Accessible Online Services to Ohioans with Disabilities
Birchard Public Library and the VictorReader Stream
Ohio Literacy Resource Center
Serving Children with Special Needs
Shared Reading Project
Talking Books – Transition to Digital
Serving Library Patrons with Special Needs
State Librarian's Report
Many of Ohio’s public libraries welcome visitors with signs proclaiming, “Open to All.” This bold statement is not taken lightly by Ohio’s library community. Librarians in school, academic, state agency, and public libraries around the state recognize that many people who are most in need of library services face special challenges in accessing these services, and have established a number of programs to help make library services more accessible to all Ohioans. From adaptive toy collections and programs designed for children with special needs, to delivery of library materials to residents who are unable to visit a library due to physical or medical limitations, Ohio’s library community is working hard to ensure that library services are truly accessible and open to all.
The State Library of Ohio supports library services to people with special needs in a number of ways. One way is by coordinating Ohio’s Talking Book Program, a library service for the blind and physically disabled operated nationally by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Nearly 15,000 Ohio residents utilize this important service. The State Library of Ohio also supports KnowItNow24x7, Ohio’s statewide virtual reference service. KnowItNow24x7 recently partnered with the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled to ensure that people who are blind or have low vision are able to access and use the service. Late last year, the State Library of Ohio awarded $13,598 in IMLS Library Services and Technology Act Grants to help five libraries purchase VictorReader Stream digital players that allow readers to download and listen to a broad range of books from a variety of sources. The VictorReader Stream is also compatible with the new digital cartridges available through Ohio’s Talking Books Program.
Thanks to the State Library of Ohio, the SEO Library Center now has 85 Sign Language Kits available for loan. These kits, each containing a VHS tape, a paperback book, an activity sheet, and a tip card, can be used by parents and caregivers to help them read to young children using American Sign Language. Additionally, over the past few years, the State Library of Ohio has awarded Library Services and Technology Act Disability Grants to several school, academic, and public libraries, helping them provide adaptive computer equipment for use by people with disabilities.
The articles in this newsletter highlight just a few of the ways Ohio’s libraries are working to serve children and adults with special needs. Assisting libraries in this endeavor is one way the State Library of Ohio works toward its mission of assisting libraries in providing the best service to all.
State Librarian of Ohio
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