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Libraries Provide Adaptive and Assistive Technology Workstations

Posted by btoren@wvu-ad.wvu.edu.
February 19th, 2007

The WVU Libraries are committed to providing access to information resources and services to all WVU students, staff, and faculty on an equal basis. In cooperation with WVU Disability Services and Academic Computing, the WVU Libraries provide users with adaptive and assistive technology workstations to give patrons with various disabilities access to the library and its resources. Students registered with the Office of Disability Services are allowed to use the workstations.

These include three workstations at the Downtown Campus, Evansdale, and Health Sciences Libraries. There are several types of adaptive and assistive technology available at these workstations. Equipment includes a text enlargement reader, a computer with software for users with visual impairment or learning disabilities, a color flatbed scanner, large monitor, and a laser printer. A closed caption television magnifies text and images in black and white or color (users may also adjust brightness and choose between many colors of text and background for their individual needs). The tables are adjustable to suit users with different needs for physical access. The equipment helps the Libraries to comply with ADA and campus wide standards.
 

Examples of use include a blind student or a student with dyslexia who can scan in printed text and transfer it to a sound file which they can load onto a device and listen to repeatedly to study; another option would be to transfer the printed text to a working text file so that the user can enlarge the font for easier reading. A screen reader for web surfing and voice recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking are also available. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a software program that uses voice recognition technologies allowing users with visual and mobility impairments to control a computer and enter data without touching the keyboard or the mouse. Typing is the main function, but the user can also perform some formatting and control certain aspects of the computer. Jaws is a program that uses synthesized speech technology to speak the information being displayed on a computer monitor for individuals with visual, learning, and other impairments. Jaws allows a visually impaired user to navigate a graphical interface using voice output and sound cues. It can understand HTML tags and read the information correctly, and it combines web reading and browsing.

The workstations are available the same hours that the Library buildings are open. In the Downtown Campus Library, the workstation is housed in room 100C on the lower level. In the Health Sciences Library, it is in room 2006. In the Evansdale Library, the equipment is on the first floor. 

The Libraries have also published a web-page that includes contacts, how to obtain physical access to the libraries if you have a disability, and policies regarding the workstations available at: http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/disability/. Please ask at the library for designated accessible restrooms and water fountains.

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