Library programming offers people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to learn, socialize, assert their independence and find their place in their community. Join Kayla Kuni of New Port Richey (Fla.) Public Library and Linda Holtslander of Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library for a conversation about how they have created award-winning programming at their libraries for people with intellectual disabilities.
Since January 2014, the New Port Richey (Fla.) Public Library has offered monthly art and literacy classes for various adult day training schools. In establishing these programs, Kayla Kuni and her library colleagues worked with populations they had not typically engaged with every day. Kuni will share her insights from that process, including how to develop meaningful programs for adults with special needs, how to keep the program relevant to school needs, and how to keep the program running on a low budget.
Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library’s Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) is based on a model developed by the Ohio State University Nisonger Center. The program offers bi-weekly opportunities, rather than occasional outings, for adults with intellectual disabilities to read and learn together — regardless of reading ability. Participants have the chance to be members of a book club, talk about books, and make friends in a relaxed, fun community setting. Program organizer Linda Holtslander will share how the book club operates, including how to become a NCBC affiliate, community partnerships, funding, recruitment of book club members and volunteers, book selection and location. NCBC received the Virginia Association of Counties Best Achievement Award for 2014 and 2015.
Kayla Kuni is the information assistant II for the New Port Richey Public Library (Fla.). She has worked for the New Port Richey Library since April 2013. Kuni graduated from the University of South Florida in 2009 with a BA in English and again in 2014 with an MLIS. While most of her time is spent working in youth services, she also spends quite a bit of time working in adult services and in outreach. Kuni's art and literacy program for Red Apple Adult Training Center was fortunate enough to be awarded the Association of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies' Keystone Library Automation System & National Organization on Disability Award for 2015.
Linda Holtslander is the programming division manager for the Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library. She holds a MLS from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA in journalism from University of the Americas. She has been an adjunct professor at San Jose State University and at the University of California. Holtslander was a Research Fulbright Scholar to Helsinki, Finland, in 2009-10, where she worked with the Helsinki City Library and their Next Library initiative.