Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum
A Practical Guide for Academic Libraries
by Rachel M. McMullin and Kerry R. Walton
April 2019, 144pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-6396-7
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6397-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Provides much-needed background information and concrete strategies for academic librarians and staff working with students with autism spectrum disorder.

This book will be invaluable for those in the academic library who want to understand how best to serve students on the autism spectrum and how those students can contribute to the library.

As a large number of students on the autism spectrum come of age and enter college, increased awareness of autism spectrum disorder is necessary among those who work in academic libraries so that they can respond to and meet the unique needs of these students.

This book fills a scholarship gap while serving as a practical resource for working with the neurodivergent student population in academic libraries. McMullin and Walton explain issues that are likely to arise when interacting with students on the autism spectrum and offer practical solutions for handling them. They discuss how to work with neurodiverse students in different contexts, including at service points, in the classroom, as employees, and through outreach programs. They highlight possible concerns about the physical environment of the library and demonstrate ways that the library can be an especially positive place for students with ASD. Personal anecdotes from students with autism as well as library faculty and staff round out this valuable work.


  • Serves as an essential resource on how to serve students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Offers an overview of characteristics of students with ASD that is tailored to those working in academic libraries and shows how those characteristics will affect various types of interactions
  • Provides practical solutions for common issues that librarians/ and staff may encounter when communicating with ASD students
  • Features tips and ideas for librarians and library staff working at service points (e.g.i.e., reference desk, circulation, etc.) and in the instruction classroom
Rachel M. McMullin, PhD, MSIS, is an associate professor and humanities/information literacy librarian at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She works closely with students as a reference and instruction librarian who teaches more than 100 library information literacy sessions a year.

Kerry R. Walton, MLIS, is an assistant professor and electronic resources and instruction librarian at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she provides reference services, instruction, and support for electronic resources to students, faculty, and staff. Prior to working at West Chester, Kerry provided reference and instruction at branch campuses for Delaware County Community College, where she worked closely with diverse student populations.


"Required reading for all librarians, particularly those in K–12 and academic libraries, and a solid choice for all educational professionals."—Library Journal, Starred Review, October 1, 2019

"All academic librarians and administrators would benefit from reading and implementing the recommendations in this book."—C&RL News, May 1, 2020
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