Make a Noise in Libraries (MANIL) Fortnight
From 1 to 14 June this annual campaign brings public libraries and blind and partially sighted people together in an effort to improve access to books and information. For more information visit the RNIB website.
My name is Debbi McKenzie. I have been living with visual impairment for 7 years and I am registered blind. For the past 5 years I have been teaching computer skills to those who are visually impaired. I am based in the Carnegie Library in Ayr and Maybole Library.
I focus on teaching the Microsoft office packages such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel (spreadsheets) and Access (databases). I also teach the basics of using the computer and how to use the Internet. I teach with a programme called JAWS. JAWS is a computer screen reader that gives voice output which allows visually impaired users to read the computer screen with a text-to-speech output. As JAWS is powered by the key board, all the shortcuts that are required are taught right from the start. I teach at the speed of the person and at what level the person wants to start at.
I have completed the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) and can guide clients through the process of studying the 7 modules and support clients to gain this qualification. I teach in a relaxed and friendly environment with no pressure.
Since I started doing this I have seen people gain independence and grow in confidence. Clients are now able to email their family and friends, write their own letters and shop online, which takes the stress out of going into the shops. All these things and more gives clients self-esteem and a feeling of achievement.
To register your interest in being added to the waiting list please phone me on 07764212897. Try it out; this service is free to library members. If you are not currently a member of the library please note that it is free to join. You only need to show one proof of address.