State Library Highlights Services for Visually Impaired During Blindness Awareness Month, October 2016

Computer and iPad Trainings Offered at Libraries Across the State to
Help Users Who Are Blind or Have Experienced a Change in Vision

TRENTON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In New Jersey, public libraries are at the heart of their communities
and play an important role in reaching out to those with print
impairments. The New Jersey State Library’s Talking Book & Braille
Center (TBBC) has joined forces with state agencies and organizations
focused on serving New Jersey’s visually impaired, to enhance access to
assistive technology across the state. To help raise awareness during
Blindness Awareness Month, which takes place annually during the month
of October, TBBC is highlighting all of its assistive technology
services through a webpage on the State Library website: http://www.njstatelib.org/accessibility/.

TBBC has partnered with select public libraries to provide the following
programs, at no additional cost to residents:

  • The Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) provides free computer and
    iPad training classes at assistive technology learning centers located
    in seven public libraries across the state. Training includes beginner
    and advanced level instruction on how to use reading magnification and
    audio tools to read websites, emails and other documents, as well as
    an introduction to using the assistive technology features now
    available on iPads. This program is sponsored by the New Jersey
    Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), and targets
    adults 55 years of age and older.
  • TBBC has also arranged trainings to teach veterans how to use the
    assistive technology features on iPads, to help reduce the digital
    divide for veterans with visual impairments or blindness by
    introducing them to new technologies that can assist them in their
    daily living. The training includes magnification and text-to-speech
    features, as well as an introduction to using assistive apps. This
    program was made possible through a grant from Disability Rights New
    Jersey.

Instruction for both programs will be provided by Advancing
Opportunities, leader in assistive technology training.

“Public libraries are learning centers for new technology,” said Adam
Szczepaniak, deputy state librarian and director of TBBC. “These
initiatives help boost that level of learning to include not only
assistive software for those with vision impairments, but training, as
well, which is in high demand by those who need assistance learning how
to use an iPad, or who need help browsing the internet because their
vision is changing.”

New Jersey’s Blind Awareness Month resolution from the Assembly was
sponsored by Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald and by Assemblywoman Pamela
R. Lampitt, both of District 6 and was signed into law by Governor John
Corzine in 2009.

About the New Jersey State Library

The New Jersey State Library (NJSL), an affiliate of Thomas Edison State
University, connects people with information and resources through its
service to libraries, government and people including those with special
needs. NJSL’s mission has expanded since its establishment in 1796 to
lead in the provision, promotion and support of high quality library and
information services to all the people of NJ. Led by State Librarian
Mary Chute, NJSL coordinates, promotes and funds the NJ Library Network
by providing advisory and technical information and services to support
NJ’s libraries in the fulfillment of their missions. NJSL also provides
support for public, school, academic, and special libraries, and
continues to promote services for learners of all ages, including key
areas of continuing need such as digital literacy, business outreach,
workforce development, and summer reading programs. NJSL continues its
focus on innovation and future trends, and seeks out exemplary models
and technologies that can help assist the NJ library community in
remaining relevant and essential community anchors. For more
information, visit www.njstatelib.org.

Contacts

Media:
New Jersey
State Library

Gary Cooper, 609-278-2640 ext. 108
gcooper@njstatelib.org