Library teams making facility inclusive for everyone 

by Gazette Reporter
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Cllr Angela Donnelly said :“Fingal’s library team have risen to the challenge of continuing to make the library inclusive for all.

In response to a motion, I submitted requesting more inclusive facilities in Blanchardstown library, Brian Mulcahy, Senior Executive Librarian stated:

“Blanchardstown Library endeavours to cater for all in the different ways the library is used. Our staff are trained in dealing with patrons with varying needs, including the spectrum of neurodiversity. We are working with neurodiverse champions ASIAM to attain accreditation as an “Autism Friendly Space”. This process involves ASIAM staff training, to better understand and care for the needs of patrons with Autism.”

“The library currently offers a sensory hour when the lights are dimmed and as much noise as possible is reduced. This is offered weekly on a Monday evening from 6.30 – 7.30pm and patrons with neurodiverse needs are encouraged to use this time to enjoy the library as a lowered sensory space. 

“Due to feedback from local families with a neurodiverse member, Blanchardstown Library has taken the decision to move the Sensory Pod into the main event room to make it more discreet and in keeping with the needs of the user. This also has the dual effect of protecting the Pod so it can be available for use when needed.

“With the movement of the Pod, the Library is now able to offer a further service by including a Bluetooth speaker which can play calming playlists to the user based on their needs. 

“The feedback received to date has been very positive regarding the move. By packaging the Tovertafel Table and Sensory Pod in the main event space we aim to create a room where patrons with various sensory needs can enjoy the library without the fear of disturbing other users. Sensory resource backpacks are also available for use in our main event room. 

“These contain fidget kits, fibre optic lights, an ocean wave projector with sounds and speaker, a wind-up dynamo torch, zip fidget bracelets, a cuddle ball, a weighted blanket, a weighted lap pad, a shape matching box, storytelling cards for speech therapy, a sensory pillow and ear defenders. In addition, the library has a variety of sensory toys which can be borrowed from the branch. To complement the measures outlined above and to build on the sensory friendly equipment which has been added to our main event room.

“Blanchardstown Library proposes to pilot dedicated sensory time into this space. As this event room is in high demand both for library activities and for external groups, we will pilot a dedicated hour for three days in the week initially to gauge demand. The library encourages families with neurodiverse needs, to contact us so that we can agree upon time slots that would best suit.”

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