Visual aid

  • John Santana<br>Mill Creek Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:40am

Most of you reading this story probably can’t see all the tiny details that went into the printing of this newspaper. But Rob Schumer of Mill Creek got to see just how many ink dots make up a single letter on a printed page last week.

Schumer was looking at a recent edition of The Enterprise through a new closed-circuit television monitor at the Mill Creek Library that enables people with visual impairments to read easier. The device magnifies items up to 50 times its normal size.

“It zooms in so far it can’t even focus,” Schumer said.

Another feature of the monitor is that a viewer can convert the viewing area so the text becomes white with a black background, as opposed to the standard black lettering on a white backdrop.

“They always say read the small print,” said Nancy Patton of the Sno-Isle Library District Foundation. “Now you can.”

The library hosted an event Friday, Jan. 21 to thank three area Lions Club organizations for donating $2,100 toward the purchase the video magnifier. Managing librarian Eric Spencer commemorated the donation with recognition on a plaque the library has for those who have assisted it in various ways.

The three organizations that raised and donated funds were the Lions of Zone 19-B-3, the Snohomish County Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, and the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight and Hearing.

The monitor is only the second one in the Sno-Isle Library District, said Patton, who wrote the grant in spring 2004 to get the monitor. The Lynnwood Library also has the technology, which it got in 2003.

“It’s a wonderful gift to the community for those with limited sight,” Patton said, adding that she’s seen people use the monitor to read prescription bottles, look at pictures and write checks.

Patton said the goal of Sno-Isle is to have at least one of the monitors at a branch in each of the district’s four regions. Lynnwood is the location for the south region, with Mill Creek being the one for the east region.

The district is hoping to get one apiece for Island County and north Snohomish County, Patton said.

Mill CreekLlibrary patrons had expressed interest in having such a monitor at the branch, Spencer said.

“I’ve had patrons ask if we had one, and if not, when would we get one. So when the question of a grant came up, I said we’d be interested (in getting a monitor) because we’ve had requests.”

The viewer is currently located near the government and consumer references documents on the library’s east end, on the opposite side of the main entrance. Spencer said the monitor may be moved, as the library is making changes to its floor layout.

Since the monitor is the size of a standard personal computer, albeit taller, finding a new location to put it at may not be terribly difficult.

“They don’t take up a lot of room on a table,” said Mill Creek Lions Club and Friends of the Mill Creek Library member Roy deSoto.

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