Friday June 10th marks the launch of an Autism Friendly Libraries training film for library staff. Following research showing that more than 9 in 10 people with autism would use their library more if some autism friendly adjustments were made, the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) is to offer training and support to all 3000 of the nation’s public libraries.
The research, conducted by social care organisation Dimensions, showed that whilst people with autism are already more likely than other people to use a library, a few changes could lead to 92% increasing their use of their local library.
The film commissioned by ASCEL and developed by Dimensions and accompanied by fact sheets, signage and social stories, has been made possible thanks to public funding by Arts Council England. It will receive its first screening today at the Society of Chief Librarians annual seminar in Warwickshire.
There are a range of support documents to download:
- Autism Friendly Libraries Top Tips
- Autism Friendly Libraries Poster – Libraries can use this when all staff have watched the film and agreed what they are going to change as a result
- Autism Friendly Libraries Social Story example based on Chelmsford Library
- Autism Friendly Libraries Social Story Template – Libraries can adapt this so that it is relevant for their own libraries (or library) and put it on their websites or local sites
- Example Library Map – Dimensions say that having a map of the library that people can access also helps people with autism understand what to expect
- Solihull Libraries have been working with Autism West Midlands (AWM) to create a Google Earth style walk through of Chelmsley Wood Library. AWM worked with the managers in Chelmsley Wood to set-up autism friendly drop-in sessions and commissioned a filmmaker to create a walk through from the library entrance to all public areas of the library to help people with autism pre-visit the library and know what to see and where to go. There is a link to the walk through from the Library’s web page. (04/07/2016)
- Social Story for the Big Friendly Read A Word document that can be adapted for your library. (30/6/2016)
Autism Friendly Libraries Sharing Good Practice
With thanks to our partners Dimensions who worked so hard to create the film and supporting documents; Arts Council England for making funding available; to Essex Libraries and Coventry Libraries for providing film venues; to all library services who shared their good practice with us; to the Society of Chief Librarians for their support and to the four young people and their families for giving us their time and sharing their thoughts.