- Posted April 8, 2014 by
Ann Arbor, Michigan
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your favorite libraries
Not your typical library...
This is the Assistive Technology Lab at the Washtenaw Library For the Blind and Physically Disabled, one of the local branches of the Library of Congress's National Library Service, which provides library services to the physically disabled and visually impaired throughout the United States.
The WLBPD is housed in the Ann Arbor District Library in Ann Arbor, MI. It has physical materials--digital talking books that are available on a USB cartridge and can be played with a special machine avaiable to patrons; DVDs with audio description, which allows the visually impaired to hear a description of what is happening on screen; large print books; and magazines. Patrons can request to have materials shipped to them, making materials more accessible for those who can not come into the library. The NLS makes audio books available through a system called BARD, which allows users to download materials to their own devices. The WLBPD staff assists patrons with using all they and the NLS has to offer.
That includes the Assistive Technology Lab, which is housed in the AADL's downtown branch. It contains a Braille printer, a scanner and software to make scanned text readable with a screen reader, and two computers that have software that makes them more accessible. It also has a text enlarger.
The NLS's motto is "That all may read." Those are words that all librarians and libraries should live and die by. Libraries are about more than just storing books and letting people borrow them.
Sometimes it takes looking at how a library provides service to those who need it the most to see that clearly.