Library catering for special needs

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Community connections librarian Saniya Thompson poses with some of the items from the sensory box which has been offered by Invercargill City Library staff to people with special needs.
Some of the objects offered in the sensory box.

THE Invercargill city library team has a sensible and simple gesture to make the space more inclusive and safe for visitors with special needs.

Community connections librarian Saniya Thompson said the library had been working with Autism New Zealand and Learning Differences Aotearoa Trust to offer a ‘‘sensory box’’with
weighted lap blanket, ear muffs, dark glasses and a variety of fidgets and sensory items for people with neurodiversity.

It can be beneficial to those experiencing anxiety, she said.

‘‘We have items aiming to calm different senses — if it is too loud, they can put the ear muffs on, if it is too bright the sunglasses . . . ’’

The kit was accessible for everyone at the help desk and feedback about the initiative was welcomed, she said.

Mrs Thompson said the library team was always looking for opportunities to make everyone feel safe and comfortable.

She would like to promote an event for people with special needs where they could bring lunch and spend some time together.

‘‘We are a community place and we want to serve our community in the best way we can. So we are trying to catering for people with different experiences and needs. We want to everyone feel the library is their safe place.’’

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