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Donation funds reading aids for teens, adults in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 5, 2020

 Adult Services Librarian Cassandra Suh holds up new large-print books in the Teen and Adult Universal Access Collection.

Adult Services Librarian Cassandra Suh holds up new large-print books in the Teen and Adult Universal Access Collection.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

 This C-Pen reader, when run over text, instantly displays definitions and reads the words aloud. It also can scan and capture lines of text for uploading to a computer and into nearly any application.

This C-Pen reader, when run over text, instantly displays definitions and reads the words aloud. It also can scan and capture lines of text for uploading to a computer and into nearly any application.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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TROY — Adults and teens with vision impairments or those who struggle with reading comprehension may now get extra help with new devices and books at the Troy Public Library.

Thanks to a $1,500 donation from the Troy Community Lions Club, the library established the new Universal Access Collection, filled with items for adults and teens, including 50 popular young adult large-print titles.

The collection includes two C-Pen readers — portable, pocket-sized devices that, when run over text, instantly display definitions and read the words aloud. They also scan and capture lines of text for uploading to a computer and into nearly any application. There is also a Carson ezRead Digital Magnifier, which transforms a television into an electronic reading aid.

According to the Lions’ website, “Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives, and strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects.”

“The Lions are always so supportive of the library and have been a wonderful friend to us,” said Troy Public Library Director Cathy Russ. “They approached us.”

“The donation was a nice surprise,” said Connie Doherty, the head of adult services. “We wanted to use it for something we didn’t already have.

“Studies show that the large-print books are helpful for teens struggling with reading comprehension,” Doherty said. “Those who are learning English as a second language also seem to respond well to large print.”

She added that large-print books have the same cover as standard-print books, without the words “large print” on the outside, so there’s no stigma for teens who read them — and adults enjoy many YA titles too.

Doherty explained that the Carson ezRead Digital Magnifier transforms a television into an electronic reading aid and easily connects to a television via a video cable that’s provided.

The reader places the device on top of their reading material, and the magnified image appears in full color on the television screen. This appeals to screen users and adults with low vision who will be able to see print materials that weren’t accessible before, Doherty said.

Donna Quinn, the president of the Troy Community Lions Club, said Lions Clubs International has 1.4 million members and 45,000 clubs worldwide.

“Our focus is to stay within the community,” she said.

The group focuses on five areas of service: vision, diabetes, childhood cancer, the environment and hunger.

“We try to do a project each month with other organizations in Troy,” Quinn said.

Other Lions Club service projects include helping to fund a new drinking fountain for the Boys and Girls Club of Troy; donating to Leader Dogs for the Blind; donating 17 blankets to the Beaumont Hospital, Troy, pediatric unit; volunteering and donating to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan; sponsoring Autumn, an owl at the Stage Nature Center; sponsoring a youth sports team; and participating in the JDRF Diabetes Walk.

“That’s the reason we all are in it — to support the community,” Quinn added.

The Troy Public Library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road.

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