Monday, July 14, 2008

Lending library for assistive technology

Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Lending Library is a free, state-supported program that loans assistive technology devices to Pennsylvanians of all ages. This program allows someone to try a device for a limited time (typically 2-8 weeks) to be sure it meets their needs before they buy it. If the device isn't right, they can borrow another.

For a list of centers which supply AT devices to different counties, visit this page. Different counties are served by different organizations, which presumably can deliver the device to a public library near the user.

I discovered this info in response to a phone call from a woman's out-of-state relatives who were trying to find where she could try a video magnifier. She has macular degeneration, and reading has become difficult for her. There are quite a few different products available, and the PATLL has a number of them. It's good to know such a service exists.

Friday, April 11, 2008

William Yurvati, R.I.P.

Those of us who attended the annual SSHELCO conference March 28, heard the sad news that Bill Yurvati died March 12 after a battle with leukemia.

Although I did not know Bill well, it was always a pleasure to talk with him at the SSHELCO meetings every year. He added a lot to the meetings with his cheerful, pleasant demeanor.

I'd like to extend my condolences to his family and colleagues at East Stroudsburg University, where he was the Access Services Librarian.

God bless him, and may he rest in peace.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Dedicated ADA Computer - Input Please

If you have one or more computers in your library with specialized software for accessibility, can you please share with me the specs of that computer and other equipment and software? Or if you have an idea of the computer/software/devices that you wish you had in your library for accessibility, please share that too. I want to apply for a grant for a specialized ADA station, but do not know exactly what I need.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Audio Description Illinois

I read about this in a message I received on the ASCLA listserv.

Audio Description Illinois provides information on how libraries can make digital images available to the visually impaired on the Internet using Audio Description (AD). According to the message,
Audio Description (AD) is the descriptive narration of key visual elements of live theatre, television, movies, and other media to enhance their enjoyment by consumers who are blind or have low vision. AD is the insertion of audio explanations and descriptions of the settings, characters, and action taking
place in such media, when such information about these visual elements is not offered in the regular audio presentation
(6/13/2007 message from Lori Bell).

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Universities under scrutiny for ADA

Inside Higher Ed reported today that a lawsuit has been filed against the University of Houston by a student with a documented, undisputed disability. Apparently the student had made a request for an accommodation from a professor and was turned down, with no explanation. U of H does have a policy to provide accommodations, but faculty are not required to follow it. Hmmm.

In an earlier post on July 19, Inside Higher Ed also noted that the U.S. Justice Department has become more "interested" in whether or not colleges and universities are complying with ADA. University of Chicago recently settled with the Justice Department, agreeing to make improvements in their facilities over the next 4 years, all the while maintaining that they had not violated the law. Evidently the Justice Department has been "reviewing" about 10 colleges/universities for their compliance with Title III of ADA (focusing mostly on building accommodations) and the U of Chicago review was the first to be finished. More to come.

Monday, July 24, 2006

IM Reference for the Deaf

The May 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries (v. 26, no. 5) includes an article with the title, Hello IM, Goodbye TTY. In the article, Tom Peters and Lori Bell describe how libraries can use technology, such as instant messaging, to increase access and communication for deaf and hearing impaired patrons.

At Edinboro, we are planning to implement a virtual reference service using instant messaging. If others are considering the use of IM and need one more argument to justify this service to their colleagues or directors, this article may be just the persuasion they need.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Riding the Bus With My Sister

For those of you who are members of PaLA, you might have read the cover story in the May 2006 issue of the Pennsylvania Library Association Bulletin. The book chosen for this year’s “One Book, One Conference” event is Rachel Simon’s Riding the Bus With My Sister. This book traces the true story of the author’s attempt to understand her sister Beth, who has a mental disability. Beth spends her days riding the buses of a Pennsylvania city, and Simon spends one year riding along and meeting the people in Beth’s life.

While this blog focuses mostly on those with physical disabilities, we can’t ignore our patrons with mental disabilities. Even if you aren’t planning on attending the PaLA conference in November, you may want to pick up this book for the insights it gives on working with those with mental disabilities.

In the spirit of full discloser, I had Rachel Simon for a professor as an undergrad. She gives a great reading, and I expect an excellent program at the PaLA conference.