Shropshire Libraries are proud to launch Autism-Friendly Libraries, to celebrate World Autism Awareness Week (26 March 2018 – 2 April 2018). With the use of the Autism-Friendly Libraries toolkit which was developed by Dimensions, a social care organisation, and the Association of Senior Children and Educational Librarians (ASCEL), staff have been trained to be aware of the issues that may become barriers to the use of our libraries by those with autism.
Research, conducted by Dimensions, showed that whilst people with autism are already more likely than other people to use a library, a few changes could lead to 92% increasing their use of their local library. It has shown clearly that the major barrier is awareness of autism, amongst library staff and library users alike. Respondents didn’t want much: a little kindness, to not be judged, and for a few simple adaptations to allow for sensory sensitivities.
Alongside the staff training and awareness raising, we have developed social stories for each branch so that people can trace their journey through the library in advance of their visit to the library. This makes it clear what to expect and know what to look for to make their visit enjoyable. These are all available from the library website. Each library’s homepage has an Autism-friendly link through to the social stories.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said:-
“Libraries have a responsibility to ensure inclusivity for all. The role that libraries have in our communities is changing and growing so it is vital that everyone can feel comfortable using the space. We welcome the proactive role that Shropshire Libraries are taking in ensuring that the needs of people with autism are addressed.”
To celebrate Autism Awareness Week, Victoria Honeybourne, the author of a practical guide to happiness in children and teens on the autism spectrum, will be giving talks in libraries in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Shrewsbury. Contact the libraries listed below directly by phone or through the website at https://shropshire.gov.uk/libraries/ to book into the talks.
Wednesday 28 March 2pm
Thursday 5 April 11am
Friday 6 April 2pm
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about this initiative.