Libraries Without Walls Conference Showcases Adaptive Technology for the Blind

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

June 13, 2017 - Librarians, educators and patrons from around the state met today to learn from experts on how adaptive technology can meet the information needs of the visually or physically impaired via the Internet, online catalogs and electronic media. The daylong event, held at Lansing Community College, was sponsored by the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

"The understanding and accessibility of cutting-edge technology can be a vital communication and learning resource for Michigan residents with disabilities," BSBP Director Bill Robinson said. "Our bureau is focused on providing a diverse set of quality services to BSBP Director Bill Robinsonensure that blind individuals have the opportunities they need to achieve active employability and independence."

The event featured keynote Larry Lewis, president of Flying Blind LLC (shown in photo), who spoke on adaptive technology in the workplace environment utilizing cloud computing. Participants attended up to three breakout sessions from an array of topics including Google’s Chromebox screen reader, Android accessibility, NVDA open source screen reading, Apple iOS, and Voice Over, Amazon Echo vs. Google Home, training opportunities for teachers, screen enlargement and magnification, and an overview of the new BrailleNote Touch.

For more information on the above topics, please contact Scott Norris, adaptive technology librarian, BSBP Braille and Talking Book Library, 800-992-9012, norriss5@michigan.gov. Michigan residents can find more information on technology related to blindness and visual impairment on the BTBL resource page here 

The BSBP provides training and other services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to achieve employment and/or independence in the careers of their choice. These services include:

  • The BSBP Business Enterprise Program (BEP) provides blind individuals with opportunities for employment. The BEP operates vending routes and cafeteria facilities in state and federal government facilities as well as in a limited number of private buildings. The role of the BEP is to guide and assist the operator in achieving upward mobility.
  • The bureau’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program helps blind residents become employed in a career that suits their current or potential abilities. The program provides diagnostic evaluations, vocational counseling, and training in skills of blindness at no cost.
  • The bureau’s Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) serves people with visual and physical impairments that prevent the reading of standard print material. The library loans books and magazines in braille and audio formats to those who qualify.
  • The BSBP has services that can help the visually impaired understand and access cutting-edge technology and provides training on the accessibility of the iPhone, iPad and Android operating system, and the capabilities of many screen reader programs.

For more information about BSBP visit www.michigan.gov/bsbp or call toll-free: 800-292-4200, TTY 888-864-1212.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara

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