Specialized Equipment Available to
Help those with Visual Impairment
The James V. Brown Library and the Bookmobile serving Lycoming County have equipment to assist people with visual impairment access books, electronic text and the computer.
The equipment includes magnification and computer equipment designed to make reading easier for people with visual impairment. The equipment includes a computer with specialized hardware including a high contrast keyboard, and “text-to-speech” screen reading software programs. The Bookmobile is equipped with portable video magnifiers.
Library and Bookmobile staff members have been trained to help patrons use the equipment, and provide other resources as needed.
The library received a larger size video magnifier ( called a closed circuit television “CCTV”) as well as an adapted computer work station equipped for people who need assistance accessing electronic text. In addition, the library has two portable video magnifiers for patrons to checkout.
Funding Assistance Help
The following organizations help provide funding assistance for persons with visual impairment.
- The Association of Blind Citizens operates the Assistive Technology Fund. The Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) will provide funds to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The ABC board of directors believes that this program will allow blind and visually impaired individuals access to technology products that will have a significant impact on improving employment opportunities, increase the level of independence and enhance their overall quality of life.
The products covered by this program must retail for a minimum of $200 with a maximum retail price of $6,000. Persons eligible to apply for assistance must have a family income of less than $50,000 and cash assets of less than $20,000. Applications will be reviewed by the Assistive Technology Committee (ATC) and recommendations will be submitted for board approval.
Applicants must be legally blind and a resident of the United States to qualify for this program. Applications must be submitted by June 30th and December 31st for each grant period (two per year). Applicants will be notified if their request for a grant is approved. Applicants may submit one request per calendar year. All applications must be submitted via e-mail.
For more information visit the organization’s website at http://www.blindcitizens.org/assistive_tech.htm. You may fill out the request form by pasting it in to your word processor and emailing it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Important: Requests must be received via email only, by June 30th or December 31st.
- Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) is a non-profit organization that provides low-interest loans to people with disabilities and older adults so that they can buy the assistive technology devices and services they need (including hearing aids). Any older Pennsylvanian or state resident who needs assistive technology is eligible to apply for a loan. As of January 1, 2011 the interest rate for PATF’s low-interest loan program is 4%. For more information or to obtain an application form, please contact PATF directly at 1-888-744-1938 (voice/toll-free/TTY) or visit them on the web at www.patf.us
A new project of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA called “Get REAL-Regional Education Assisting Life Long Learning” is bringing magnification technologies to select library and bookmobile locations across Pennsylvania.
The Get REAL project staff at the Institute on Disabilities offers support to libraries in becoming “friendly” to individuals with disabilities, especially vision disabilities.
The Get REAL project collaborates with community resources throughout the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and regional resource centers of Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology, to encourage ongoing support to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.
For more information about this equipment contact the library at 326-0536.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and with funds from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Independent Living Older Blind Program, and in partnership with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the Get REAL project will help ensure the full inclusion of all people, especially those with disabilities.
According to 2009 statistics, 15% of Pennsylvania’s urban population, and 17% of its rural population, was aged 65 or older. Since it is this population that is most affected by vision loss, it is imperative that public spaces, such as libraries and bookmobiles, be fully accessible.