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Pennsylvania: University libraries add "sensory spaces" for 'neurodivergent students'

Oct 27, 2023, Penn State: Libraries’ pilots sensory rooms as supportive spaces for neurodiverse students

For students who need a break from the cacophony of campus life, a growing number of sensory spaces at locations across Penn State University Libraries can offer quiet comfort.

The University Libraries, as part of the LibWell initiative, is currently piloting three sensory rooms, located within Penn State Berks’ Thun Library, Penn State Brandywine’s Vairo Library, and in Pattee Library on the University Park campus, to assist students with sensory impairments and neurodiversity..…

“There is a strong need for therapeutic spaces at colleges that can help students block out harmful sensory distractions and relieve the huge burden of anxiety many students bear,” said Brett Spencer, reference and instruction librarian for Penn State Berks’ Thun Library. “We want to make sensory-safe places that can help students maximize their wellness and learning.”

…“We know from new research and our campus disability coordinator that neurodivergent students are a growing part of our population, and we felt we could improve our spaces for these students,” said Teresa Slobuski, head librarian at Penn State Brandywine’s Vairo Library.

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