I wrote a blog a few weeks ago which entailed my disheartening experience at one of the local Jersey City Public libraries. Here’s a summation of the encounter: I travelled with my two boys (my six year old, and my three year old who has autism) to the library closest to my home in-order to rent a few children’s books and hopefully read a book or two with my kids. However once we entered the one room library, I noticed the quietness and wondered if my youngest son would disrupt this quietness. As most parents raising autistic children know it is difficult for them to remain quiet, let alone sit still – especially when they are excited or are in a new environment. When my son began to make noise, the librarian asked us to leave. Needless to say I was embarrassed that my family and I were asked to leave in front of several people sitting in the library, and I was saddened by the fact that the librarian did not inquire nor suggest a library that might have been more inclusive for children.
I was certain to share my blog and experience with the director of the Jersey City Libraries. I wanted to inform her of my experience – not to get anyone into trouble (I didn’t give her the date nor the name of the librarian I spoke with on the day I visited the library) but instead to make the director more aware of the prevalence of autism and hopefully get them exploring ways to better communicate with parents visiting local libraries in Jersey City.
I am proud to say that within two weeks I received a warm felt letter from the director regarding my experience and how they plan to better educate their staff on dealing with situations such as mine. All the hurt I felt from that experience subdued once I read the letter from the director. I felt that my voice was heard and that the director cared about my encounter and wanted to ensure the perception of the Jersey City Library remains positive. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to always give feedback (positive and / or negative) to friends, co-workers, parks, businesses, etc. when you feel moved to do so. Problems cannot be fixed if the person / business is unaware of any mishaps or areas of opportunity, nor will they continue doing great things if they are unaware of what the community thoroughly enjoys. Feel free to read the letter from the director of the Jersey City Public Library here.