NASHUA, NH – Nashua Public Library reinforces its mission to be a welcoming and inclusive community center by taking steps to create sensory spaces for adults during its events and programs.
“We are always looking for ways to make our library more accessible,” said Jennifer McCormack, director of the Nashua Public Library. “We recognized that we were not serving the neurodiverse community as well as we could have been at our adult events. As we learn more about their wide range of needs, we have begun to take steps to ensure that everyone can enjoy and benefit from our programs in an environment where they can thrive,” said said McCormack.
As part of this project, the library consulted with community organizations who provided feedback on the barriers preventing people with autism and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities or who are neurodiverse from participating in library programs.
In response, the library began offering sensory rooms in September, beginning with a concert with Symphony NH. This week, a sensory experience will be offered during a Stranger Things Quiz Night. A separate room will have soft lighting and less noise, chairs will be movable, and game questions will be displayed on a large TV with a countdown timer. The event will also include a free waffle bar, prizes, extra costume points and a Polaroid selfie station.
Future goals for the library to support the neurodiverse community include offering sensory kits for adults to borrow during library visits and a social storyline with details and illustrations to help adults with autism understand what they can do expect when they visit the library. The library is also planning several upcoming sensory film screenings. Likewise, it recently began using its cinema space to be more inclusive of new parents and caregivers by airing “Stroller Matinees” film screenings. Screenings are a baby-friendly, non-judgmental space for adults to enjoy movies with babies who might otherwise not be welcome in traditional movie theaters.
The library is interested in hearing additional feedback from the neurodiverse community about their experiences browsing the library. Anyone wishing to provide feedback is encouraged to contact Pamela Baker, Programming and Marketing Librarian, at [email protected]
The Nashua Public Library is located at 2 Court St., Nashua. Questions? 603-589-4600.