Trenton residents with low vision now have easy access to assistive technology software and devices, thanks to the New Jersey Human Services and the New Jersey State Library ‘s Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) at the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center in Trenton.
New Jersey Human Services and New Jersey State Library representatives gathered today for a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the program. The Talking Book & Braille Center is located at 2300 Stuyvesant Avenue.
The program, which is a collaboration between the Department’s Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), the New Jersey State Library’s Talking Book & Braille Center (TBBC) and Advancing Opportunities, provides free computer and iPad training classes to adults 55 years of age and older experiencing vision loss. The classes will demonstrate how to use accessibility features on computers and iPads, such as magnification and audio reading tools, so users can read websites, emails, and other documents with ease.
“The Department of Human Services is delighted to expand this great program to make these critical tools available to the residents of Trenton,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “With this program, adults who have had a change in vision can better access their favorite book, respond to emails or read the news. We are committed to helping New Jerseyans with low-vision and other vision issues continue a lifestyle of visual independence as much as possible.”
Dr. Bernice Davis, Executive Director of the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, also celebrated the opening of the program. “The Commission is committed to dedicating our resources towards preventing blindness and providing people-centered services that facilitate equality in education, employment and quality of life for New Jersey residents who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind,” said Dr. Davis.
“CBVI’s LEAP initiative is groundbreaking. For the first time, New Jerseyans with visual disabilities can travel to a number of public libraries across the State and have state-of-the-art accessible software available to them on computer workstations and iPads,” said Adam Szczepaniak, Director of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center.
The Library Equal Access program is available at 10 public libraries across the State. Registration is currently open for the fall season for weekly beginner or intermediate level classes.
The ceremony is part of a series of events marking October as Blindness Awareness Month, which was recognized by a proclamation signed by Governor Murphy. The Governor’s proclamation highlighted the achievements of New Jerseyans who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind and the importance of independent living supports, vocational rehabilitation and eye health services provided by the Commission.
“The LEAP program is a terrific resource to older New Jerseyans with vision loss; it provides them with the tools and resources they need to be able to remain independent in their homes and use technology to remain engaged in their communities,” said Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira.
For more information or to sign up for a free class, call the Talking Book & Braille Center at 800-792-8322, extension 812.