Recommending with Confidence Seminar 2019

Youth Library Group present

Recommending with Confidence Seminar 2019

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Source Arts Centre, Thurles, County Tipperary

About the Seminar

The Youth Library Group aims to promote and highlight library services to children and young people. Each year our Recommending with Confidence seminar is our key programme event that delivers on these aims. For 2019, we are delighted to host several notable speakers in two areas – Autism and Teenagers & Reading.

Our library spaces have changed considerably over the years. Library spaces can be described as a community hub, bustling with activities for all ages. Our spaces are more than ever seen as welcoming, inspirational, neutral and safe but for some children and young people with autism; it can be a challenging and a stressful experience to enter this space. Our speakers will give insight into Autism, being a parent to a child on the spectrum and how we can create autism friendly library space.

There are many good examples of library programming for young adults across the country. However, we do recognise that keeping young adults engaged with library services and particularly reading for pleasure, can be a challenge. We must also recognise that in the modern fast paced world we inhabit, young people simply have more to contend with. The speakers we have engaged will give us some insight into this subject, tips on how to engage, how to set up a teen book club and how to choose relevant reading materials.

If you are looking for some ideas on how to make your library autism friendly or on how to engage with young adults – then this is the seminar for you!  Our unmissable seminar will give you an opportunity to hear practical tips from several inspirational speakers, to network with fellow colleagues, and take back some exciting ideas to share at your place of work.

Download the programme.


10.00 am Tea/Coffee/Registration
10.30 am Welcome
10.40am Fiona Ferris – Difference as a Strength
12.20pm Erica Egan – Autism Friendly Communities
1pm Lunch
1.45pm Lou-Ellen Kiely – Autism Friendly Programmes in Irish Public Libraries: Considerations, Benefits and Challenges
2.10pm Lorraine Levis – “How do I switch it on?” The teen market and how you can help promote a love of reading in teens
3.00pm Katie Dickson – Teen Library Team
3.30pm Summary/Evaluation


About the Speakers/Projects:

Fiona Ferris:  ‘Difference as a strength’

Fiona Ferris is Deputy CEO of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity and Advocacy Organisation. Fiona joined the AsIAm team in 2017 as an Early Years Specialist to design and deliver the Teach Me As I Am programme. She wished to combine her own experiences of being autistic and as a parent to a child on the spectrum to promote a strengths based-approach to difference.

Erica Egan:  ‘Autism friendly communities’

Erica will talk about the process of creating Autism friendly communities and why it benefits everyone.  She will discuss the importance of local people getting involved and the challenges they faced.

Erica is an Autism-Friendly Communities Project Coordinator. She supports and coordinates communities around Ireland to help them achieve AsIAm autism-friendly accreditation.  Erica is a recent graduate of Dublin City University having studied a BSc. in Health and Society. Erica became involved with AsIAm during her final year at university. It was during this time that she coordinated and liaised with the key stakeholders and created evidence-based guidelines to promote the social engagement of autistic students on the Dublin City University Campus.

Katie Dickson: Teen Library Team

Katie qualified with her MLIS from UCD in 2014, receiving both the Wilson Foundation Award and the Public Libraries Research Prize on graduating. Katie has been working as a school librarian since 2015. She runs a busy library with almost 900 patrons in St Dominic’s College, a girls’ secondary school in Cabra, Dublin 7.

Katie will be talking about the process of setting up a team of teenage library volunteers in her school. Now in its third year, the team has proven extremely beneficial for the library, especially programme attendance and participation. Borrowing has also increased dramatically, and student feedback has been positive about the initiative. Overall, Katie credits the library team for increasing the relevance of the school library and keeping it at the centre of school life. Katie will talk about why she set it up, what has (and has not) worked and how she would recommend others avoid certain pitfalls she has encountered.

Lorraine Levi: “How do I switch it on?” The teen market and how you can help promote a love of reading in teens.

Lorraine is a children’s bookseller turned executive for Penguin Random House Ireland. Through her years of running a children’s department, Lorraine has become a name in the industry for book recommendations and market knowledge. Last year she was awarded the Pan Macmillan Independent Bookshop Innovation Award for her work on promoting teen literacy and developing a true passion for reading in young people.

Teens can be hard to understand at the best of times, knowing how to engage them with literature outside of the school curriculum can be even harder. Lorraine will be guiding us through the big trends for teen and young adult readers and discussing how we can use this knowledge to effectively to stock our libraries and make the most of our spaces for young readers. She will also speak about how to introduce more advanced content safely and how to bridge difficult topics through literature.

Lou-Ellen Kiely: ‘Role of Public Libraries in Assisting Users with Autism.’

Having worked in the financial sector for 17 years Lou-Ellen decided to changing careers to try to become a librarian. Lou-Ellen graduated from Dublin Business School with her MSc in Information and Library Management in 2018. Since completing the Masters, Lou-Ellen has been working in a graduate research position.

Lou-Ellen’s dissertation topic was “The Role of Public Libraries in Assisting Users with Autism”. She picked this topic as Lou-Ellen has a close family member with profound special needs and is interested in the area of special needs and services available. This exploratory study collected data from individuals with experience of autism (either themselves or a family member) and from librarians working in libraries that offer autism friendly services. Lou-Ellen will present a summary of the key findings from the research, give examples of best practices that she has encountered and advise on any recommendations she would make in order to make public libraries more autism friendly.


How to Book:

Book through Eventbrite at


Enquiries to YLG Secretary at


Seminar Fee: €40 per person and light lunch will be provided.  Payment made when making booking through Eventbrite.

LIS students are exempt from the fee – LIS students are to contact the YLG Secretary to book.


The Youth Library Group

The Youth Libraries Group, generally known as the YLG, is a very active Group of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI). It aims to promote children’s books, reading activities and library services to young people through various programmes.

The Group organises seminars, workshops, and lectures on themes relating to children’s books and children’s libraries. Some members of the YLG serve on committees concerned with policy for school libraries and general library services to children.

The group provides a great mechanism to network, to find out what is happening in library service for young people and to share and exchange ideas of good practice.

We are always looking for new members to join. If you want to find out further information about the group go to  or email the secretary at




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