Stories are for Everyone
Everyone enjoys stories and deserves to share them with friends. Book clubs and storytimes are common ways that we provide that opportunity. But sometimes, our patrons cannot participate in the traditional model of these programs. In our ongoing effort to ensure that everyone feels welcome, the Library has developed programs and services to meet a variety of needs.
Next Chapter Book Club is a national organization that was founded to help make sure everyone, regardless of intellectual or developmental disability, is able to interact with reading. Librarian Maura Schoo and Adult Services Assistant Susan McBride fell in love with the simple concept of having attendees read aloud and discuss selected short stories and novels and formed the group in the summer of 2017. Some past favorites from our group include Wonder and Dewey the Library Cat. Attendees do not need to be verbal or able to read in order to benefit from the program. In fact, our regulars enjoyed it so much, they asked for more. (The next session is on January 16.)
Hence, the Next Chapter Social Club was born. The newly formed club meets twice each quarter. So far, crafts and movies have proven very popular. The group enjoyed an interactive viewing of Elf to get in the holiday spirit this month. In February, the activity will be making Valentine’s Day treats.
Both the Book and Social Clubs are open to all adults with disabilities, regardless of age. The groups meet on Thursdays from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm. For more information or to volunteer, see our newsletter or call the Library at 630.986.1976. Space is limited, so registration is required.
Another new program, our Sensory/Supported Storytime, was designed for children ages 2 to 7 with autism, developmental delays, or sensory processing issues. Weighted lap blankets and fidgets for in-class use help participants concentrate on the stories and songs. Picture Communication Symbols provide visual prompts, while songs with specific directions let participants know exactly what to do.
In addition to providing a place where families feel comfortable being themselves, librarians Anne Grisenthwaite and Patty Lawley hope to foster connections between parents who can share experiences and resources. Many of our storytime participants started out as strangers and have become good friends over time. We hope these storytimes can do the same.
Sensory/Supported Storytime meets once each month on Saturday from 10:00 – 10:30 am. Siblings are most welcome. The next drop-in session is January 11.
Other Ways to Story
We have special Memory Kits that contain books and props to help those with memory loss tell their stories. Our large type collection boasts fiction and non-fiction books by best-selling authors. The robust audiobook and Playaway collections bring popular titles to those for whom listening is best.
We realize there is no one best way to interact with stories and are always on the lookout for new ones. Please be sure to let us know how we can help you connect.
Lisa Knasiak is the Assistant Director and Patron Services Manager at the Hinsdale Public Library.