Monday, December 22, 2008

Access Approved

One of the areas in which Friends of Reston Regional Library invest the money we raise is a branch of the Fairfax County Public Library called Access Services. Located in the Fairfax County Government Center, it is a branch of the library with a very special mission.  It exists to remove barriers to library services for people with disabilities. Their services include providing opportunities to learn about assistive technology and equipment, providing books in alternative formats to people with vision impairments and delivering books to readers who cannot visit a local library. 

One of the difficulties for Access Services is that the equipment they need in order to provide true access is expensive. Although they have a Friends group, it is not as financially robust as the Reston Friends, so our board has been pleased over the years to help this branch help other patrons. To that end, Friends of Reston Regional Library (which means YOU though your donations) have purchased both a Juliet Pro Braille Embosser and a new auto-reader system called “myReader2.” 

A Braille Embosser is the equivalent to an ink printer for a visually impaired person. The print, translated into Braille, makes raised dots on the paper.  FRRL purchased this in 2006.

The auto-reader system was purchased this past spring (2008).  The product is similar to a CCTV print magnifier but there is no need to manipulate one’s original while reading the text. When the desired image is captured, the text can be displayed and read in a column or a row or appear one word at a time, whatever best fits the comfort level of the user. Up to 10 pages of copy can be stored at one time and the text can be advanced automatically.

A big part of Access Services' mission is to identify patrons who might benefit from their collection. If you know someone who might fall into this category, or who has given up reading because of vision difficulties, why not get them connected with the fine folks at Access Services? You can e-mail them or call them at 703-324-8380.


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