No Silence Please
We have google, we have wikipedia, we have YouTube and so many other sources to discover information but for our family there’s still a huge amount of magic going down to the Library. Not only are we supporting a local community service, but with every book you rent, the author of that book gets a little commission so that feels good as well. The smell of all those books, the choices of stories and peoples imaginations, illustrations and of course time always seems to stand still as you browse the ‘blurb’ on the reverse of the books to see which grabs your interest at that point.
However the library experience isn’t always that easy, magical or relaxing and for some parents and children for many years it hasn’t really been quite stressful. The library has traditionally held the golden rule of etiquette which has been; Shhhhh, talk quietly, in whispers and respect other people’s study, focus and concentration needs.
But what about our children who are autistic? Requesting their silence doesn’t work, they connect with that rule we have easily and suppressing their need to express themselves when they need to is a restraint that won’t happen.
No Silence Please
Campaigners have launched a network of autism friendly libraries in England allowing parents to take their children who love with autism to enjoy this wonderful space free from judgement, being stared at and criticised.
There is a need to support library staff with awareness training and accessibility improvements to the design of the library’s themselves such as calm spaces, low calm music, awareness material and posters around. Dimensions and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) are working to evolve England’s 3,000 or so public libraries into more welcoming venues for people who have autism. What a fantastic cause to be aware of and support.
This movement began in 2016 so we’ll definitely be watching this unfold and we look forward to keeping you updated.