Hoag Library adds magnifying shield to computer to help patrons with impaired vision

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Adult services librarian Michael Magnuson watches Carrie Heise use a computer at Hoag Library which has been fitted with a magnifying shield for those with vision problems.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 19 April 2024 at 12:58 pm

ALBION – Carrie Heise often goes to Hoag Library to use their computers, but with developing vision problems, found it difficult to see the screen.

She had heard about a shield which magnifies letters and one day mentioned the idea to librarian Betty Sue Miller.

Carrie Heise of Albion is delighted with the addition of a magnifying shield to one of the computers at Hoag Library. She suggested the idea and librarian Betty Sue Miller wasted no time ordering one.

Miller immediately said, “Let’s see what we can do about this.”

Miller contacted Lions International who suggested she reach out to Advantage Tech Support Company in regard to which model to buy.

She ordered the shield they suggested and it was fitted on one of the library’s computers, which are available for the public to use.

“I thought of putting it on a computer in the teen room, but realized that would be an invitation for kids to play on it, then someone who really needed it wouldn’t be able to use it,” Miller said.

The shield also comes with a special keyboard with larger keys, making it easier for a person with impaired vision to use.

Miller said more and more people are using their computers at the library rather than replace their own equipment at home.

That was the case with Carrie and her husband Bud. When the cost of their internet service kept going up, they decided to cancel it and take advantage of the library’s computers.

Miller said several people have mentioned having the magnifying shield on one of the computers will be a huge benefit to them.

Miller has also ordered a foldable privacy screen which will fit on either side of the computer, ensuring the user’s privacy. In addition, the new magnifying shield is designed so what is on the screen is only visible to the person sitting right in front of it.

“When people ask if we would consider something new, we are happy to do it,” Miller said.