Library Therapy: Finding Joy Through Empathy
Matty has been a special library customer for more than 20 years. Chris describes Matty as his son, and Matty sees Chris as his dad. The two go to the library as part of Matty’s important routine, and routine is critical for someone like him and his level of autism. For Matty’s family, the library offers a safe place and a stable plan, filled with pumpkins, dinosaurs, and other things that make him happy.
“Matty has an intellectual disability that has arrested his development at the age of 18 to 22 months,” Chris says. “Regina Public Library is so important to him and his routines; it’s almost like a type of therapy.”
To him, the library staff members are like an extended family. The learning experience goes both ways, as staff have learned to help Matty and understand his needs.
“This is a guy who comes in with no words,” Chris says, “It’s just actions. The staff have learned to translate that into what Matty wants … it’s pretty remarkable.” The fact that the library is open almost every day of the year is also important for Matty. “You can count on it,” Chris says, “It’s like family to us.”
Surrounding yourself with new experiences, lifestyles, and perspectives is a subtle benefit of visiting the public library. Being in a safe and relaxing place, surrounded by people who are also there to discover new ideas is a great way to connect with your city. Learning doesn't have to be a grand experience; it can be fun, quiet, and contemplative through small acts of empathy.
Watch how Matty discovers the world at the library by watching our #RPLStories below: