Libraries as Community Connectors
Issue #4
5 August 2021
Welcome to our fourth newsletter. The Libraries as Community Connectors project develops professional expertise to enhance inclusion and access for young children with disability or developmental delay and their families. Libraries will become a public space to be enjoyed by everyone.

In this issue, we’re excited to share news of the project’s impact among participating libraries and new video resources. In response to the pandemic, the team is also developing more support for library staff online.

As restrictions and stay-at-home orders extend, we hope you are keeping well, finding silver linings… and enjoying some books! Take care and stay safe in these uncertain times.

The Libraries as Community Connectors team
We now have libraries in over ten Local Government Areas enrolled in the Libraries as Community Connectors program, with over 60 library staff participating. As the training is self-paced, some participants have completed all the learning modules, and others are working through them week-to-week.

Several of the LGAs have enrolled a second group of staff after seeing the benefits of the pilot, which is great news! Feedback so far has been very promising—for many participants it the first training they have received on inclusion at the library.

Further resources to support the modules are under development, and will continue to be shared with participants over the duration of the project. Feedback from library staff has been fantastic for enhancing the modules. We will share new content in our newsletters and directly with libraries and participants as the pilot progresses.
We have recently completed two videos for LearnDash. Feedback from library participants included requests for a variety of resources to support the learning material. These videos have been in the works for some time, and will further diversify and support existing content. Look out for more resources in the future!
Alternative communication methods for inclusive library storytimes
Resources for running inclusive storytimes at libraries
Although we face more weeks of uncertainty due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Libraries and Community Connectors team continues to deliver beneficial resources and training for our pilot libraries. Despite public library closures, there have been some wonderful opportunities and outcomes:

Increased participation in learning modules
We have seen not only an increase in participant numbers; many library staff members shared that they now have the capacity to complete the modules. Having time to stop, learn and reflect during the library closures will greatly benefit families once services resume.

Shift to online programs
We are now working with several libraries to move their early childhood programs online and incorporate program directives. Online programs are a great way to support families and children in becoming familiar with group times at the library, and help immune-compromised children to participate.

Developing online mentoring
Many library staff shared that they would benefit from mentoring from allied health professionals and parent peer workers. We are now working on methods to deliver this as online sessions with the Libraries team members or Plumtree therapists over the coming months.

Plumtree collaborates with libraries to promote inclusion 
The National Disability Insurance Agency funds Plumtree for a project providing resources and training to enhance the library experience for children with disability and their families.
Accessible libraries are vital for parents, carers, and the entire family to build connections, social supports and become a part of the local community. Read more
Plumtree is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for both young children aged birth to 8 years old who have a developmental delay or disability and their families. Our vision is a society where children with disabilities and developmental delays, and their families, are supported to have a full life in the community.

Plumtree has been a trusted community-based organisation for over 30 years. We draw on the diverse expertise of our staff to provide tailored support for children and families, including education, therapy, information and training in a variety of settings — in the home, at the child’s preschool, child care centre or school, at our Marrickville centre and in other community settings and online.

We have an outstanding team who work from the heart, bringing a diversity of expertise and deep knowledge to a nurturing environment where families no longer feel isolated but instead feel more cared for and informed. We also proudly pioneer innovative new ways to help our families. We are big enough so, our team can provide a depth of expertise to you and your child yet small enough to really care and influence the community we work with.
@plumtree2204 @plumtree2204
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