Library slated for devices for visually impaired
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 19, 2015
ATLANTA — As part of a state initiative to extend library services to the blind and others whose physical abilities require the use of written materials in audio format or braille, Georgia Public Library Service is supplying a suite of assisting devices for every public library system in the state.
Library patrons of the Troup-Harris Regional Library can request use of the equipment by contacting their local branch library or vising the website at www.thrl.org/assistive-tech
“We are committed to the goal that every library will become a member of the Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) network, and that they will be equipped to make library programs, services and collections accessible to all users,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. “As our model moves from providing service that was delivered only through a few sub-regional locations to one with a more comprehensive and holistic approach, furnishing these essential pieces of assistive technology equipment will reinforce our promise to enhance and expand the state’s services in this area.”
According to Pat Herndon, director of GLASS, GPLS will issue to each system one desktop MagniLinkS video magnifier, two Mobilux Digital Touch portable magnifying devices and one MagniLink Voice “reading machine.”
The video magnifiers are basically cameras that attach to a computer and convert images of items placed below its lens to a magnified image onto the computer monitor, Herndon explained.
“The magnifier can be adjusted for size of magnification and for color contrast. This allows a person with low vision to read books — or their mail and personal correspondence — while on a public-access computer in the library,”
The LVI MagniLink Voice reading machines are text-to-speech devices that use optical-character readers to translate print into audio, thus opening the library’s book collection to patrons with vision impairment. The machines can read pages one by one or, when scanned with audio output saved to a flash drive, can convert and store up to 100 pages of audio that can be listened to as a single stream.
“GPLS was also able to purchase an accessible computer keyboard for every branch library in Georgia,” Herndon said. “These keyboards have large-print, high-contrast, black-on-yellow type designed to give users with low vision an easier and more accurate way to type.”
“This equipment purchase, completed using federal LSTA funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a strong step forward in inclusiveness for our patrons with print impairments, not only in selected locations but in every library system in Georgia,” Walker said.