Making Garfield County libraries accessible

Amelia Shelley
Garfield County Libraries

The Garfield County Libraries recently completed the last of six new buildings, and each of them was designed to be accessible to everyone in the community. I’d like to share with you some of the devices and services we have that make it possible.

Have trouble hearing speakers when you attend an event? Two of our libraries, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, have hearing loop systems that allow people to directly receive the sound from the library’s PA system in their hearing aids. Digital hearing aids have significantly improved in the last decade, but they do not restore hearing to normal. Difficulties often remain when in challenging listening situations such as large meeting rooms. Much like wi-fi for laptops, hearing loops help hearing aid users hear by broadcasting sound through an antenna without background noise or reverberation. We hope to install hearing loop systems in our other four libraries in 2014.

Are you sight impaired? Thanks to a generous donation from the Glenwood Springs Lion’s Club, the Glenwood Springs Branch Library is getting two devices to assist computer users and readers. The library has purchased Kurzweil 1000 software that allows for both text enlargement and text to speech functions for computer use, and an ABiSee Zoom X Camera that allows users to scan and save bound books at the speed of up to 20 pages per minute. Users of these devices will have access to the broad variety of reading, learning and productivity features found in the Kurzweil 1000 software, which edits documents, creates bookmarks, saves materials in various formats, and completes forms. The software will be loaded on a laptop, and both items can be checked out through the service desk at the library starting in mid-January. Additionally, the Rifle Branch Library has a Magni-sight Explorer, a device that allows text to be enlarged for ease of reading. The Magni-sight Explorer is available thanks to a donation from 20/20 EyeCare.

Can’t get to the library? Every library in Garfield County offers a Homebound program. If you, or someone you know, can’t get out to the library due to issues with mobility or illness, you may be eligible for our Homebound services. The Homebound service delivers books on a monthly basis in areas of specific interest to the reader. Contact your local branch library, or call 970-625-4270, for more information to find out how the library can be more accessible for you.

Amelia Shelley is executive director of the Garfield County Libraries.

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