Sunday, July 02, 2006

New technology to assist the visually impaired in libraries

The Appalachian Regional Library (Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties) now has assistive technology that will allow those with visual and physical disabilities to access computers and the Internet, thanks to a $3,985 Library Services and Technology Act grant.Libraries in West Jefferson, North Wilkesboro, Boone and Sugar Grove now have JAWS screen-reader software, which allows those with visual impairments to use the Internet as well as computer programs such as Microsoft Word found on the libraries’ public access computers.

In addition, all ARL libraries, including the Ronda and Traphill branches in Wilkes County, have at least one computer with a touch-screen monitor for those who find it difficult to manipulate a mouse.“We want our libraries to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible, and it is our hope that the new assistive technology will help us meet this goal,” said Regional Library Director Mary Sizemore. For more information about this or other library services, contact the Ashe County Library at 336-846-2041 or the Watauga County Library at 828-264-8784.


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