It’s no secret we love a good storytime here in the Children’s Department. With an average of 18 programs and 368 attendees per week, both patrons and staff spend a lot of time in our little storytime room. If you walk by, it’s not unusual to see a dance party with scarves or shaker eggs in hand under color-changing lights with bubbles floating in the air. Stories, both written and verbal, are being shared, and it’s a fun way to spend a little bit of time every day.

Speaking of stories, let me tell you a little bit of mine!

I grew up the big sister of a little brother with complex medical needs. He couldn’t walk or talk, had a feeding tube in his belly and had frequent seizures, among several other issues. Over the years, I became good at advocating for him, myself as a sibling and our family as a whole. This desire to help only grew, and in college, I decided to major in psychology and began pursuing a career helping kids and families understand and cope with stressful situations through play. While life has had slightly different plans for me career-wise than I initially thought, the knowledge and the passion remain, and I am ready to share them with you!

Sensory Storytimes: A Different Kind of Storytime

Now, how does this relate to our storytimes?

Our storytimes are fantastic if we do say so ourselves! But there’s no doubt they can sometimes be loud, crowded and even overwhelming. For kiddos with disabilities, neurodivergence or any sensory issues, that might not be the best environment for them to learn, play and develop the way storytimes are intended to be.

This is why I’ve introduced Sensory Storytime specifically for this population. In addition to sharing stories, these storytimes feature dimmed lights, quieter and calming music, a visual schedule, self-regulating activities like deep breathing and yoga poses, weighted lap items, sensory toys to play with and a maximum of 20 kids at a time so personal space can still be maintained. A short free-play session at the end of the storytime also allows time for the children to interact with one another and for their grownups to do the same. It’s all the same fun and learning as our regular storytimes but in a sensory-aware and sensory-friendly environment.

Sensory Storytime Schedule

These special storytimes are scheduled for Monday afternoons, 1:30–2 p.m. Unlike our other storytimes, we’re asking you to register for these so we can ensure this time and space is being held for those who need it. Kiddos of all ages are welcome to attend, and I hope to see you there!