If a library could be described in one word, that word is “community.”
In order to facilitate an inclusive community environment, the Cumberland County Library provides resources, programs and services to meet the diverse needs of our residents. With the goals of belonging and inclusion in mind, each Cumberland County Public Library location has a sensory kit for patrons to use while visiting the library.
These sensory kits contain various objects to aid in sensory processing, such as noise-reducing headphones, weighted lap pads, fidgets, busy boards, sunglasses and essential oils.
The library also offers sensory story times, which are programs that promote early literacy and learning while providing an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance for children with special needs, different abilities and neurodiversity.
Sensory story time is an exploration of the senses for those who do not experience sensations in traditional ways, including sensory-seeking, sensory-avoiding or a combination of the two. Special sensory story times offer a different experience than traditional story time.
Features may include dimmer lighting and activities that promote a calming reaction for those who may shy away from stimuli, or more high energy and interactive activities for those who seek out sensory stimuli. Other components of sensory story time include encouraging and supporting communication by incorporating American Sign Language learning, as well as offering fidgets with varying textures and sensory props.
Sensory kits and story times are fantastic opportunities for those with sensory processing needs to have an inclusive experience within the library and during programs.
Cumberland County Public Library encourages diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging for the community.
For more information about these or other programs, visit the library’s website at cumberlandcountync.gov/library or call 910-483-7727.
Kelly Baker is youth services associate at the Hope Mills Community Library.