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Thursday, September 26, 2013

If I Have Trouble Reading Small Print, Is There Anything That Can Help Me Keep Reading?

"As I get older, I am having difficulty reading small print.  Do you know of anything that would help me to keep reading?"  As we all age, the Newton Falls Public Library staff has become aware of vision difficulties faced by our patrons and ourselves. 

The first step for many readers is to borrow the larger print paperbacks and the large print books available at our library and through the shared Clevnet catalog.  There over 20,000 fiction and nonfiction items from which our patrons can make their selections. Unfortunately, large print materials were no longer big enough for our patron.  We then searched online for tools to more greatly magnify the text.  The terms "lighted page magnifier for visually impaired' brought up many unusual ones and the article "Guide to Buying Low Vision Magnifiers" by Marilyn Haddrill, with contributions and review by Mary Lou Jackson, MD. We gave these ideas to our patron for her consideration.

While at the Newton Falls Public Library patrons may use the TeleSensory machine.  It magnifies, and also has the capability to make a positive image negative.  This is useful for individuals who find it easier to read white letters on a black background.  It can also be used to closely examine small items such as stamps and coins.

Individuals who enjoy the technology of eBooks can download titles from Clevnet's eMedia collection to their computers, tablets, and eReaders. Once downloaded, the user can select the font and page brightness which are best for them.

If the needs of the reader have become greater, the Library of Congress' National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is available. "Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of Braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail."  The website,, has the application to apply for the service. Local contact information and instructions for this network can be picked up at the Newton Falls Public Library.

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