LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- The Larchmont Public Library's Burchell Children's Room recently received a $7,800 grant to develop programs for children with developmental disabilities.
The library received the Literacy and Education in Action Program (LEAP) grant from Better World Books. The LEAP grant will be used to develop a series of programs and collection of books and materials for children with developmental disabilities and their families, according to a press release.
The Mamaroneck School District, which includes Larchmont, has a special education classification rate of nearly 10 percent, according to the New York State Department of Education. Library representatives said they realized "that this segment of population is under served by the library and thus applied for this grant," according to the release.
The grant will fund a three-tiered program aimed at helping special needs children and their families. The first tier will provide for a series of programs called “Sensory Storytime.” The story time programs for school-aged children, will be held on Saturday mornings twice each month beginning in September and will be led by a local Speech Language Therapist.
“The unexpected can be a paralyzing fear for some children with special needs,” said Rebecca Teglas, head of Children’s Services at the library. “Sensory Storytime will be structured to alleviate those fears.”
The second tier will be for development of a story time collection of music CDs and an updating of the library’s collection of books that serve the needs of this population of children.
The third tier provides in-service training for the library’s clerical and reference staff on how to effectively interact with special needs children and their families. This training will also explore ways to expand services to include young adults.
“In addition to training for our staff, this grant provides the funding necessary for us to learn how to best support the work already done by local parent organizations and schools and we’re confident that this new service will be great resource for what is currently a segment of the community under served by the library," said Teglas.
Representatives said today’s libraries are changing rapidly in order to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
“Libraries have seen tremendous change over the past twenty years and in order to remain vibrant and successful, we have to adapt to the ever-changing needs of our community," said Library Director Laura Eckley. "This LEAP grant allows the Larchmont Public Library to adapt in such a way as to fully serve an important segment of our population that is currently under served by the library. We are hopeful that these new services will inspire other libraries in Westchester County to provide services directly to the special needs population.”
For information about the Larchmont Public Library, residents can call 914-834-2281 or visit the Larchmont Public Library website.