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January 13
​Library Offers Sensory Storytime for Exceptional Children

County hopes to expand program in future

Storytime at Wake County Public Libraries is a great way to teach children new skills, have fun and meet potential playmates. But for some kids, the environment can be overwhelming.

That’s why Wake County Public Libraries is offering a special Sensory Storytime at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at Cameron Village Regional Library. Young children and their families are invited to participate in this interactive program with books, songs, movement and other early literacy-based activities, carefully selected to engage an exceptional audience. The program runs through April.

Modeled on WCPL’s Family Storytime, Sensory Storytime incorporates additional elements to engage children who may find the regular programs to be too much. Additions include the use of carpet squares, fidgets, lowered sound and guided pictures to indicate the program's progression.

 

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“It’s the mission of Wake County Public Libraries to instill the love of reading and to foster the pursuit of knowledge for all residents of Wake County,” said Ann Burlingame, deputy director of Wake County Public Libraries. “Our storytimes are educational and entertaining, and we want to ensure that all children are able to participate in a way in which they feel the most comfortable.”

In December 2017, all library staff attended training offered by the Autism Society of North Carolina in December 2017. Next, library professionals were trained in the elements of Sensory Storytime for exceptional audiences.

Recognizing a need for specialized programming, WCPL reached out to a local parents’ group of children with autism for guidance. This group of parents and children served as an audience to pilot the program. Participants offered feedback and suggestions to ensure the program resonated with the target audience.

Sensory Storytime has taken place at Cameron Village Regional Library since May 2019. Approximately 30 children and parents attend the weekly program.

While Sensory Storytime is currently only offered at the Cameron Village location, WCPL staff hope that with increased awareness and interest they are able to expand it to additional libraries.

The next Sensory Storytime takes place on Jan. 15. People with questions about the program can contact Sarah Lyon at sarah.lyon@wakegov.com.

About Wake County Public Libraries
In fiscal year 2019, our 22 libraries were visited more than 3.27 million times, and 232,421 people were active library cardholders.


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