Western Counties Regional Library is raising awareness of its services for people with disabilities from Dec. 3 to 9. International Day of People with Disabilities is on Sunday, Dec. 3.

“We want people to discover the many services that we offer, and books by, for, and about people with disabilities,” says Lydia Hunsberger, manager of collections and digital services for the library.

One of the newer additions to the library’s collection are Playaways. A Playaway is a pre-loaded audiobook that gives library users the portability and freedom to take audiobooks everywhere. They are similar in size to an iPod and do not need to connect to the Internet or need to be downloaded. Borrowers do need to ensure they have headphones and suitable batteries.

“Playaways are very popular,” says Hunsberger.

Some of the services and items the library offers include:
  • Large print books
  • Audiobooks and eBooks
  • Portable DAISY talking book players
  • Access to Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS)
  • Playaways
  • Autism fidget and sensory tool kits
  • Borrow-by-Mail and staff-assisted selection
  • Videos and DVDs with descriptive text
  • Captioned videos and DVDs

Many of these items will be part of displays at library branches during the celebration. The library also has accessible computer workstations at all 10 of its branches. These stations each have a 27-inch full HD monitor, Adesso 4-times large print keyboard, and a Kensington trackball mouse.

Library staff can help people find books or audiobooks, Hunsberger says. This can be a one-time service or it can be ongoing with staff supplying people with their favourite authors and new titles based on reading preferences.

CELA and NNELS offer downloadable audio and electronic books (DAISY, MP3, and e-text formats) and braille to people with print disabilities. People can sign up to download books to their own devices, or have items delivered to their home or library.

A woman in a beige sweater holds a Playaway, a black pre-loaded audiobook in an orange plastic case in front of library shelves
Lydia Hunsberger of Western Counties Regional Library holds holds a Playaway, a pre-loaded audiobook that gives library users the portability and freedom to take audiobooks everywhere.

As part of the week of events, representatives from Inclusion Clare will give a presentation on their organization and what it does for and with its clients on Friday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 p.m. at the library’s Clare branch. Inclusion Clare fosters and promotes accessible and responsive living, working and learning opportunities in service of adults with disabilities in the community of Clare. This program is for adults. People are asked to register no later than Thursday, Dec. 7 by contacting the library.