KultureCity has partnered with the Cedar Rapids Public Library to make the library and the programs and events the library hosts to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative promotes an accommodating and positive experience for all guests and patrons with a sensory issue that visit either the Downtown or Ladd Libraries.
The certification process entailed the staff at the library 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 (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads are available to all guests at the Downtown and Ladd Libraries who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. There are also designated quiet areas marked with signage for those who may need a quieter and more secure environment.
Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other similar conditions. One of the major barriers for these individuals is sensitivity to over stimulation and noise. With its new certification, the library is now better prepared to assist guests with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible when visiting the library.
Prior to visiting the library, families can download the free KultureCity App where one can view what sensory features are available and where they can access them. There are also Social Stories for both the Downtown and Ladd Libraries on the app which will provide a preview of what to expect when visiting the library. They can also be viewed on the KultureCity website or on CRLibrary.org:
“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. “Being certified sensory inclusive is an important step toward achieving our goals of access and inclusion.”
“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. We’re honored to partner with the Cedar Rapids Public Library to provide a truly inclusive experience for all guests,” said KultureCity Executive Director Uma Srivastava.
KultureCity is a leading non-profit recognized nationwide for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs, not just those with autism. 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. KultureCity has won many awards for its efforts, including the NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2017 and the 2018 Clio Sports Silver for social good in partnership with Cleveland Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Quiet Space Sensory Room at Quicken Loans Arena was a finalist for the 2018 Stadium Business Award, KultureCity was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2019 and 2020 by FastCompany and recently won the Industry Partner Award in TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Awards 2019.