Mon, Jan

Library helps sight-impaired


Like most libraries, Cottonwood Public Library boasts a variety of resources unrecognized by the community in which it exists — a shame, its employees know, because more than a few individuals could benefit greatly by coming in for a visit.

Those with disabilities, particular those with a sight impairment or an inability to hold a book or reading device, might consider the library. Not only does the facility boast over 2,000 audiobooks and a small collection of Braille books, but its patrons have access to thousands more volumes available for free order through the Yavapai County Library network and the Overdrive e-book and audiobook collection.

In addition, CPL partners with the Arizona State Library to offer the Talking Book Library, a program that allows patrons with visual acuity problems or other disabilities that prevent the reading of printed material to receive an audiobook device, audiobooks and other audio materials [including audio newspapers and audio-described movies] specifically designed for the device and Braille reading materials.

“And it’s all free,” CPL Library Assistant II Kyle Smith said, adding that all materials arrive at an individual’s address.

Library Supervisor Mary Griffith said, given the level of impairment, library staff can help with the application process.

By law, preference in lending books and equipment is given to veterans. The catalog of material is updated monthly, however, assuring a multitude of titles, periodicals and movies.

Qualifying impairments may be permanent or temporary.

“They actually have two libraries available,” Griffith said, describing the various ways in which CPL and the Arizona State Library work together to provide the disabled ample, typically cost-free ways to educate and entertain themselves.

The resources are not restricted to those with vision or “traditional reading” impairment, though. “We have a great special needs section,” Griffith said, adding that the library also boasts parent-teacher resources for alternative learning profiles, STEAM kits ideal for children with disabilities and a large-type book section that is so popular Griffith struggles to find books to throw out during her annual culling procedure.

CPL also offers home-bound services through a veteran volunteer. For two decades, the volunteer has delivered materials to homebound individuals in Cottonwood. Currently, she visits seven people, but Griffith said that she is looking to expand the program with the help of another volunteer.

Smith teaches a variety of classes that may appeal to the disabled community, including a tablet-focused class and an online resources class. In addition, the library employs an e-resources staff member to help with tech access questions.

“I’ve always been a champion of the online resources because no one knows the awesome things we have,” Smith said, listing the number of resources the library has access to via the internet. Just two in particular, Ancestry.com and Tutor.com, are expensive fee-paying sites that the library offers cardholders access to for fee.

“And it’s not just CPL,” Griffith added. “There are over 40 libraries in the Yavapai County network ... offering lots and lots of resources.”

Those interested in any of the above programs or materials are asked to stop by the library at 100 S. Sixth St., Cottonwood, call 634-7559 or visit ctwpl.info.

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