116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The national not-for-profit KultureCity has partnered with the Cedar Rapids Public Library to make the library and its programs and events sensory inclusive.
This new initiative fosters an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and patrons with a sensory issue who visit the downtown or Ladd Library facilities, according to a news release.
“It is important for the library to be a welcoming place for everyone in our community,” Cedar Rapids Public Library Executive Director Dara Schmidt said in a statement. “Being certified sensory inclusive is an important step toward achieving our goals of access and inclusion.”
The certification process involved library staff being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those patrons with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation.
Sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones from Puro Sound Labs, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads are available to all guests at either library who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. The libraries also offer designated quiet areas marked with signage for those who may need a quieter, more secure environment.
People with autism, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder and similar conditions often experience sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation, such as sensitivity to overstimulation and noise. According to the library, it now is better equipped to assist guests with sensory sensitivities and ensure an accommodating experience.
Before visiting the library, families may download the free KultureCity app to view what sensory features are available and where to access them. There also are Social Stories on the app for both the downtown and Ladd Libraries, which will provide a preview of what to expect when visiting the library. They also can be viewed on the KultureCity website or on CRLibrary.org:
“Our communities are what shape our lives, and to know the Cedar Rapids Public Library is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing,” KultureCity Executive Director Uma Srivastava said in a statement. “We’re honored to partner with the Cedar Rapids Public Library to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests.”
KultureCity is recognized nationwide for using its resources to effect change for those with sensory needs. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created over 700 sensory-inclusive venues in four countries, including special events such as the NFL Pro-Bowl, NFL Super Bowl, MLB World Series and MLB All Star Weekend.
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