We provided additional accessibility, by placing visuals for each service area and activity around the library.
Our Youth Librarian, Andy, created some fabulous sensory bins for the Youth Room. Kids could dig through the cornmeal "sand" in the one side of this bin and play with sea creatures in a blue jello "sea" on the other side. A larger bin was also filled with water and sponge sailboats.
We also placed many of our adapted toys, books and kits from the Special Needs Collection on tables for families to try out and even check out later to play with at home. Simple crafts to help encourage fine motor development were also placed on tables.
Sometimes overstimulation can still occur, so we provided a "cool-down" space in our story room for folks to retreat to. We dimmed the lights and provided small weighted lap pads, sensory cushions to sit on, a pop-up tent with pillows for those seeking an "enclosed space" (tall enough to accommodate an adult), a visual timer, sound reduction headphones, and fidgets for those needing additional sensory input to self-regulate or "chill."
A yoga instructor from Belightful Yoga led a relaxing adapted yoga session for youth and adults with special needs alongside their caregivers. How often do you get the chance to do yoga in the middle of the library?!
The Adult Services area also had crafts and popular games in a larger format for those who may have difficulty with fine motor skills.
To wrap up the evening, our friendly circulation staff members helped our attendees check out their materials.
We were so delighted to see faces that we don't see on a regular basis at the library. Many families with special needs, who may have avoided visiting the library before, expressed their gratitude for this stress-free evening and are excited to return next time.