Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Everybody Collection

My library serves a wide range of patrons, as all do. My high school is a bit unique in the number of special education students we have. The number is rather high and includes quite a range of abilities.

When I started working at my former district many special education services were contracted out to the Intermediate Unit (IU). Although these students were in our building (such as life skills and emotional support), they were in classrooms and didn't generally mix with the rest of the students. The district later decided to move those services in-house, the library had a new sub-group of patrons to meet the needs of . The new life skills teacher wanted to bring the students to the library, but we didn't have books on an elementary level. Initially, we borrowed books from the elementary schools, partly because we weren't sure if the new classes were a permanent change. They would send over a crate of books, but that quickly became a pain for both them and us. Finally, we established a small collection of books on an early elementary school level.

When I arrived at my new position I started a similar collection. I used some budget money and received a grant from the Home and School Association (HSA) to get it started. I focused on non-fiction that life skills teachers could use in their lessons and award winners. I tried to avoid anything too babyish, while maintaining the appropriate reading level. This year I am adding more books that the pre-school lab needs. The high school students do lessons on specific topics (concepts, seasons, nature) and need books that are more academic than have been donated to the classroom library. I was able to add some concept books recently through a grant.

It is difficult to meet so many patron needs in the library. How do you reach out to your special education students?

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