COOLIDGE — Residents who might need assistance in reading the fine print while at the Coolidge Library are now in luck.
On Friday, the library staff flanked by Coolidge Mayor Jon Thompson and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Information Access Project. The library received $10,000 through the Library Services and Technology Act.
Library Manager Joyce Baker said the equipment was something the visually impaired and others have wanted for some time, but there was no funds to purchase the equipment on its own.
Hobbs said this project aims to provide more resources and better services to the visually impaired community, adding that the grant was used to purchase assistive technology and for new classes for the staff and patrons.
“It is a great example of exactly what our library service division is about,” Hobbs said.
She said awarding this grant will help empower visually impaired patrons to access information on their own without having to rely on assistance.
“This unfettered access to knowledge is one of the things I loved most about libraries from an early age,” she said. “I have nothing but positive memories of libraries.”
She remembers going with her mom every week to check out new books for the summer reading program and getting her first taste of freedom because the library was one place her parents would let her go unsupervised after school.
“The Information Access Project represents a different kind of freedom, one that comes with being able to connect and share ideas with people all over,” Hobbs said. “So, we at the secretary of state’s office are privileged to partner, not only with the Coolidge Library, but libraries all over the state to expand access for all Arizonans.”
Before cutting the ribbon, Thompson said the new technology will benefit those who were having trouble at libraries.
Baker said the new equipment can dramatically increase the text size on the computers, change the color of the print and even read the text back to the person using it.
She said part of the grant was for two hand-held devices for patrons to use because there are many people who prefer being able to find materials on their own with no assistance.