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In 2014, the ORL conducted an assessment on library usage in communities throughout its service area, and one of the key findings was that the growing Westside community is due for an increase in library services. While the West Kelowna branch in Westridge Mall has expanded in recent years, the ORL recognizes there are other ways to support the burgeoning area and is seeking input from local residents.
An online survey has been created for both ORL members and non-members to glean what types of programs and services would be most beneficial to those living on the Westside. The survey should take about five minutes to complete and is completely confidential. The ORL is offering a draw to those that complete the survey to win a $100 gift certificate to Save-On-Foods.
The survey can be found at: http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/orl/westside-needs-assessment. For those that don’t have computer access at home, the survey can be filled out at the West Kelowna Library or by calling them at 250-768-4369.
A new pilot program at Kelowna library branches is bringing a wealth of new materials to members with print disabilities, thanks to funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF).
The "iPad Accessibility Project" enables those who cannot read traditional print books - either due to a visual disability, an inability to manipulate books manually, or a cognitive disability - to use tablets for their reading pleasure and education. The project takes advantage of specially-created files designed by the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) that can convert books in text format to audio. Other apps and the iPad’s accessibility settings can also be manipulated to alter the screen in a way that makes print more legible.
“This project harnesses all these great new technologies and puts them together in a way that gets our library collections into the hands of people who otherwise might not be able to use them,” explains Kelowna Branch's Reference and Instruction Supervisor, Christine McPhee.
The ORL has long carried large print books and audiobooks for customers that prefer these formats. But even these formats don't work for everyone with print disabilities, and selection can be limited.
"With funding from the COF and the iPads, we can dramatically open up the breadth of materials available for our print-disabled members," adds McPhee
90-year-old Madeleine Jeanson, who suffers from advanced macular degeneration and doesn’t have a computer at home, is delighted with the iPad project.
"The service is really great. The staff download great books for me, and it's so easy to use – press a few buttons and go," she says. "I just finished 'The Grapes of Wrath' - what a pleasure to read Steinbeck again!"
Six iPads were funded by a grant from the COF for use at the three library branches in the City of Kelowna in Rutland, Mission and downtown.
Bruce Davies, the Executive Director of the Foundation says, "This was an excellent opportunity for us to make resources truly accessible to people that need them the most. We believe promoting literacy is a key component of being a smart and caring community.”
Currently, only ORL members who qualify as print disabled are eligible to use the specially-equipped iPads.
"The iPads are already being well-used and we would love to be able to expand the program with more iPads and to other ORL locations, if more funding were available," adds McPhee.
For more information, contact the Kelowna Branch Reference Services Desk at 250-762-2800, Ext. 2820.
Photo: Madeleine Jeanson and Bruce Davies hold a specially-equipped iPad that gives the 90-year-old suffering from macular degeneration greater access to the ORL’s resources.
The ORL's annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) is already a smashing success with thousands of children aged 5-12 year-old throughout the library district signed up! 5,000 reading records were distributed to the ORL's 29 branches earlier this summer and many locations are already running low. Stocks of more reading records will be coming to branches shortly.
This year's SRC theme is "Book A Trip" and each library branch is hosting special events, contests and prizes to encourage school-age kids to read during the holidays and keep their literacy skills sharp. For more information, visit the Summer Reading Club page or your local branch webpage.
Not sure what to read? Our children's librarians are happy to help with creating a custom booklist based on your little one's reading level and likes - simply visit our Custom Booklist page!
Hot off the presses - our ORL 2015 Annual Report highlights the library system's accomplishments over the past year. Learn more by clicking here.
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