Shropshire Council

Shropshire Libraries are Autism Friendly Libraries!

26 March 2018 Last updated at 10:55

Shropshire Libraries are proud to launch Autism Friendly Libraries to celebrate World Autism Awareness Week.  With the use of the Autism Friendly Libraries’ toolkit which was developed by Dimensions, a social care organisation, and ASCEL (Association of Senior Children and Educational Librarians) staff have been trained to be aware of the issues that may become barriers to the use of our libraries by those with autism.

Research, conducted by 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.  It has shown clearly that the major barrier is awareness of autism, amongst library staff and library users alike.  Respondents didn’t want much: a little kindness, to be not judged, and for a few simple adaptations to allow for sensory sensitivities. 

Alongside the staff training and awareness raising we have developed social stories for each branch so that people can trace their journey through the library in advance of their visit to the library.  This makes it clear what to expect and know what to look for to make their visit enjoyable.  These are all available from the our websiteEach library’s homepage has an Autism Friendly link through to the social stories.

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure says

“Libraries have a responsibility to ensure inclusivity for all.  The role that libraries have in our communities is changing and growing so it is vital that everyone can feel comfortable using the space.  We welcome the proactive role that Shropshire Libraries are taking in ensuring that the needs of people with autism are addressed.”

To celebrate Autism Awareness Week Victoria Honeybourne, the author of a practical guide to happiness in children and teens on the autism spectrum’ will be giving talks in Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Shrewsbury Libraries.  Contact the libraries listed below directly by phone or find your nearest library to book on to one of the talks.

Bridgnorth Library
Wednesday 28 March - 2pm
Tel: 01746 763358

Shrewsbury Library
Thursday 5 April - 11am
Tel: 01743 255308

Ludlow Library
Friday 6 April - 2pm
Tel: 01743 250510

Email to find out more about this initiative. 

Contact ASCEL Chair