In the early morning hours of November 2, 2011 Fanwood lost a beloved and valued member of our community when Monica Reiss was struck by a car on Midway Avenue. Her memory is honored at the Fanwood Memorial Library with the Monica Reiss Autism Resources Collection. Thanks to contributions made in her name, the library was able to significantly increase their holdings of autism-related resources and continues to develop this important resource. It addresses the needs of the community in response to the growing and persistent needs and challenges faced by those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.
The Fanwood Memorial Library, which has long been in the forefront of autism awareness for libraries, is grateful that the Reiss family directed donations to the library, especially since Monica’s job and passion fits so perfectly with the library’s ongoing efforts to raise autism awareness with the program developed by Meg Kolaya and Fanwood’s director, Dan Weiss, called Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected (www.librariesandautism.org).
This award-winning project, which helps to raise autism awareness on a national level, provides library staff with strategies that enable them to provide excellent and inclusive service to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and to their families at the library. It started in 2008, with a customer service training video and website to help librarians focus on what they need to know about autism, and delivers specific techniques to offer more inclusive and effective service to this growing and underserved population. The project stresses communication, customer service, and using individuals on the ASD spectrum and with other developmental disabilities as staff and volunteers in the library. It explores specific programming strategies that work, the importance of connecting and partnering with local experts, and empowering staff to be willing to ‘do something’ within a welcoming climate of acceptance and inclusion.
The collection features hundreds of titles about autism and other developmental disabilities. Search Our Catalog.