As well as availing of a comprehensive selection of large print books and talking books, library members can now benefit from Voice Dictation and Homepage Reader technology, Virtual and Braille Keyboards, Electronic Height Adjustable Computer Desks, Orthopaedic Chairs, Magnifying Machines and Induction Loops for the hard of hearing.
Limerick County Library sourced the new assistive technology hardware and software after receiving funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, under the National Disability Strategy.
Meanwhile, the Library service has teamed up with the CitizenFirst Project and Mid-West Regional Authority to undertake a promotional campaign to highlight the new Assistive Technologies available in the County’s 24 Library Branches. The campaign involves the production of an instructional DVD on the new technologies and the loaning of laptops within each library (including the Mobile Library) to enable people to access Internet services using their Wi-Fi/3G networks.
Launching the countywide service at Dooradoyle Library today, Councillor John Gallahue, Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council stated, “I would like to congratulate the Library service for making the benefits of assistive technologies available to library users throughout County Limerick. This initiative helps the County Library to fulfil its role of providing services that are accessible to all people.”
According to Damien Dullaghan, Executive Librarian, “This initiative is part of Limerick County Library’s on-going commitment to improving and developing library services for all the people of the community. It is anticipated that the Assistive Technology Service will enhance the independence of our users with disabilities in accessing our ICT Services.”
Assistive Technology Software provided in Branch Libraries:
- Text Readers - Reader Easy Office Text is a text reading application that can read scanned documents back to the user.
- Voice Dictation - Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 allows users to create documents, e-mails etc. all by speaking. Dragon Speak translates voice dictations into Microsoft Word and Excel, Corel WordPerfect, and virtually all Windows-based applications.
- Homepage Reader - IBM Home Page Reader is a talking Web browser designed for users who wish to access the Internet in a non-visual or combined auditory/visual way.
- IMG Screen Magnifier - The Magnifier is an Area Screen Magnifier that supports 2-10 times magnification. The Magnifier window can be set to automatically position itself, and can be set to float/track the mouse cursor which makes assists individuals that need visual assistance.
- IMG On Screen Keyboard – This virtual alternative to the physical keyboard appears on screen and can be used by clicking the keys with a mouse. It is particularly useful for those with limited mobility. The Roller Tracker ball mouse can be used in tandem with this product.
Assistive Technology Hardware provided in Branch Libraries:
- Trackerball Mouse - This alternative to a standard mouse is designed for users with moderate-severe motor skill difficulties.
- Big Keys Keyboard – Operates like a standard Windows keyboard and features extra large keys with high contrast letters in upper/lower case.
- Braille Keyboard - This QWERTY Keyboard has embossed Braille stickers on each key.
- Electronic Height Adjustable Computer Desk - The height of this desk can be adjusted, through a simple two-button operation. The desk is ideal for use by electric wheelchair users.
- Assistive Technology Chair - This chair has an adjustable headrest for neck support. It also has automatic locking castors, which lock when weight is applied (i.e. when someone sits into the chair).
The launch of the new Assistive technology Services is part of Limerick County Library’s ongoing expansion of services throughout the County.
Earlier this year, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley T.D., officially opened the 45,000 sq ft Limerick County Library Headquarters and Limerick Studies Centre at Lissanalta House in Dooradoyle.
Regarded as one of Ireland’s most comprehensive centres of its kind, the local studies facility brings together the written local history of County Limerick, the archival records of County Limerick, as well as being home to the Limerick Family Ancestry service.
An increasing amount of the material available at the Limerick Studies Centre has been digitised and published online at lcc.ie/library. Griffith’s Primary Valuation, which was published between 1847 and 1864 and was the first full-scale valuation of property in Limerick, was recently made available online. The Irish Times Online Archive has also been made available to library users across the county.
Meanwhile, Limerick County Library has confirmed that it will continue to expand its ‘Talking Books’ service for the visually impaired. In recent months, many titles catering for a wide variety of reading interests have been made available in mp3 format.
Other recent developments within the Library service include the provision of public internet connections at each of the county’s 24 library branches while a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi service has been installed at the five full time branches in Dooradoyle, Newcastle West, Abbeyfeale, Adare and Foynes. Rathkeale library also provides the service.
For more on the Limerick County Library Service see www.lcc.ie/library or call 061-496526.
Note to Editor:
- Images relating to today’s launch are available from Press 22 at 061-204222
- To arrange an interview please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 086-8534900 or email@example.com.
Dunphy Public Relations