Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine library making history with accommodations for those with sensory needs

Visitors to the Grapevine Public Library with sensory needs can now get a sensory bag at the information desk that includes noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and weighted lap pads.
Visitors to the Grapevine Public Library with sensory needs can now get a sensory bag at the information desk that includes noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and weighted lap pads. Courtesy

The Grapevine Public Library has become the first in the state to become sensory inclusive, city officials report.

The library is the first in Texas to receive official certification through KultureCity on its sensory awareness initiative. Through this program, the library has improved its ability to assist and accommodate guests with sensory needs.

The library became certified via staff training, the provision of sensory bags, and other simple signage and modifications to help create a more accepting and inclusive environment for all visitors.

City officials cited statistics that show one in six individuals have a sensory need in the United States. Sensory needs are a common medical condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information and common sounds, lights, crowds, and even certain scents may be overwhelming.

One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over-stimulation and noise.

“Our objective is to provide a positive experience for all our guests, including those with sensory needs,” Grapevine Public Library Director Ruth Chiego said. “We strive to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory processing disorders by supplying our library team with up-to-date training and by offering resources to our guests.”

Library staff participated in training created by medical professionals on how to recognize library visitors with sensory needs. Individuals with Autism, ADHD, Down syndrome, PTSD, Cerebral palsy and anxiety often experience sensory issues.

Sensory bags filled with items such as noise canceling headphones, fidget toys, and weighted lap pads are also now available at the checkout desk.

“I am incredibly proud of the Grapevine Public Library staff and their efforts in obtaining the certification required to make them the first sensory-inclusive certified library in the state,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said. “Grapevine is proud to be home to an all-inclusive library where everyone is invited to learn, play, create, engage, and grow in a safe environment.”

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