IPL’s Fort Ben Branch becomes a Certified Autism Center


The Fort Ben Branch of The Indianapolis Public Library is the first library branch in the state of Indiana to become a Certified Autism Center through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

To receive this certification, Fort Ben Branch staff completed training to better understand the educational, behavioral, social and emotional needs of people with autism and sensory sensitivity. The branch also had an on-site review by IBCCES to provide additional insights and recommendations to enhance accessibility, including creating sensory guides in library areas.

“The library aims to recognize and value all the ways in which people differ, both seen and unseen, while fostering an environment, collection and services where everyone is celebrated,” Fort Ben Branch Manager Shelby Peak stated. “This designation is a significant milestone in our pursuit of this goal, and I commend the Fort Ben (Branch) staff for their dedication.”

To qualify as a Certified Autism Center, a facility or organization must ensure that a minimum of 80 percent of its public-facing staff completes autism-specific training program through IBCCES. Funding for the training and certification was sponsored by the Indy Autism Project and Easterseals Crossroads.   

The Indy Autism Project, created by Ali Brown, is spearheading a bigger initiative to earn the Autism Certified City designation through IBCCES.

“The Fort Ben (Branch) Library is a monumental first step to creating a more accessible city for everyone,” said Brown, who represents Lawrence on the Indianapolis City-County Council. “This is the first library in the state of Indiana that, from the ground up, had autistic individuals and those with sensory issues in mind as they created the space. This is what the Indy Autism Project was founded to do — make spaces more accessible for those who are neurodiverse and, in turn, make spaces more accessible for everyone. I could not be more proud of the Indianapolis Public Library team for what they have put into our new library. I am so grateful.”

According to the CDC, 1 in 36 children in the United States has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder and an estimated 2.21 percent of adults in the United States is autistic.

The Fort Ben Branch is located at 9330 East 56th Street. It held its grand opening Aug. 19.

For more, visit indypl.org.