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Have Trouble Seeing? Hackensack Library Opens Assistive Tech Center

Technology Trainer Kevin Rutan with Paula Webber, technology center user, and her guide dog, Abby.
Technology Trainer Kevin Rutan with Paula Webber, technology center user, and her guide dog, Abby. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Johnson Public Library

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Baby Boomers struggling with vision changes can head over to Bergen County's only Assistive Technology Center at the Johnson Library in Hackensack.

The center opened Oct. 14 and offers free classes and use of iPads and desktop computers enabled with magnification and speech software.

Adults ages 55 and older who have difficulty with their vision can sign up for training and ongoing access to the technology center at no cost.

It took a partnership of devoted agencies to make the center a possibility. The library worked with,

  • New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center
  • Advancing Opportunities

“Providing assistive technology in a library...is the one way we can make sure that all constituents have a chance to derive the importance of what comes from going to the library, which is immersing themselves in any aspect of culture, politics, economics and the like,” said Dan Frye, Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The free classes will offer beginner and advanced training on computers and iPads, enabling students to learn how to use magnification, and speech software including JAWS, Magic, Talking Typer and ZoomText. The iPads have built-in features to assist those with challenges in vision.

“Technology has become such an important part of our daily lives that for someone who doesn’t know how to use it, it can really set them behind and limit what they can do and how they can communicate,” said Kevin Rutan, Advancing Opportunities, Assistive Technology Trainer.

Knowing how to use technology is extremely important in a person’s ability to obtain and retain work and in maintaining a social life, Rutan added.

To register for classes call 888-322-1918 ext. 595. For any additional information, call Cathy Folk-Pushee, Adult Services Librarian, 201-343-4169, ext 22.

The Johnson Public Library is located at 274 Main St., Hackensack.

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