DTvip is the strand of DIGITAL TUESDAYS which supports VIPs (visually impaired people) to learn to use digital technologies. It is also the inspiration for the LIBRARIES FOR EVERYONE accessible-by-default model for public libraries.
How do you use the free computers, books and other printed information in public libraries if you have low vision or dyslexia? LIBRARIES FOR EVERYONE makes it possible for people with low vision or print impairment to use the library computers to access the internet and use online services. It also makes it possible to access printed books, newspapers and documents using the Advanced Reading Technology devices which have been installed in the library. These devices, which are very easy to use, enable any printed information to be read aloud or greatly magnified onto a TV screen. LIBRARIES FOR EVERYONE aims to get these technologies into libraries across the UK, not just in Lambeth.
In 2014 we 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 by 2015 the new keyboards have been installed as standard in all 10 Lambeth Libraries, starting with the refurbished Streatham Tate 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. Dolphin SuperNova, can be accessed on all public computers in every Lambeth library.
We also show people how to use free screenreader programmes like the Thunder software, which reads aloud what is written on the screen. For some years, Thunder was installed on all public library computers in Lambeth but a recent IT upgrade means we can no longer use the Thunder programme, although individuals can still download this programme onto their own computers (links below). We are changing to another free screenreader called NVDA and are currently sorting out the logistics for how individual users can access this programme in all Lambeth libraries. 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. WebbIE, which also has an inbuilt magnifier, is available on all public library computers in Lambeth. Here is the site to download WebbIE, www.webbie.org.uk.
In addition to the work with computers we have helped raised funds to buy easy-to-use Advanced Reading Technology 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 magnifier which plugs into any TV and allows you to magnify print straight onto the TV screen (kindly donated by ASSA – Albert Square and St Stephens Residents Association). This Advanced Reading Technology enables 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 training sessions have been running weekly at Tate South Lambeth Library since 2011. The drop-in sessions are every Tuesday morning from 10 to 12 with breaks at Christmas and Easter. You will need to ring the doorbell as the library is closed to the general public on Tuesdays.
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
DTVIP sessions are now also running each week at Streatham Tate Library. The sessions at Streatham are held every Wednesday from 10 to 12. Just come along on Wednesday morning if you would like to join in.
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