How we developed the libraries training
The most important thing to develop our autism friendly training for libraries, was finding out what is important to our guests. So we asked people with autism and their parents and carers how we could improve their experience. They told us that accessible libraries really matter:
Finding the right partners
Our partnership with the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) [[[link]]] and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) [[[link]]] was crucial to the development of this project.
With funding from the Arts Council England, we designed training resources and called out for people with autism to star in our video.
Filming the training video
Guests at our autism friendly cinema screenings have made them a success. It was a natural decision to invite some as willing stars in this project too!
We asked for people who would like to be involved and worked closely with Alex, Brody, Joe, Georgina and their families to prepare for the shoot.
There was no script, just a friendly interview. The film crew and library staff were trained in autism awareness and we took time to get to know our stars before filming took place.
Launching autism friendly libraries
On World Autism Awareness Day and International Children’s Book Day, we announced that autism friendly libraries were coming.
The positive response was overwhelming.
On 10 June 2016 Sarah Mears, Chair of ASCEL, stood in front of library staff from all across the country at the Society of Chief Librarians annual seminar and previewed the training, encouraging them all to take it on board and become autism friendly. The launch was covered in The Guardian and eagerly shared by people thrilled to see more autism friendly environments.
Updating the training in 2019
On World Autism Awareness Day 2019, Dimensions launched updated and more in-depth autism friendly training materials for libraries.
Late in 2018 we were approached by a library service in the North, to run a series of autism accessibility audits on their four venues and produce tailored reports for improvement. Our Quality Checker – Emma – spent several days helping them understand how to adapt their service.
Take the training
Use the buttons below to start your autism friendly journey.