Library services to connect everyone

The mission of the Minot Public Library (MPL) is to be “the center of information and exploration for the community” and one way the Library fulfills this mission is by bringing library services directly to people in Minot. Library staff understand that not everyone in Minot is able to make it to the Library to check out books (and other items). Fortunately, the Special Services program at the Minot Public Library assists by delivering materials to eligible individuals.

MPL delivers books, audiobooks, music CDs and now DVDs monthly to people who are homebound, have a visual or physical disability or who are living in an assisted living or extended care facility. Janet Anderson, the Library Director, says the Library “has a large variety of materials for Minot residents to choose from including books on CD, large print and regular print books (in both fiction and nonfiction), and even music CDs.” She said the Library recently included DVDs in this service to allow for a greater variety and also increased accessibility.

Anderson explained that “Every Thursday of the month volunteers or staff visit a particular section of town to deliver bags of materials to the patron’s residence. Each bag is tailored to the patron once they set up a Homebound Delivery account. Staff talk with the patrons and note their likes, dislikes, specific authors or genres they enjoy, whether they want large print, regular print or audio books.” Materials are checked out to the patron for one month instead of the standard three weeks. As with other Library services, homebound delivery is free of charge.

In addition to the Homebound Delivery service, patrons of the Minot Public Library can also take advantage of the “Talking Book” program through the N.D. State Library. Like the Homebound Delivery services, this program is specifically for individuals with special needs.

Per the N.D. State Library’s website: “Talking Books offer an array of services for citizens of North Dakota who are unable to read standard print materials because of a visual, physical, or reading disability.” This program provides individuals who are physically or visually impaired with access to books and magazines. Eligible individuals receive a digital player from the ND School for the Blind and every few weeks the State Library mails out books or magazines on a digital cartridge. This service and the equipment are available free of charge for qualified individuals. For more information on this program you can contact the North Dakota State Library at 1-800-843-9948.

The Minot Public Library also has specialized equipment to help with accessibility challenges. For patrons who have poor vision, MPL has a MagniSight Explorer Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) which allows users to magnify books, newspapers, computer printouts, photographs, maps and more. Other assistive technology available include a large print keyboard with high contrast keys, a large mouse which is easier for those unfamiliar with a mouse, and a mouse that is operated with a foot pedal. This Assistive Technology is located on the second floor of the Library, across from the circulation desk.

“Assistive Technology is any piece of hardware or software that is designed for use by people with impairments or disabilities,” Pikka explained. “Having the keys on a keyboard a little bigger can make a big difference for someone with impaired vision.” One of the most unique pieces available is the foot pedal mouse. “That piece of equipment takes some getting used to,” Pikka admitted “but, if you don’t have use of your arms it can make all the difference in the world.” MPL also offers adaptive gaming which allows gamers with disabilities to schedule appointment-only video game sessions.

Finally, the Minot Public Library also assists people in the community by providing technology education. MPL Technology Coordinator Joshua Pikka offers Technology Education the first Thursday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Parker Senior Center and the second Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Edgewood Healthcare. “This free, drop-in support is for anyone who has questions about electronic devices and who needs any sort of help with basic technology needs,” Pikka explained. “I just like to sit down and ask people if they are having problems with a phone, computer, or tablet and that usually starts a discussion about how they can better communicate with loved ones which is very important to everyone.” Library cards are not required for these Tech. Ed. sessions, but MPL patrons can sign up for a one-on-one session with staff at the Library through the Tech. Tutor program if they want a little more assistance.

To sign up for the homebound delivery program contact Lacey at 852-1045. For more information about assistive technology or other programs, please call or visit www.minotlibrary.org.


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