Veronica With Four Eyes

Digital Library Resources For Vision Impaired Patrons

Many libraries have been expanding their collection of digital library resources. This is partially because the number of people who cannot access standard print has been growing every year. When this post was first published two years ago, I only used four resources regularly. In the last two years, that number has been consistently increasing. Here is my roundup of digital library resources, with frequent updates.

Zinio Magazines

RBDigital Magazines/Zinio for Libraries is a free service that allows cardholders to check out an unlimited number of magazines. There are almost 100 different magazines to choose from. Some examples of magazines include Vogue, Wired, National Geographic, Seventeen, Reader’s Digest, Popular Science, Highlights for Children, and many more. Magazines are stored in the app and can be accessed online or offline indefinitely.

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OneClickDigital has audiobooks that can be played through an Android, Kindle, or iOS app downloaded from their website. Alternatively, audiobooks can be downloaded from a computer and onto another device using a special file manager that can be found on their website. I like how everything is sorted by genre and how easy it is to find things. OneClickDigital is also merged with RBDigital.

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Check out up to eight books at a time for up to 21 days and read either on an Android, Kindle, or iOS app. Users can also download books to their computer and convert the file using the free Adobe Digital Editions software and put it on any ereader- just know the title will disappear after you return it.

The service also works on Amazon Echo/Amazon Alexa when broadcast to the device as a Bluetooth speaker. I like the large amount of new releases, but it can get frustrating when there are too many people requesting the book.

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Freegal Music

Freegal Music users can download three free songs a week from a massive catalog, or stream for up to three hours a day. Songs are available in mp3 format and are DRM-free. There is also a small selection of audiobooks. I download them to my iPod.

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Kanopy video streaming

Kanopy allows users to watch documentaries, independent films, and Criterion collection movies across a variety of electronic devices. Some libraries have limits on how many movies a user can watch a month, but some let users have unlimited access. Unfortunately, I have not encountered any movies with audio description.

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TumbleBooks for kids

Looking for digital books that can be read out loud? Look no further than TumbleBooks, which has a variety of children’s books for preschool and school aged kids.

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Hoonuit technology tutorials

Hoonuit provides free software training and support tutorials for over 150 software applications, as well as assistance with job searching and career skills. Users can watch videos in order or watch a small segment of a tutorial to learn a specific concept. Videos are available 24/7 and receive regular updates. Users can watch as many videos as they want, and as many times as they want.

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Brainfuse online tutoring

Brainfuse is a tutoring and e-learning company that provides free live tutoring and educational resources for cardholders at participating libraries, schools, and universities. Users have access to tutors during times set by their institution (mine is 2 PM-11 PM) where they can have a live hour long session to go over concepts from class, homework problems, or work on studying for a test

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Mango Languages for Libraries

Mango Languages for Libraries is a free service available through public libraries and colleges worldwide that allows library card holders to learn a new language through interactive lessons, though users can also purchase access to the service for $19.99 a month. Mango Languages lessons focus on developing practical conversational skills and using repetition to reinforce different concepts of each language. Mango Languages is designed for beginning and intermediate language learners, so users looking for advanced lessons may want to look elsewhere.

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Final thoughts

Because of these websites, I have been able to increase my access to materials that are accessible to me and so many other people.  I am so grateful that libraries are adding items that aren’t just books, they are services that can benefit a large amount of people.  Check today to see if your local library has any of these great digital library resources.

Four Online Library Services That Benefit People With Print Disabilities, Low Vision, and Blindness