Walton and Tipton Township Library receives national grant for small and rural libraries

Last Updated on March 6, 2024 by Walton & Tipton Township Public Library

$10,000 grant will help the library work with residents with autism

WALTON — Walton & Tipton Township Public Library has been selected as one of 310 libraries to participate in round two of Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities.

The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library provide autistic individuals and caregivers access to support groups and sensory items.

We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Library Director Kristi Hileman. “This grant will allow our library to get to know our autistic residents better. It will help us improve our services to ensure everyone feels welcome and comfortable in our space.”

As part of the grant, the Walton & Tipton Township Public Library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host a conversation with residents about autism and use the grant funds to provide sensory items for patron usage and work toward bringing a therapist to Walton who could host sessions in the Library’s Community Room for local parents and other caregivers of autistic children and adults.

“As director of the library, I have met many wonderful family members with children who have been diagnosed with autism. However, many tell me that they have to go outside the Walton community to receive help. I am hoping this grant will allow us to bring help to these families. They will be able to stay in their own community and receive assistance.”

“We also will be purchasing sensory materials, including various toys and games,” said Hileman. “I am hoping to receive community input regarding the types of materials that would be best for children with autism. I don’t pretend to be an expert in autism. I need the input from family members. After all, this grant is for the community. The library is simply a catalyst in bringing about this important offering.”

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Kristi Hileman at, or visit for more information.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”

SOURCE: News release from Walton & Tipton Township Public Library

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