To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Building bridges: librarians and autism spectrum disorder

James Cho (Adelphi University, Garden City, New York, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 5 October 2018

Issue publication date: 21 November 2018




This paper aims to convey the experiences of an academic librarian in providing services to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) so that it may aide other librarians who also work with these students.


This paper does this by detailing a support program, the Bridges to Adelphi Program, for students on the spectrum and illustrates the nature of the disorder, strategies that have been used in working with these students and reflections on and implications of these strategies.


This paper provides information on practical strategies used and in detail descriptions of this work and conveys findings on which strategies are used and why and which strategies succeeded and which did not.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of this paper is that other universities may not have a well-organized and well-developed support program such as the Bridges to Adelphi Program. However, it does provide advice on working with students on the spectrum even in the absence of such a program. Future avenues for research include the collection and evaluation of data on learning outcomes that these techniques have on students with ASD.

Practical implications

The specific librarian interventions detailed in this paper will provide advice and models that other librarians can use.


This paper is distinguished from other scholarship in that it is addressed to the librarian and not teaching faculty, and in the small amount of literature that is addressed to the librarian, this paper differs in that it does not solely offer suggestions but provides a real-world accounting of strategies and interventions used.



Cho, J. (2018), "Building bridges: librarians and autism spectrum disorder", Reference Services Review, Vol. 46 No. 3, pp. 325-339.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited