The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) Somerville branch has a new resource available for customers to use – for free – with or without an SCLSNJ library card. This device is an adaptive keyboard called a Maltron Keyboard.
An adaptive keyboard fits the shape of hands and the different lengths of fingers to reduce movement and tension, has tilted keys and pads to further reduce muscle tension, has straight vertical key columns to eliminate tens of thousands of finger and wrist twists in a day’s work, and much more.
“We – as a branch, as a System – wanted to look at helping anyone that walks into the branch,” said Rebecca Crawford, branch manager. “This keyboard is designed for anybody with mobility issues in their hands. This gives us the option to say, ‘you know, we have this special adaptive keyboard that we can plug in, that you can use anytime you’re here at the library.’ We want to have something that you’re comfortable with and something that you can use to make your digital traveling easier.”
Continued Crawford, “We want to make the branch welcoming to everybody who walks in the door. And, we want to make sure that every person can use our equipment no matter what their physical abilities are.”
The keyboard was purchased with funds that the branch was awarded in 2022. The PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, provides support to libraries of all sizes to conduct digital literacy training in their communities and help close the digital divide.
“We want to try to do everything we can to help someone in the best way that we can,” said Rachel Bohach, adult services library assistant. “Once we received the magnifier donation, then we started thinking of all the things that could be possible and what we were missing.”
The Maltron Keyboard is available to all customers of the Somerville branch during open branch hours. The keyboard is easy-to-use, and both Crawford and Bohach urge customers to not hesitate to ask for the device.
“Please don’t come in and say, ‘we don’t want to bother you’,” said Crawford. “It is no bother. This is easy for us to set up. We want to set it up for you!”
There is also still an opportunity to take advantage of the branch’s digital literacy programs which will be hosted through mid-February in both English and Spanish.
English-language programs offered in person at the Somerville branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville:
Spanish-language programs offered in person at the Somerville branch, located at 35 West End Avenue in Somerville:
Participants will receive a binder of workshop materials, a certificate of completion, and free earbuds for reviewing and independently exploring other digitallearn.org tutorials. These workshops are available to all adults who want to improve their digital literacy. Registration is required.
About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T
We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities, and improving lives. As part of our company wide $2 billion commitment from 2021–2023 to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity and technology, digital literacy, and education solutions. We aim to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $600 million to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.