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DML Magazine Summer 2020
Imagination Library

Dayton Metro Library Receives Disability Foundation Grant

"Books to Support Inclusion" Project

booksgrantThousands of Montgomery County citizens will benefit from an expanded collection of books for adults and children with developmental disabilities, thanks to a Disability Foundation grant awarded to the Dayton Metro Library. The $7000 grant enables the Library to purchase more than 500 new high-interest/low-vocabulary books, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults as well as children. Leadership from the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services was instrumental in helping secure funding for this literacy effort.

“Hi/Lo is an abbreviation for high interest, low vocabulary level, and it’s a term used to describe books that have more complex themes or mature subjects, written at accessible reading levels,” said Holly Varley, Collection Development Director. “These materials allow people with developmental disabilities to enjoy contemporary, relevant materials. They’re also great for English language learners and adult literacy students, too.”

Dayton Metro Library has long provided Hi/Lo reading materials through its operating budget, but the need has grown. Governor Mike DeWine has established Ohio as a “Disability Inclusion State,” making a state policy to “encourage and support individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the social and economic life of Ohio.”

There are more than 4,200 individuals served by the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and nearly 11,000 students on Individual Education Plans in Montgomery County.

“People turn to the Library for their educational and recreational opportunities,” said Varley. “Providing a wider selection of Hi/Low materials is vital to supporting individuals in our community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The Library’s Collection Development Department curated a list of materials to be purchased with the Disability Foundation grant funds. Select titles are offered in larger quantities for community-based book clubs and discussions, creating opportunities for greater inclusion and interaction among readers of all ability levels.

“This collection is tremendously helpful to agencies and community providers that work directly with groups and individuals who will enjoy them,” said Varley.

The collection can be found in DML’s online catalog using the genre search term “high interest-low vocabulary.” The search can then be narrowed further to specify target age group, type of material, popularity, and other factors.

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