Bellwood-Antis Public Library is hosting a free Sensory Saturday Story Time this weekend for children ages 2 and up who have autism, special needs, and sensory concerns.

This Saturday, children and families are invited to visit the library at noon for Star Wars-themed stories, finger plays, and sensory free play. Adults are asked to stay with their children during the program. The event is a unique opportunity designed for children who are unable to keep quiet or stay still to enjoy success during a typical story time event.

There will be sensory bins, songs, and age-appropriate stories. Children who attend the event will receive a free book, courtesy of the Central PA Autism Society. There will also be punch cards available to start earning prizes for attending the story time and other sensory library events. After five punches, kids will earn a prize.

Five area libraries have hosted Sensory Saturday Story Time throughout the year with different themes monthly. The sensory events are becoming more popular; and although usually capped at 10 kids, 14 kids attended the latest one in Hollidaysburg, since there was extra space. The story times are also a way to promote the love of books and reading, to share an appreciation of stories, and to introduce the library to children.

“The kids are able to become more comfortable and adapted to the library at this time,” shared Lindsay Martsolf, president of Central PA Autism Society. “They are able to explore at their own level.

“We want the children to someday be able to go any time they desire with less stress and anxiety.”

The Tyrone-Snyder and Bellwood-Antis libraries list sensory story times on their respective websites and Facebook pages.

The Central PA Autism Society is devoted to local support of those of all ages with autism spectrum diagnoses and their families. The Society holds an annual walk and other events to help those in need of special attention, and to share education and resources. There are approximately 700 members including parents and caregivers, adults with autism, teachers, therapists and professionals throughout Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre and Huntingdon counties.

Adeena Harbst can be reached at


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