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A new pilot program at Kelowna library branches is bringing a wealth of new materials to members with print disabilities, thanks to funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF).
The "iPad Accessibility Project" enables those who cannot read traditional print books - either due to a visual disability, an inability to manipulate books manually, or a cognitive disability - to use tablets for their reading pleasure and education. The project takes advantage of specially-created files designed by the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) that can convert books in text format to audio. Other apps and the iPad’s accessibility settings can also be manipulated to alter the screen in a way that makes print more legible.
“This project harnesses all these great new technologies and puts them together in a way that gets our library collections into the hands of people who otherwise might not be able to use them,” explains Kelowna Branch's Reference and Instruction Supervisor, Christine McPhee.
The ORL has long carried large print books and audiobooks for customers that prefer these formats. But even these formats don't work for everyone with print disabilities, and selection can be limited.
"With funding from the COF and the iPads, we can dramatically open up the breadth of materials available for our print-disabled members," adds McPhee
90-year-old Madeleine Jeanson, who suffers from advanced macular degeneration and doesn’t have a computer at home, is delighted with the iPad project.
"The service is really great. The staff download great books for me, and it's so easy to use – press a few buttons and go," she says. "I just finished 'The Grapes of Wrath' - what a pleasure to read Steinbeck again!"
Six iPads were funded by a grant from the COF for use at the three library branches in the City of Kelowna in Rutland, Mission and downtown.
Bruce Davies, the Executive Director of the Foundation says, "This was an excellent opportunity for us to make resources truly accessible to people that need them the most. We believe promoting literacy is a key component of being a smart and caring community.”
Currently, only ORL members who qualify as print disabled are eligible to use the specially-equipped iPads.
"The iPads are already being well-used and we would love to be able to expand the program with more iPads and to other ORL locations, if more funding were available," adds McPhee.
For more information, contact the Kelowna Branch Reference Services Desk at 250-762-2800, Ext. 2820.
Photo: Madeleine Jeanson and Bruce Davies hold a specially-equipped iPad that gives the 90-year-old suffering from macular degeneration greater access to the ORL’s resources.
The ORL's annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) is already a smashing success with thousands of children aged 5-12 year-old throughout the library district signed up! 5,000 reading records were distributed to the ORL's 29 branches earlier this summer and many locations are already running low. Stocks of more reading records will be coming to branches shortly.
This year's SRC theme is "Book A Trip" and each library branch is hosting special events, contests and prizes to encourage school-age kids to read during the holidays and keep their literacy skills sharp. For more information, visit the Summer Reading Club page or your local branch webpage.
Not sure what to read? Our children's librarians are happy to help with creating a custom booklist based on your little one's reading level and likes - simply visit our Custom Booklist page!
Hot off the presses - our ORL 2015 Annual Report highlights the library system's accomplishments over the past year. Learn more by clicking here.
The ORL is pleased to announce it has contributed seed funding in the amount of $5,000 to establish a permanent endowment with the Shuswap Community Foundation (SCF). When the endowment reaches $10,000 income earned will be used to support library services and programs in the Shuswap region. The Foundation and the ORL look forward to working with donors who would like to contribute to the fund.
Currently there are five ORL locations in the Shuswap: the Salmon Arm Branch in Piccadilly Mall, the South Shuswap Branch in Blind Bay, the North Shuswap Branch in Scotch Creek, the Silver Creek Branch and the Sicamous Branch. Last year, these five branches welcomed 216,002 visitors and had 11,522 children attend story times. 380,460 free materials and resources were also borrowed at these branches.
“We recognize the importance of libraries in the Shuswap communities, and in planning for their future, we wanted to create an endowment to support library services,” explains ORL Board Chair, Catherine Lord of Vernon. “We hope this endowment encourages local residents to invest in the sustainability of their library.”
Dave Wood, SCF President, congratulated the ORL Board on their acknowledgement of how community foundations can play a role in administering endowment funds which will provide future income in support of library services and programs. SCF continues to grow its many agency funds, and welcomes the establishment of Okanagan Regional Library - Shuswap Endowment Fund.
The Okanagan Regional Library – Shuswap Endowment Fund is open for anyone to contribute to in any amount or as part of a bequest. For more information, contact Shuswap Community Foundation at 250-832-5428 or visit their website at http://www.shuswapfoundation.ca
Showing 1 - 4 of 236 Articles | Page 1 of 59