Libraries: Fitting the Need for All Their Patrons
James Davis using JAWS screen reader
According to the American Federation of the Blind, more than 25 million American adults are living with significant vision loss. James Davis relies on the JAWS (Job Access With Speech) screen reader at Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library to give him the ability to work on a computer using the same programs and applications as a sighted person.
JAWS for Windows is a powerful accessibility solution that relays information on the screen through synthesized speech. JAWS provides many useful commands that make it easier to use programs, edit documents, and read web pages. With a refreshable Braille display, JAWS can also provide Braille output in addition to, or instead of, speech.
Richard Lee, executive director of Waukegan Public Library, says, “I’ve always been interested in adaptive technology. We’re here to serve this whole community, so we have to find ways to tailor our offerings to fit the needs of all of our patrons.” When Davis requested a screen reader at the library, Lee began researching options. The library installed JAWS in an existing private tutoring room to prevent the software’s synthesized voice from disturbing other patrons.
Davis explains JAWS by saying, “JAWS lets me read word by word, letter by letter, or line by line. It gives me audible feedback as I go.” JAWS enables the use of technology at every patron’s fingertips.