Up Close and Personal
I have been the director of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Child’s Place for Children with Special Needs since 1997. In that time the program has grown from 1 site to 5 and from a service primarily serving children to one that serves the whole family. My approach to serving children and teens with disabilities and their families is inclusive, employing universal design and multiple intelligences principles so that all are welcomed and engaged. The Child’s Place also serves as a resource for Brooklyn Public Library librarians working with children with special needs. Most children’s specialist trainings have a special needs component, which I often conduct, and I have organized workshops on autism, learning disabilities and other topics for system-wide trainings. Several times a year, I consult with library systems around the country on how to serve children with disabilities and their families. I use the same methodology in all of my teaching, universal design for learning and multiple intelligences to try to reach each learner on terms she is comfortable with.
Community partnerships are essential to modern library services and I regularly attend meetings of the Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council, as well as being a founding member of its children’s issues committee. I also meet with the Brooklyn Borough Based Council and the Brooklyn Children’s Mental Health Committee on a monthly basis. I am a member of the Special Needs Advisory Board of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the Programming Board of Music for Autism and The Consumer Health Advisory Board of the National Libraries of Medicine’s Northeast Region. I have previously served on the advisory boards for the Comprehensive Community Sickle Cell Outreach Project, the National Gardening Association, and the Brooklyn Early Childhood Directions Center. Currently, I am on the Consumer Health Advisory Board of the National Libraries of Medicine, Northeast Region.
I have been honored with New York University’s Samuel and May Rudin Award for Community Service in 2000, the Sloan Public Service Award in 2012 and by Library Journal when I was named a “Mover and Shaker” 2012. The Child’s Place program was named a “best practices program” in the developmental disability field by the Brooklyn Developmental Disability Council in 2001. I have twice be recognized by the Brooklyn Family Support Services Advisory Council.
Active in the American Library Association since 1998, I have served on and chaired the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) Serving Special Population Children and their Caregivers Committee, acted as the ALSC representative to the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA). As a member of ASCLA’s Library Services to Special Populations Section, I co-chaired the 2007 joint ALSC-ASCLA preconference on serving people with disabilities in libraries and subsequently founded and chaired the Library Service to People with Physical, Learning, Social, Cognitive, and Health Disabilities. I am also a member of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). After serving on the Schneider Family Book Award Committee, I chaired it in 2008. More recently I was a member of the 2012 Odyssey Award Committee . I am currently a member of the cross-division Universal Design Interest Group. In 2015 I was elected to the Board of Directors of ASCLA as the Designated Director for Special Populations.
2014 was the culmination of 2 years work with the publication of the revised edition of Serving Families of Children with Special Needs: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (ALA Editions). My other publications are listed here: Carrie Banks Bibliography and Presentations