Visually-impaired readers get help

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Assistant librarian Marny Twigge at NWT Centennial Library demonstrates how to use its new magnifier for people with visual impairment.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Assistant librarian Marny Twigge at NWT Centennial Library demonstrates how to use its new magnifier for people with visual impairment.

People with visual impairment can now take advantage of an updated magnifier for reading at NWT Centennial Library.

The new equipment – called a Traveller HD Optelec Magnifier – went into use several weeks ago.

“It’s very, very clear,” said Marny Twigge, an assistant librarian. “It probably makes the thing looked clearer than actually it is in reality.”

It is also compact, very light and portable, meaning a user can take it to any table in the library and place books and other printed material underneath and read from a screen.

“They can put it on their laps if they want because it is very light,” said Twigge. “It’s easier on a table to scan back and forth.”

The colour of the letters and the background can also be changed to make it easier for people to read.

Twigge said it is also quite simple to operate.

Visually impaired people can sign out the magnifier to use.

“They can’t take it out of the library,” said Twigge. “They can sign it out to use it while they’re here.”

The library has had the magnifier for quite some time, but a cord went missing before it went into service and a new one had to be ordered.

“It’s only been in use a couple of weeks now,” said Twigge.

The new magnifier replaces at older one that the library had for about a decade or more.

“It’s much easier than the old one,” said Twigge.

The older magnifier stopped working at least a year ago, when some of its keys were broken when children would play with it thinking it was a computer.

“It was a great big machine,” said Twigge, noting it is no longer in use by the library.

She said two people have so far used the new magnifier.

“I think a lot of it is just letting people know it’s out there,” she said.

Marilyn Green is one of people who have tried the new magnifier.

“I thought it was really good,” she said. “It’s very portable unlike the other machine where you have to be sitting right at a desk.”

Green said it is really good for magazines, newspapers and that kind of thing but a little bit trickier to use with books.

However, she thinks it is way more usable compared to the library’s former magnifier.

Green estimated there are about 20 people with visual impairment in Hay River who could make use of the new magnifier.