Coming to a branch near you: Assistive software for blind and low vision patrons

On the first floor of the Central Library, there’s a room off the beaten path packed with our most exciting, cutting-edge equipment. To find it, enter on 4th Avenue, walk past the hold shelf, past the Word Languages desk (stop by and say hi!), past the restrooms, then enter the wide room on your left – there you will find the LEAP facilities, and it’s well worth the visit. You can check out audiobooks, use the Kurzweil 1000 Reading System, try out a Braille keyboard, and much more

LEAP stands for Library Equal Access Program, and the room’s technology certainly isn’t a secret — in fact, we want everybody to know about it! We’re taking LEAP on the road for a series of Open Houses in November and December to showcase the incredible tools and services available to all patrons. You can find us at the Central Library on Wednesday, Nov. 4 and Monday, Nov. 16 from 5-7:30 p.m. We’ll be visiting the Columbia, Southwest, University, and Broadview branches during the month of December (click here for the full schedule). At the Open Houses, we encourage Low Vision and Blind individuals, families, friends, teachers and parents to learn about the amazing resources designed to facilitate access to library information.

At the Open House, you can join us for demonstrations of:

  • JAWS (screen reader) and ZoomText (text enlargement) Assistive Software
  • Braille Display Systems and Image Readers
  • Accessibility Kits (with handheld reading and writing tools)

If you can’t make it to one of our Open Houses, we hope you can join us for some of other LEAP-related programs, such as the ASL Story Time (a great idea for preschoolers and toddlers), the Low Vision Book Group (also check out the American Sign Language Book Group!), Drop-In Assistive Technology Lab and more. Please contact us with any questions – we’re always happy to help.LEAP table

— posted by Michael W., University of Washington iSchool student and MLIS candidate



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