Making Connections: Partnering to Maximize our ADA Technology
HPLD has 11 public computer centers throughout the 4,000 square miles of Weld County, so when we purchased our two ADA workstations, we weren’t sure how to choose which centers would receive them. We wanted to put them in a place where our community members with disabilities would be able to easily access them, and we also wanted to be sure that we were able to get the word out to our patrons about these resources.
We decided that what was needed was an informed partner; we found one in Connections for Independent Living (CfIL). CfIL “promotes independent living and the empowerment of all people with disabilities,” and is one of ten certified Independent Living Centers in Colorado. Because CfIl was already a main resource in the community for those living with disabilities, it made perfect sense to partner with them in providing access to the ADA workstations. We used space in their newly remodeled facility to set up a Public Computer Center, and the workstations are now available to patrons 40 hours a week. The center is open to any HPLD cardholder, not just consumers of CfIL, but the majority of users at this PCC are already patrons of CfIL. This is as we anticipated and hoped, and the workstations are easily accessible for exactly the audience we wanted to target.
The two workstations each consist of:
- Laptop with the full MS Office Suite
- Keys-U-See large print wireless keyboard and mouse
- BigTrack Trackball mouse
- Jaws Professional
- Kurzweil 3000
HPLD staff provide a weekly drop-in computer help session, where users can come in with their technology questions or just to practice with friendly support nearby. We also offer Book a Librarian appointments for individual instruction and for those who are unable to make it to our drop-in time. Questions range from how to set up an email to how to make use of Kurzweil, which means sometimes we end up learning right alongside the patron! One of our users came to us unable to operate a mouse. Through our sessions, he worked up through keyboarding, internet navigation, and email. Now he is filling out online job applications!
The PCC at CfIL has been open since 8/2011, and we are just starting to hit our stride. The entire staff of CfIL attended the ADA training offered by the Colorado State Library, as did our HPLD staff members, so we’re all feeling better equipped to assist patrons with the ADA stations and we hope that use will continue to go up!