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Beyond Books: Connecting through Adult Sensory Story Time

I enter the library and shake the snow from my boots. I’m ten minutes early, but already there are a few people gathered on this 3rd Friday of the month for another Adult Sensory Story Time, a program that has just celebrated its one year anniversary.


I take my seat in the main open area of the library and observe the setup in front of me. A teal bike is suspended a foot or so off the ground on a bike repair stand. A small round table features various books about bikes, and a white helmet sits next to a dry-erase board that reads: “Pedals and Pages: A Bicycle Adventure in the Library!”


It’s nearly 10 am and almost all the seats are full now as new rows of participants form in the back. Librarian Jennifer Harden passes out sensory mats, a gift from the Bag Ladies of the Frankenmuth Methodist Church, and Beth Emmons, Early Learning Specialist, stands up front and greets the group with a warm smile.


We begin with a few physical and mental exercises to warm up our bodies and our brains. We sing a song and read a story before Beth passes the baton to community members Larry Emmons and Tom Welsh II of the Frankenmuth United Methodist Church Bicycle Ministry.


A few more people trickle in as Tom pulls a piece of tape from the bicycle frame. “This is number 401,” he says. “We’re working on number 467 back at the shop right now.” The numbers Tom is referring to are the total number of bikes the Bicycle Ministry has repaired and donated since they began their work three years ago.


The Bicycle Ministry accepts used bicycles and is open on Wednesdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Their location, generously donated by Tom and Mary Johnston, is inside the Tru Value Rental Shop. In addition to repairing and rehabilitating donated bikes, they spend some of their time working on repairs for local community members. For the cost of parts and a donation to the Bicycle Ministry, anyone can drop off their bike for repairs.

Tom passes a bicycle tire and an inner tube around the room while he demonstrates how to use an air gauge to check tire pressure, and how to use various tools for a proper tune-up. There is a brief Q & A in which participants are eager to ask their questions. Then we sing one final song, thank Tom and Larry for their time, and head to the Community Room for an art project, various puzzles, and some popcorn from the Popcorn Wagon, a monthly Adult Sensory Story Time sponsor.


Adult Sensory Story Time is one of the few programs for neurodivergent thinkers in our community. Patrons and their caregivers are offered a unique space to come to the library and interact with other people as they hear from various experts in the community about certain topics such as music, bunnies, quilting, pumpkins, photography, and more.


In what has become one of Wickson Library’s most-attended programs, Adult Sensory Story Time continues to create a space for individuals of all abilities to come together and connect through learning and storytelling. Adult Sensory Story Time takes participants beyond books, deep into the power of shared experiences, inclusive programming, and meaningful connection.




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