SCLSNJ Enhances Services for Disabled Persons
March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, during which the country aims “to help raise awareness about the inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in all areas of community life.” In order to reach this community, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) continues to enhance their services and programs to better serve persons with disabilities.
“SCLSNJ strives to foster a sense of safety, connection, and belonging in our libraries,” said Nanette Peterson, branch manager. “We hope to remove barriers to our materials and services that impact utilization while offering people with impairments more independence, and control.”
According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities, over 1,200 adults in Somerset County are eligible for their services.
“In response to the state’s continued initiative to move individuals from its developmental centers into the community, more adults with developmental disabilities are living in the community every day,” said Jennifer Sulligan, civic services supervisor. “At SCLSNJ, we are committed to addressing the needs of this shifting demographic by striving to improve the accessibility of our spaces, resources, and services.”
Throughout the month of March and beyond, the Library System will offer a series of virtual programs that foster the needs of adults and children with disabilities. The programs include a disability awareness panel discussion that will help attendees learn about local resources and support service available; an information session that helps navigate college and career resources; and an engaging, all ages and abilities music, bubble, and comedy show.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented many challenges in reaching individuals with developmental disabilities, and our staff is aware of just how isolating quarantine has been for this population,” said Lynn Mazur, youth services supervisor. “We are so delighted to be able to offer programs through a virtual platform, and we are excited about connecting with our patrons online.”
She continued, “While all of SCLSNJ’s programs are open to the public, programs such as the upcoming music, bubble, and comedy show with Matt Mazur (no relation to Library employee) are specifically designed to create library experiences that are especially welcoming to individuals on the autism spectrum or with other intellectual or developmental disabilities.”
The music, bubble, and comedy show was designed by Matt Mazur, who created Turtle Dance Music and AutismFriendlyShows.com, to “help kids come out of their shells.”
“Over the last decade I have had the pleasure of working with 10s of 1000s of children, teens, and adults with autism, including my brother-in-law and co-author, Tim Shaw (whose book Scrak’s Big Adventure we published, illustrated and co-wrote together),” said Mazur. “[At Turtle Dance Music] we have been working hard to translate our live/in-person sensory-friendly music experience to the virtual world. Live streaming is connecting more parents and new parents who might not have used the Library System before to how incredible the Library System is.”
#BeSafeAtHome and explore virtual programs with your Library:
Disability Awareness Panel Discussion (adults)
● March 8, 7-8 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4723786.
Music, Bubble, and Comedy Show (all ages)
● March 9, 4:30-5:15 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4652088. Show And Share – An
Event For Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (adults)
● March 11, 2-3 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4711308.
Sensory Time – STEAM Edition (families with children): 10:30-11 a.m. Register now:
● March 20: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4702995.
● April 24: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4702277.
American Sign Language Storytime (ages birth – 5 years and caregivers): 10:30-11 a.m. Register now:
● March 23: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4635120.
● April 27: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4635123.
● May 25: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4635125.
STEP Up Social Hour – Navigating College and Career Resources (grades 9-12)
● March 29, 4-5 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4704139.
About Somerset County Library System of New Jersey
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) partners with you to connect, to explore, to share and to discover. Together we enrich lives, expand knowledge and strengthen communities. SCLSNJ branches can be found in Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Hillsborough, Manville, North Plainfield, Peapack & Gladstone, Rocky Hill at Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, Somerville, Warren Township, and Watchung. Additionally, there are two SCLSNJ reading stations in Branchburg and Washington Valley. Visit SCLSNJ.org.