The Tate South Lambeth Library is piloting some pioneering new aids for users with visual impairments – with financial support for one gadget coming from ASSA through the monies we raise through community fundraising activities.
ASSA contributed £350 towards the costs of a pioneering new mouse reader plus screen. The mouse, which is larger than the average computer mouse and has an in-built camera, is plugged into a TV screen and can be dragged or nudged across text, which is then magnified to be easily read on the large screen (see photo). This gadget should do much to help visually impaired readers make even more use of the library.
The project, developed by Vauxhall CIC (Community Interest Company), had an airing in the library during National Libraries Day on Saturday 8 February, and has since been installed, along with new accessible keyboards on all the public computers in the library – the first in the UK to install such keyboards, which are very visually clear and user-friendly.
Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, visited the library on 4 March to see the new equipment in action, and was clearly impressed by the project, as well as by the regulars at the Digital Tuesdays for visually impaired users, who spoke very forcefully of the need for such aids and how life-changing the weekly events are for those who lose their sight.
Christina Burnett, a director of Vauxhall CIC, says that the TV mouse and screen “will make it possible for people who can’t see small print to access all the books, newspapers and other printed information in the library once again.
“We are very grateful to ASSA as the equipment will make a huge difference to the lives of many local people.”