About us

Hi there! My name is Jen Taggart. I started this blog to share ideas and resources on inclusive library services. My path into youth librarianship began at the Novi Public Library in 1998. Three years later, after having my first child, I accepted a position a little closer to home at the Bloomfield Township Public Library. I enjoy working with youth so much that I became Assistant Department Head of Youth Services there in 2010.

Accessibility Support Collection
Over ten years ago, I began working on a collection in response to family, close friends, and patron friends struggling to find available and budget-friendly resources to support various disability and different learning needs. My son, who was receiving speech and language therapy in elementary school, came home one day with some small black and white copies of speech cards. Though we were appreciative of those tools to practice with at home, I thought there must be a better way! What about circulating the original sets and other special education "tools" in a library collection? After seeing an article about the Friends of the Troy Public Library purchasing adaptive toys for a special needs collection, the light bulb began to glow.

In support of our proposal in 2007, the Friends of the Bloomfield Township Public Library generously awarded our department with seed money to develop a multi-media special needs collection. After a great deal of research, meetings with our technical services and circulation departments, and collaboration with some wonderful teachers and therapists in the Bloomfield Hills School District's Special Education Department, the initial collection hit the shelves in January, 2009. Ten years later we wanted to be mindful of the changes in disability language, so I began the process of gathering input from the disability community. After months of research and feedback compilation, we officially started the process of changing the name of the collection (and the growing collection in Adult Services) to the Accessibility Support Collection (ASC) in December, 2019.

We began offering monthly sensory story times for youth with developmental disabilities a year later in the fall of 2010. I gathered adaptive ideas from occupational therapists and did more research, looking to these sensory story time pioneers:  Barbara Klipper, Kiera Parrott, and Trish Twarogowski. Developing and tweaking sensory story times for youth with developmental disabilities and their families over the years led to the realization that multi-sensory engagement is great for all ages and abilities! This is still one of my favorite programs to plan, also taking the show on the road to special education classrooms, and most recently collaborating with one of our adult librarians to develop sensory story times for teens and adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.

Adaptive Umbrella workshop
Thanks to a very supportive department, I created the Bloomfield Township Public Library's biennial Adaptive Umbrella workshop in 2010. This biennial daylong workshop is geared to librarians, educators and caregivers working with people of all ages who have disabilities. Self-advocates and professionals in the field present on current topics in accessibility and inclusive services.

Accessibility Services Roundtable (ASR)
There are so many fabulous adaptive ideas are out there! I wanted to get together with other nearby colleagues who are also passionate about being inclusive of patrons of all abilities in the library. The Special Needs Services Roundtable (SNSR) began with librarians from across Michigan, serving youth, teens and adults with special needs, meeting in 2014. We officially changed our name to the Accessibility Services Roundtable in December, 2019, and continue to meet in person and virtually to talk about inclusive services biannually.

Michigan Alliance for Cultural Accessibility (MACA)
In 2018 I joined a consortium of cultural institution professionals working together to go beyond ADA and enhance accessibility of Michigan's cultural institutions for people of all abilities. I  served  as the MACA Programming Chair for a year and will begin 2020 as the MACA Vice Chair.

Speaking engagements
I enjoy sharing my experience with accessibility, collection development and adaptive programming with other librarians, educators and caregivers. See Presentations and Workshops.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or contact me at jentaggartlibrarian@gmail.com for more information.

In my spare time...
When I'm not conducting inclusive library science, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children (now teenagers who inspire me daily). I am also a foodie wannabe who cannot cook, a quasi Pinterest addict, and a closet travel planner with an insane amount of wanderlust.

Hi! My name is Ed Niemchak. I joined this blog to share my thoughts on and experiences with offering inclusive library services, specifically to adults and teens. I became a librarian in Adult Services at the Bloomfield Township Public Library soon after graduating in May 2011. Being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, I have always been aware of and interested in the need for library services to those with different abilities.

It wasn’t until becoming full-time in the fall of 2013 that I realized the possibility of offering these services. Jen began to reach out to the Adult Services department to gauge interest in collaborating on adult programming and collections due to increase of adult attendance at inclusive youth programming and in the Youth Services department more generally. I excitedly jumped at the opportunity.

With Jen’s help, I began offering a monthly program titled Adult Sensory Story Time in January 2016. In this program we typically have a theme that we explore through the use of music, videos, age-respectful stories, crafts, and sensory activities. Since May 2017 we have been showing a documentary for adults and teens with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities.  The documentary is usually tied to the story time theme, and we keep the lights up and the sound down to make the sensory experience easier.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, running, and going on “adventures” with my son, until he’s old enough to be shown the Marvel Cinematic Universe, at which point my wife can roll her eyes at both of us.

Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at niemchak13@gmail.com for more information.

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