Castlerea Library launches new resource for visually impaired

As part of the ‘Make Way Day’ campaign which took place last Friday (September 30th), Roscommon County Council, through its library network, are showcasing a new device at their Castlerea branch, aimed at supporting service users who are visually impaired, dyslexic and those with other needs.

The new device is called an ‘i-See HD electronic magnifier’ and has been recommended specifically by the National Council for the Blind (NCBI). The equipment was supplied and installed by the NCBI along with training provided for library staff and users.

The device is designed to be easy and accessible to use. It can increase text and image size to more than 70 times the original size, making it suitable for use by people with different levels and types of visual impairment. The device has settings that make letters clearly legible, aiding users with visual impairments, literacy needs and people with dyslexia.

The idea for such a facility emerged after Castlerea branch librarian Breege Beirne, was approached by library user, Pearse Bolger, to establish if the branch could source equipment that would assist visually impaired persons to read and study books in the library.

The library service researched various options and worked closely with the NCBI to source the most suitable equipment. The NCBI facilitated Pearse to try various equipment in their offices in Athlone before making a recommendation on the equipment.

The equipment was purchased by Roscommon County Council through the support of the Dormant Accounts Fund. Pearse Bolger, together with his guide dog Quantum, was in attendance in Castlerea Library to showcase the device.

Speaking at the library, Mr. Bolger thanked Roscommon County Council, branch librarian Breege Beirne and Cllr. Anthony Waldron specifically for the great support he received, claiming the new device would have “a transformative effect” on how he and other service users would be able to utilise library services.

“This new facility allows me to make better use of my local library facilities. As someone with a visual impairment, I can once again read and study various books and newspapers suitable to my interests, greatly supporting my independence and quality of life in general,” Pearse said.

Independent councillor Anthony Waldron also acknowledged the support of NCBI and Roscommon County Council.

“I would like to pay particular tribute to the local authority for their foresight and initiative in delivering this valuable service to library users, not just like Pearse, but to others who may be visually impaired, or find this device useful. I would like to see further investment in making Council services more accessible,” he said.

Roscommon County Librarian Sandra Turner said Roscommon County Council were delighted to promote the new device under the Government’s Dormant Accounts funding stream.