Many people with low vision, blindness, and other print disabilities believe that libraries are useless to them. After all, the large print section often consists of romance novels and board books, and not much else, or the books are still not large enough. And the Braille selection is often even more limited. However, there is a growing amount of libraries that are adding online resources that are accessible not only to sighted patrons, but also those that do not read standard print material. Here are four of the services I’ve been seeing most often at my libraries. All of these are free with your library card at participating libraries. For more on accessing college libraries, click here.
This allows users to download magazines from a variety of topics and read them free of charge on their devices. I frequently read food magazines, but there are so many different genres that there is something for everyone. Text can be scaled as large as necessary and pictures are high contrast as well. Recently, Zinio for Libraries merged with RBDigital, but the service has not changed much. Read my post on Zinio and RBDigital here.
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. Check out their website here.
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 allegedly works on Amazon Echo/Amazon Alexa when broadcast to the device as a Bluetooth speaker, but I have not tested this. I like the large amount of new releases, but it can get frustrating when there are too many people requesting the book. Check out their website here.
Want to learn more about eReaders? Read my post here.
Want to read my review of the Kindle Fire? Read my post here.
Freegal Music users can download three free songs a week from a massive catalog, or stream for up to three hours a day. There are audiobooks available and they are downloaded as MP3 files and can be played wherever MP3s are played. I download them to my iPod. Check out their website here.
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 resources, and don’t be afraid to ask them if they don’t- the worst they can say is no!