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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Magnifying Machines a "Godsend"

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Adult Services Librarian Bob Blanchard.

Reading can be a joy. For people who think they can no longer read because of some degree of vision loss, reading can be just as much of a joy -- with a little help from a magnifying machine checked out from our library.

Magnifying machines can change lives. When an older person used one such machine to view a photo of her great-grandson for the first time, she said, “This is a godsend!” Another patron, who is legally blind, was overjoyed because she was able to make out letters and words with the aid of a magnifier.

The library has several magnifying machines that are available to public library cardholders for an eight-week loan period. For Des Plaines Public Library cardholders, we even deliver them, demonstrate how they’re used, and pick them up when they’re due.

The library also has other equipment that help people with disabilities live as independently as they can, but magnifying machines are most popular for those with visual limitations such as macular degeneration. Also known as closed-circuit televisions, or CCTVs, these machines can enlarge print and images, thereby making it easier for some people to read books, magazines, newspapers and even their mail. The library also has two portable magnifying machines.

To learn more about the library’s collection of magnifying machines and other assistive devices, call me, Bob Blanchard, at 847-376-2793. You can see photos of some of our machines on the library Web site, under the “special services” heading. Also, when you’re in the library, ask for a copy of our AccessAbility brochure, which details other devices and services for people with disabilities. You can also download that brochure, in PDF format. These devices and services could make a difference in your life or the life of a family member or friend.

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