Libraries to host Access for All Tech Open House

The Seattle Public Library and the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) are proud to launch “Access for All: Accessibility Kits & Software” for low vision and blind patrons.

New accessibility software will be available on public computers at every Library location. All computer workstations will have ZoomText, a text-enlargement software program for low vision patrons, and JAWS, screen reading software to assist blind users.

To learn more about the software and kits, everyone is invited to attend an “Access for All” technology open house this fall. The open houses will be happening at Library locations across the city from Wednesday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Dec. 19. Free parking is available at the branch library locations. Parking in the Central Library’s parking garage is $6 after 5:00 p.m. and will be covered for attendees of the LEAP technology open house.

At the open houses, Library staff will give patrons hands-on access to computers with the assistive software. They will also demonstrate how to use magnifiers, Braille systems and other items in the new Accessibility Kits. Dates, times and locations for the “Access for All” technology open houses are as follows.

The “Access for All” kits and software are generously supported by the Safeco Insurance Fund’s “Access for All” inclusion grant and The Seattle Public Library Foundation.

For more information visit the Access for All page, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask a Librarian.



City of Seattle supports assistive technology lab, empowers older adults

IMG_2188Older adults with low vision reconnect with their independence in a new assistive technology learning lab funded by the City of Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund. Low vision caused by age-related eye diseases compromises the ability of older adults to continue activities of daily life, self-care, and even social interaction. One nonprofit, Sight Connection, enhances the ability of individuals with vision loss to lead active independent lives. The Technology Matching Fund provided Sight Connection with a wide selection of assistive technology devices for lab participants to experiment with for their personal goals. Over 440 low vision lab participants discovered assistive technology devices help them read, write, communicate and search online, and accomplish other tasks linked to independence. At age seventy and living with macular degeneration, Barbara Reedal found an electronic magnifier and an iPad could help her write cards to loved ones, send emails, and read paperwork to become a kitten foster mother. She claims, “Things started looking better as soon as I became aware of everything available. My next goal is to use a smart phone and I know I can try it at Sight Connection.” Through the Technology Matching Fund, older adults are living life with low vision on their terms and giving back to their community. Visit to learn more about Sight Connection and the assistive technology learning lab.

Accessibility Camp Wins

Cindy Shelly from Microsoft demonstrates programming capacity for movement tracking and voice recognition in the Xbox Kinnect.

Audio loops, making the Xbox Kinnect an assistive tool, tactile maps for public spaces, iPhone optical character recognition, and shapes vs. colors in web design were just a few topics of the great exchange at the second Accessibility Camp Seattle, held at Seattle Public Library June 2 and 3.

The open conference brought disability software developers, advocates, assistive technology users and others to learn and work on tools and digital inclusion strategies.

The conference was sponsored by library, Microsoft Accessibility, Speak to Me, UW Do-IT, LiveScribe Education and TechSmith. See more on their Facebook or Twitter at @a11ysea and on the conference web site, here.

The box is about $200 and can be programmed with a free software development kit and Visual Studio.