Assistive Technologies in the Library

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Authors
  • Reviews

There are plenty of products out there for making information accessible to all users, but how can administrators and managers determine which are the most practical and economical for their particular library? Mates, former director of the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, strips away the technical jargon and introduces dozens of the latest options, including hardware, software, and peripherals. This guide will help readers

  • Choose the products that are best for their organization, with the help of the evaluative commentary, lists of suppliers, and additional resources included
  • Set up work stations and train staff on how to use assistive-technology such as screen readers, Braille displays, keyboard options, listening devices, and more
  • Meet compliance with regulatory agencies while benefiting every member of the community

This sensitively written and practical guidebook will be an indispensable resource for ensuring that a library's offerings are accessible to everyone.


1. The Library's Mission: To Serve All Patrons
2. Creating Accessible Electronic Information
3. Seeing the Bigger Picture: Large-Print-Access Technology Solutions
4. When Computers Talk: Listening to the Web and Printed Materials
5. Touching the Internet: Braille Access to the Internet
6. Seeing the Sounds: Technologies for Persons with Hearing Impairments
7. Surfing the Internet with a "Different" Board
8. Accessible Collections, Resources, and Discussion Forums
9. Staff Make It All Work
10. Finding the Funding
11. We Got It—Come and Get It; or, Marketing
12. Creating Avenues for Accessible Electronic Communication


Appendix A Vendors
Appendix B Additional Resources
Appendix C Grant Opportunities


Barbara T. Mates

Barbara T. Mates, is Head, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Cleveland Public Library. Ms. Mates has been very active with the American Library Association. She a member of the American Library Association's Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Services (ASCLA) and has served on several ASCLA committees. Equal access to libraries and information has been the focal point of her career. She is Chair of the Outreach and Special Services Committee of the Ohio Library Council. She is the author of Adaptive Technology for the Internet: Making Electronic Resources Accessible to All (ALA, 2000) and the article, "Accessibility Guidelines for Electronic Resources" (Library Technology Reports, 2001). She regularly speaks to various groups about access to information. Ms. Mates has presented papers at the American Library Association, Ohio Library Conference, Computers in Libraries, and conducted workshops across North America. She was the recipient of the ASCLA Francis Joseph Campbell Award.

William R. Reed IV

William R. Reed IV is the regional librarian for the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, a part of the Cleveland Public Library. He has spent more than 10 years working in library services to patrons with disabilities and training patrons how to use adaptive computers and technology. He is also very active in ASCLA and is currently chair of the Libraries Serving Special Populations Section (LSSPS).

"There is probably no one better qualified than Mates to write about library accessibility for individuals with disabilities ... Whether a library is making a late start on accessibility efforts or updating existing services, this book will prove to be a valuable asset. Highly recommended. "
--Against the Grain