It will be easier for children and adults with sensory sensitivities to use Tūranga with the launch of a new Sensory Hour.
During the session, the artificial lighting will be turned off and activities on the Hapori | Community Level 1 space will be kept to a minimum.
The area will be partially curtained off and in the space children can experience different textures, sensory toys, weighted animals and fidgets, as well as a play station in a curtained area with Lego.
Clear signs mark the exits and toilets and the Discovery Wall will be turned off to limit distraction on arrival to the library.
“Whanaungatanga (relationship, kinship, sense of family connection) and manaakitanga (hospitality, kindness, generosity, support) are at the heart of what we do in libraries, so being able to provide the time and space for others with sensory sensitivities and their whānau to enjoy what we have to offer is something we really wanted to do,” Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries Carolyn Robertson says.
“Our Libraries aim to support diversity and be representative of all communities in Christchurch so this is a big step in that journey.”
The sensory hour is being trialled as a pilot, once a week on Mondays from 6 to 7pm throughout December, January and February.
There is no obligation for people to stay the whole hour each week and library staff will be available during the session.
“The team want to make the space as inclusive and welcoming as possible. This is the chance to reinforce the message that everyone is welcome in our library spaces. We really hope that people enjoy the library who may not have felt comfortable visiting before,” Ms Robertson says.
“We will be adjusting the sessions based on any feedback we get from the community as we want to get this right.”
One of the smallest libraries in our network, Redwood, will also offer a similar trial session on Monday 13 February from 5-6pm.