best practices and life stories with research-based facts to provide a compelling and comprehensive guide to a timely topic. Due to the broadened scope, the updated chapters, and the useful references and information about resources, this revision is a valuable addition to every library collection. Following her framework and using the tools, materials, and resources she provides, every library can welcome special needs children.

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