New Adaptive Technology now available at the S.F. Public Library
New Adaptive Technology now available at the S.F. Public LibrarySan Francisco’s Main Library now features new assistive technology software on selected public computers. As part of its long-term and ongoing commitment to providing library services to all library users, additional adaptive technology also can be found in branch libraries. Public computers with assistive technology offer magnification, screen readers, voice recognition and more. “We are excited to offer new opportunities for all San Franciscans to fully utilize the resources of the Library,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. The new computer workstations will help make online information and print materials more accessible to persons who are blind, have learning differences (such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder [ADD]), have low vision, or have disabilities that affect their mobility or dexterity. Features of the new computers include ZoomText Magnifier/Reader, software designed specifically for users with low vision, which magnifies text and reads text aloud. Individual users can change print size, color, font style and background color. JAWS is another software which serves users who are blind or have low vision. JAWS enables users to hear text that appears on the computer screen, whether from the online catalog, the Internet or documents created in Microsoft Word or Excel. Another feature, Read & Write, is a text to speech software which speaks text as it is being typed, performs real-time spell checking, can suggest phonetically close spellings, will automatically correct words and provides automatic word prediction. Voice recognition is another important software being offered. Dragon NaturallySpeaking was developed for users unable to effectively use a keyboard: Dragon NaturallySpeaking allows users to enter commands or dictate text by speaking into a microphone. Before learning to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking, users must know how to use Microsoft Windows and any Windows-based program (for example Word or Excel) they will be using. The new computers feature large character keyboards, and different mouses to meet different needs. The Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD) also will feature Braille translation software, Refreshable Braille Display. In addition to these Main Library enhancements, branch library users can request laptop computers for in-library with assistive technology software, including ZoomText, JAWS and DragonNaturallySpeaking. Please allow up to 72 hours to enable a laptop to be sent to the branch where you wish to use it. For more information about these enhancements and other services and technology for persons with disabilities, please call 415 557-4557.