Spectra Kits Illinois State Library

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) selected the Illinois State Library to receive a Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries award for purchasing and circulating Spectra Kits, which contain social robotic technologies and mobile apps that support interaction with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) patrons. These kits provide ASD patrons the ability to experiment with assistive technology in the library setting, ultimately placing the library as a provider of innovative methods for engaging ASD individuals.

Spectra Kits will be available for loan to nearly 4,000 multitype libraries in Illinois. The loan period for each kit is 4 weeks. Types of social robots available include the 58cm humanoid robot NAO, the Robauto Biblibot Developer Kit, the Cozmo, and the Aisoy. The NAO robot is supplemented with the Ask NAO Autism Solution For Kids, and the Biblibot is a maker kit that utilizes an operating system which demonstrates swarm robotics.

Spectra Kits also include iPads with pre-installed apps designed to aid in communication, visual scheduling including social stories, and assistive technology for caregivers.

Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries Program

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries are a special funding opportunity within the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. These small grants encourage libraries and archives to test and evaluate specific innovations in the ways they operate and the services they provide. Sparks Grants support the deployment, testing, and evaluation of promising and groundbreaking new tools, products, services, or organizational practices. You may propose activities or approaches that involve risk, as long as the risk is balanced by significant potential for improvement in the ways libraries and archives serve their communities.

Other Illinois State Library Autism Initiatives


For more information about the Spectra Kits, please call 217–782–7573 or email mhenninger@ilsos.net.