Libraries have long recognized the need to support the visually impaired, in addition to supporting those with other physical challenges. Large print collections have been the standard although with e-readers' ability to enlarge most file types, this now seems to be the preferred format because it opens up the possibility of many more authors and works. As many libraries have found, however, navigating the e-reader and e-book landscape by ownig a group of e-readers is anything but straightforward. And you're still only offering a fraction of your total collection to the visually impaired customer. Enter OrCam. A small camera attaches to your glasses, which is connected to a wearable computer. It reads printed text (among other things) and then provides the information "...through a bone conduction ear piece." (from the website linked above) Now, everything in your library will be readable by the person using this device. You can find some sponsorship for that right?
Markoff, John. "Device from Israeli start-up gives the visually impaired a way to read." New York Times, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
In "A Model for Managing 3D Printing Services in Academic Libraries", the authors, Vincent Scalfani and Josh Sahib, lay the groundwork with enough detail, that any library type now can implement 3D printing in their library using the model described. There's enough information and supporting documentation (they even include their Standard Operating Procedures for the lab) on which to build your own, local experience.
This seems to be difficult. May I propose an approach?
- The first question seems to be, where's the baseline? Make sure that all of your staff can turn everything on and off, they know how to change the main document formats, they can troubleshoot printing problems. They can do their jobs. That's the baseline.
Donna Briggs, the librarian at Roger Bacon High School, is very proud of "her kids." They're engaged and inquisitive and reflect all of the diversity of the city of Cincinnati. On a visit in April, Donna was teaching dance steps from the 1920's (two students asked her to), working on her second iBook (on Evernote), developing her edshelf resources (an educational Pinterest) and meeting with me. Donna looks for and uses the best resources and sometimes that means creating her own. But that is not the usual. She feels there is a lot of excellent material available, it's just difficult to have the time to review all that one might want to. This is one of the reasons she appreciates getting together with other school librarians. It saves time, energy and money to compare notes and share findings. I'm very pleased that Donna is joining our Executive Board beginning in July 2013.
If you'd like to see Donna's edshelf page: The Happy Librarian's Tips & Tutorials
Luz Sinha, the librarian for the Dayton Children's Hospital Library, is very interested in Evidence-Based Medicine. It's not an academic interest. Luz sincerely supports her researchers, residents and nursing students in the pursuit of the best information; information that is not anecdotal but is backed by solid research methodologies. You might say that she is a stickler, but when people's lives depend on your work, being a stickler is a good thing!