Each of the borough’s seven children’s libraries has been transformed into an immersive space as part of a ground-breaking project to make them an exciting place for all children, whatever their sensory needs.
Project Sense, as it’s known, is the result of a successful £95k bid by Merton’s libraries for Arts Council funding. It will see children’s libraries become unique sensory spaces around the themes of Antarctica, circus, weather, the jungle, under the sea, the forest and outer space. Each library will have toys to suit its theme, from inflatable minions and racing penguins to aeroplanes.
The themed spaces will have their own particular scents and sounds too, along with specialist sensory equipment. There will also be a dedicated special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) book section in every library – 5,000 books have been ordered as part of the project.
For children who find noise difficult, or sometimes need a space to escape, equipment such as ear defenders and pop-up dark dens will be available to borrow. Sunflower lanyards can also be collected from library staff - so they are aware of any children who may have additional needs.
The library service has bought specially-adapted toys to be used in activity sessions as well as recordable photo albums, voice recorders and other equipment – all of which can loaned out for families to take home.
As part of the project Merton has a dedicated events and activities programme with over 240 SEND events and activities planned over the next year.
For further information about Project Sense contact lisa.mustoe [AT] merton.gov.uk