Six of these C-Pen readers, which can scan and read text out loud — have been added to the Troy Public Library’s universal access collection, which is part of the Youth Services Department.

Six of these C-Pen readers, which can scan and read text out loud — have been added to the Troy Public Library’s universal access collection, which is part of the Youth Services Department.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Reader pens give boost to Troy library’s universal access collection

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 28, 2018

 Emily Hudak, the Troy Public Library’s youth services librarian, stands in the universal access collection area.

Emily Hudak, the Troy Public Library’s youth services librarian, stands in the universal access collection area.

Photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — Those who need a little help reading can get it in the form of C-Pen readers at the Troy Public Library.

Six C-Pen readers, which are hand-held devices about the size of a highlighter that can scan and read text out loud — have been added to the universal access collection, which is part of the Youth Services Department.

Library Director Cathy Russ explained that the pens are helpful to English language learners and people with dyslexia.

The Troy Community Foundation donated two of the devices, which cost $250 apiece; the Troy Rotary Club donated two; and the library purchased two.

Troy library patrons and reciprocal borrowers may use the C-Pens in the library or check them out for up to three weeks at a time.

“At $250 apiece, it’s not something people want to buy without trying,” said Youth Services Librarian Emily Hudak. “That’s the purpose of the collection, to try before you buy.”

“Since basic education and literacy is one of the six main areas of focus for Rotary, it was a perfect fit for me to request a donation to the Troy Public Library for the C-Pen readers to assist members of our community who may struggle to read,” Susan McGonegal, of the Troy Rotary Club, said in an email. “When a child struggles to read, it can be devastating to their self-esteem, so the efforts of the Troy Public Library to raise awareness is one of many great things (the) Troy Public Library does for our community. Troy Rotary was happy to support their efforts and will continue to partner with (the) Troy Public Library on literacy initiatives.”

McGonegal said that Rotary members are encouraged to follow their passions through community service projects.

“We have dyslexia in our family, and I’m very passionate about helping our dyslexic community. Statistics indicate 1 in 5 are dyslexic.”

She added that the Troy Public Library supported dyslexia awareness in October by creating an exhibit that included information on the signs of dyslexia, such as poor spelling, difficulty rhyming and being obviously behind in reading.

Valiena Allison, of the Troy Community Foundation, said in an email that the foundation, which was formed in 2016, is focused on supporting citizen-driven initiatives “that promote the very best in our community. We actively raise money to donate back to Troy and Troy residents who better the lives of others in our community.

“All grant applications are reviewed by the Troy Community Foundation Grants Committee, which I chair. We voted to approve the purchase of two C-Pens for the Troy library because their grant application was well-written, with great detail providing how these special hand-held devices assist those with dyslexia to better read and comprehend written materials.

“The Troy Community Foundation is honored to participate in programs such as this one, and we actively seek grant applications for additional ways we can give back to Troy residents and our community.”

The Troy Public Library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road. Visit troypl.org for more information or call (248) 524-3538.