DTvip is the strand of DIGITAL TUESDAYS which is designed specifically for VIPs (visually impaired people).
How do you use the free computers, books and other standard printed information in public libraries if you have a visual impairment?
DTvip makes it easier for people with sight loss to use the library computers to access the internet. We also explain how to use the new Advanced Reading Technologies in the library, which enable printed books, newspapers and documents to be read aloud or greatly magnified onto a TV screen. These technologies are also very helpful for people with dyslexia.
We have worked with Lambeth Libraries and Archives to install high visibility keyboards on all public computers at Tate South Lambeth Library. These are so popular with general library users that the new keyboards will be rolled out to all 10 Lambeth Libraries in the next few months, starting with the refurbished Streatham Tate Library and Waterloo. As well as a standard QWERTY layout, the keyboards have a row of tactile keys at the top which allow one-touch access to the speech and magnification provided by the commercial Dolphin SuperNova software, more information below.
We also show people how to use free screenreader programmes like the Thunder software, which reads aloud what is written on the screen. Thunder is now installed on all public library computers in Lambeth. The commercial screenreader Dolphin SuperNova, which also contains a magnifier, can also be accessed on all public computers in every Lambeth library.
For those who already have a computer at home, the Thunder software can be downloaded at no cost from www.screenreader.net. Thunder can be copied to a USB stick, so once you have learned to use it you can carry it with you and and run it on any computer. You can use Thunder with the free text only web browser WebbIE, which converts web pages into text so they can be easily read by the screenreader. Here is the site to download WebbIE, www.webbie.org.uk. WebbIE has an inbuilt magnifier. In future we will probably change from Thunder to another free programme, NVDA, which we plan to trial during 2014.
In addition to the work with computers we have helped raised funds to buy easy-to-use equipment like the Eye Pal Solo reading machine (OCR text-to-speech) which will read aloud any book or printed document/ newspaper, and the Cobolt TV mouse which plugs into any TV and allows you to magnify print straight onto the TV screen (kindly donated by local residents’ association ASSA). These Advanced Reading Technologies enable people with low vision or print impairments like dyslexia to read books, newspapers and documents in the library as well as use the computers.
DTvip sessions have been running at Tate South Lambeth Library since 2011. The weekly sessions run every Tuesday morning from 10 to 12. TSL is at 180 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1QP, halfway between Vauxhall and Stockwell tube stations. The number 88 and number 2 bus stop right outside at a stop called Tate Library. Tel: 0207 926 0705 More Information on the library is here: Tate South Lambeth Library
Read more on the DTvip blog or read this article about the DTvip project by Peter Abrahams of Bloor Research, published 21st August 2011. For the DTVIP links page, which also includes a link to the other free screenreader, NVDA, click here