Ipswich Library and Information Service Special Needs Support Officer Luke Trigg demonstrates the features of a Plextalk audio device to library patron Robyn Williams.
IPSWICH residents with a vision impairment can now experience improved access to printed material in a digital format through the Ipswich Library and Information Service.
Ipswich City Council’s libraries have been included in the Federal Government’s Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative. Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson Councillor David Pahlke said the library had been awarded 10 Plextalk playback devices through the initiative delivered by the Australian Library and Information Association. “The Ipswich Library and Information Service is one of 61 public library services selected to receive the devices based on their ability to provide improved access for people with a print disability,” Cr Pahlke said.
Print disabilities include blindness or vision impairment, physical disabilities which limit capacity to hold or manipulate print material and perceptual disabilities which limit ability to follow a line of print. “Recently the Federal Government, through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), provided $1 million for the purchase of playback devices for public libraries around Australia. “We were lucky enough to share in funding.”
Cr Pahlke said a demonstration of the Plextalk device could be arranged at any Ipswich City Council library, including the mobile library. He said library staff were also available to assist people with a print disability in finding out how they may be able to have access to a Plextalk for use in their own home free of charge. “These patrons are identified under the FaHCSIA guidelines as individuals who are unable to read standard print with ease due to vision impairment, a physical disability or a learning disability,” he said.
Cr Pahlke said this initiative aimed to improve access for people with print disability to print materials in a digital format through public libraries across Australia. “The availability of the Plextalk devices will increase the accessibility of existing library resources for these community members,” he said. “The Ipswich Library and Information Service has a strong and growing collection of digital content that can be used with these devices.”
Cr Pahlke said the service already had a significant number of resources for people with a disability including large print books, talking books and restricted taped books collection for the use of people with a print disability. “We have recently purchased a ScannaR reading scanner which allows people who are blind or have low vision to independently read anything from letters to newspapers and books.
“The reader, located on the first floor of the Ipswich Library, scans the printed text and reads it aloud in natural sounding text.” Also located on this level is a CCTV magnifier which allows users to view their paperwork in a magnified form on a computer screen. For more information, or to organise a Plextalk demonstration, please contact the Ipswich Library on 3810 6754.
Further information is also available at the Ipswich Library and Information website at

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