Libraries are no longer just a place to use reference books and check out a bestselling novel. From providing e-books to loan, using computers to access to Internet and more, the Central Library in Indianapolis is paying attention to how technology is changing the way we access information.
Mike Perkins, Assistive Technology Coordinator at the Central Library, has been instrumental in making sure that library services are accessible to people of all abilities. Located on the third floor, the Assistive Technology Room provides equipment that will enhance the library experience for patrons with disabilities. In addition to the list below, baskets and carts, handheld magnifiers and magnicams are also available.
Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired
OpenBook - scan a document in and the program reads it back to you
MAGic - a program that magnifies an image from a computer screen, such as the Internet or a Word document
JAWS - a screen reader that allows you to navigate all aspects of your computer with your keyboard
CCTV - a large monitor that magnifies the image put underneath its camera with various contrast and magnification modes
Assistive Technology for the Mobility or Typing Impaired
Dragon Naturally Speaking - the user wears a headset to speak into, while the program translates your speech to text
Magic Cursor - a desktop program that clicks the mouse for you just by moving the cursor over the item that needs clicking
Screendoors - a desktop program that acts as an onscreen keyboard for those with limited dexterity.
Special Keyboards and Kensington Trackball allow for easier use for those with limited dexterity
Adjustable workstations that can be modified for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility equipment
Assistive Technology for the Hearing Impaired
Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) is a free 24-hour service for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community that enables anyone to conduct video relay calls with family, friends, or business associates. Calls are placed and received through a professional American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter via a high-speed Internet connection and VRS equipment (i.e., a Sorenson VP-200 videophone and standard TV).
In addition to those assistive technologies, the Central Library also offer books on CD, audio books to download, Braille signage throughout Central, large-type books and an ADA compliant copier and printer on 5th floor.
The Central Library has the Assistive Technology Room, but the Glendale branch has similar technologies. As part of its five year plan, the library is working to upgrade all technologies as well as relocate or remodel several branches for ADA compliance.
Looking for assistive technology but you are unsure of what to use? The INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads has a 30-day loan library where you can check out equipment to see if it is right for you. Other services include an assistive technology device demonstration program, refurbished computers, trainings and more. Visit http://eastersealstech.com for more information.