Grapevine Public Library becomes first 'sensory inclusive certified' library in Texas

The Grapevine Public Library is now the state’s first sensory inclusive library after receiving its certification from nonprofit KultureCity, according to an Aug. 16 news release from the city. The library has committed to improvements that will accommodate guests with sensory needs or sensory processing disorders. 

These include individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety and other health conditions, according to the news release. 

KultureCity is an advocacy organization dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities or sensory needs. It offers programs that promote acceptance and inclusivity, according to the KultureCity website. 

“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,” the news release reads. “One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over-stimulation and noise, which is an enormous part of their environment.”

Certifying with the KultureCity Sensory Inclusive program means library staff has received training from medical professionals on how to recognize visitors with sensory needs, according to the news release. Visitors are now able to check out sensory bags, which are filled with noise-canceling earmuffs, fidget toys and weighted lap pads.

“Our objective is to provide a positive experience for all our guests, including those with sensory needs,” Grapevine Public Library Director Ruth Chiego said in the news release. “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.” 

KultureCity also offers a mobile app that provides resources and identifies other sensory-inclusive locations.
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.