Recruiting and Supporting Employees Who Are Neurodivergent


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Employees who are neurodivergent bring unique and specific skills to the library, yet too often are faced with accessibility challenges and underutilized by their employers. This on-demand webinar focuses on how to successfully attract, retain, and collaborate with coworkers who are neurodivergent in public libraries. It also covers the benefits of a neurodivergent workforce and provides specific recommendations that managers can use to improve relationships and build trust. At the same time, self-advocates will gain strategies to help when asking for accommodations, guidance on collaborating with coworkers, and insights for improving the work environment for all.

Originally presented February 28, 2023.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the specific skill sets of employees who are neurodivergent;
  • Implement practical and inexpensive techniques to improve accessibility in their workplace; and
  • Gain management insight and tips on collaborating with a variety of neurotypes.

Who Should Attend

This on-demand webinar is intended for all public library staff, including those who are themselves neurodivergent or who have coworkers who are neurodivergent; library managers looking for guidance on best practices with regard to accessibility; and administrators with human resources responsibilities.


Kate ThompsonKate Thompson is a reference librarian at the West Des Moines (IA) Public Library and disability advocate interested in expanding perspectives around neurological difference. She is a graduate of the Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute and a former member of the Olmstead Task Force, the State of Iowa group tasked with upholding the intention of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kate has presented to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Social Responsibilities Roundtable, The Library Collective, the Iowa Library Association, KidsFirst Iowa, the Arkansas Library Association Reference and Instruction Services Community, and the 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative. She was a contributor to the recent book Library Programming for Autistic Children and Teens, published in 2021 by the ALA. Her writing can be found online in the blogs of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, American Libraries, and Des Moines Parent.

Rachel BussanRachel Bussan is collection services specialist at the West Des Moines (IA) Public Library and disability advocate who focuses on increasing acceptance and awareness for neurological differences, with a concentration on mental illness and autism. She obtained her MLIS from the University of Iowa in 2007. Rachel is currently serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Core Committee for the City of West Des Moines, which is in the two-year process of creating an action plan that will focus on improving City services, employment, and outreach for marginalized groups, including those who are neurodivergent. She has presented to the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Roundtable, the Iowa Library Association, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation, the Arkansas Library Association Reference and Instruction Services Community, and the Autism Society of Iowa.


Important Registration Information

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Redeem your signup code to complete your registration

Once you’ve registered for this on-demand webinar, a signup code will be added to your ALA eLearning account and emailed to you. Find the signup code on your signup code page, then redeem it on your account’s dashboard to complete your enrollment in this on-demand webinar.

Review the ALA eLearning FAQ if you need more information.


This on-demand webinar is closed captioned in English (United States).

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your access to this on-demand webinar, please contact us at or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) prior to registering so we can attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Tech Requirements

To play this on-demand webinar you should use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Edge. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.


This webinar is presented by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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