Lesson 1: Encouraging managers and library staff to support inclusion 

In the two surveys conducted as part of the Libraries as Community Connectors project, we found that library staff or management can be a barrier to increasing inclusive Storytime and Rhymetime sessions in some cases. 

Below are some methods to advance inclusion at your library. 

Research and promotion

  • Identify past programs that have been successful in the library sector and beyond
  • Promote relevant conference papers through the public library and state library networks—show managers and directors that providing programs and resources for children with disabilities and their families is a trend supported by evidence and data 
  • Share successful programs on social media to encourage participation by staff and managers, and spread the word in the community 
  • Research inclusion or specific programs that could operate in a particular branch environment
  • Celebrate and promote dates such as International Children’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, World Autism Awareness Day, World Mental Health Day, and the International Day for Universal Access to Information

Team building, staff training and expertise

  • Make time to invest in inclusion as a priority for staff
  • Request funding (if required) for extra staff with disability experience to help facilitate Storytime sessions
  • Identify staff and managers who can support the children’s librarian and encourage team building
  • Identify relevant training to promote as professional development and include it on annual performance appraisals as goals and achievements
  • Encourage technical staff to work closely with different teams in the library to promote their activities
  • Work with a disability professional to assess the library and identify areas to address
  • Collaborate with community groups and participating families to further promote access and inclusion.

Legal and regulatory guidelines

  • Liaise with council disability officers if available to provide further support for council programs and legislative guidelines. 
  • Review policies, procedures and practices already in place for inclusion and against discrimination
  • Review the Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan
  • It seems that the IFLA Public Library Manifesto and Revised Guidelines for Library services for Children 0-18 has been updated. The IFLA-UNESCO Public Library Manifesto