Rapides Parish Library Offers Public Computer for Visually Impaired Customers

The public use computer with the JAWS® applications open and ready to help the visually impaired customer.

(Alexandria, LA) The Rapides Parish Main Library, located at 411 Washington Street (downtown Alexandria), offers to the public an in-library use computer with Job Access With Speech or JAWS® from Freedom Scientific. It is the most popular screen reader available to individuals with vision impairment. The JAWS® screen reader was developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or may have trouble navigating with a mouse. The system provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications.  “The JAWS screen reader reads aloud the contents of documents and web pages,” says Janie Primeaux, Rapides Parish Library Information Technology manager.  “It also speaks standard computer functions for someone who is blind or has low vision.”  Using the commands of this powerful software, you can navigate through documents, programs, forms and websites. The program announces page features and links as well as supporting the features of Microsoft Office® and all Internet browsers.

The system used by the Rapides Parish Library is Windows® based and works with Windows® 8.1 and Windows® 10. “The public-use JAWS computer looks like the other computers available in the library,” says Primeaux.  “The only difference is there is a larger monitor with enlarged icons, a headset that the user wears to hear the voice synthesizer as it identifies cues on-screen and reads selected content.”  In addition to the JAWS reader, there is also a Braille keyboard for customers to use when answering email or entering responses to online forms or applications. The JAWS system also has the capability to speak in over 30 different languages.

Offering this service to the public is just one of the many technological resources available at your neighborhood library.  For more information on this system or other assistive technology available at the Rapides Parish Library contact our Information Technology manager, Janie Primeaux at 318-445-2411 x 1050.

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