The Loyola-Notre Dame Library has opened an adaptive technology lab complete with cutting edge equipment and software that offers people with disabilities increased access to print and digital communications.
The France-Merrick Digital Media & Adaptive Technology Lab is a collaborative effort among Loyola University Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University, and the library and is open to students and employees from both universities and patrons of the library. The new lab is located in the existing France-Merrick Digital Media Lab, originally designed for work on digital projects. With the addition of specialty hardware and software, the lab will be an asset for library patrons with visual impairments, hearing impairments, and learning disabilities.
“While many university libraries do provide some adaptive technology for students with disabilities, the Loyola-Notre Dame Library is a dedicated space and provides this service to two separate universities and the surrounding community,” said Barbara Preece, director of the library. “It’s an incredibly valuable resource and I’m honored the library was able to work closely with Loyola and Notre Dame on such an important project.”
Loyola’s disability support services (DSS) office took hardware and software it had already acquired and donated it to the lab. The technology services office at Loyola paid for upgrades to software and also provided the staff to install software and hardware in the lab.
Adaptive technology includes screen-reading and closed-caption software, among other technology that can eliminate barriers to information. The lab features:
- Kurzweill 3000 (screen reading software to help individuals with reading disabilities)
- Read and Write Gold (literacy software to assist students with learning disabilities)
- ZoomText (screen magnification software to assist individuals who have low vision)
- JAWS (screen reading software to assist blind individuals)
- Braille embosser
- Closed captioned TV
- Wheelchair-accessible desks
Information on how to use the technology is available at the lab, and Loyola DSS is available to provide initial training to users who request assistance.
The library will host an official opening for the lab on Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 4 – 6 p.m. Attendees are asked to RSVP by calling 410-617-6814.