Waukegan Public Library hosted an Austism Awareness fundraiser in April 2023 to support the creation of an accessibility collection and sensory kits. The event, supported by the Library's Foundation and parent advocates, allowed parents and kids to connect with support services while enjoying a meal, making art, and learning more about tools, toys, and materials at the library. After the launch of the collection, the library looked at some unused spaces and remodeled a group meeting room into a sensory space.
A ribbon cutting for The Comfort Zone: A Sensory Room for Kids, Friends, and Families was held on Thursday, November 16, 2023. This room provides a controlled environment to support individual self-regulation and empowerment, and promote mindfulness, skill development, creative expression, and resilience. The room includes tactile activity panels, bubble tubes, peapod chair, floor mats, mirror, positive affirmation station, cushion walls, and a variety of fidgets, interactive activities, and lighting and sound options. Outside of the room is the sensory kits collection and a cozy seating area with a Launchpad (Diversity, Differences, and Life Skills) to promote conversation and family engagement.
Project leads, Children's Services Associates, Rubi Arreola and Rosario Colin, and Director Tiffany Verzani, are grateful to the Library Foundation, Friends of the Library, Board of Trustees, community partners, and library staff for their efforts in creating this important service and dedicated space, and continuing to make the library an inclusive, representative, and welcoming place for all.