Adaptive Technology as of 6/30/02, March 2003 (v.6, n.3)


Adaptive technology is "computer software and hardware that have been modified to be accessible by people with disabilities, or equipment that has been created to be compensatory tools for people with disabilities(1)." Examples include Kurzweil 1000 software, TTY and optical magnifiers that assist individuals with using the library's resources and communicating with library staff.

For the first time, the FY2003 Annual Report Information Survey (ARIS) requested data about adaptive technology in Massachusetts public libraries. Responses indicated that 148 public libraries provided some adaptive technology in the library for their customers as of June 30th, 2002. That is 41% of the libraries completing the survey.

These libraries serve 72% of the state's population and include the three largest cities in the Commonwealth. If you omit the populations of Boston, Springfield and Worcester, those remaining libraries serve 58% of the state's residents.

The second table on the reverse shows how many libraries statewide provided the following specific adaptive technologies to patrons in their libraries:

TTY - teletype device for the deaf
adaptive computer work station - e.g. adjustable height
software for adaptive computer work station - e.g. JAWS, Kurzweil 1000
audio loop for meeting room - wire around the room connected to amplifiers and may have remote sound transmission for use by people with hearing aids.
assistive listening devices, excluding audio loop - portable amplifier usually a transmitter microphone and a receiver speaker, includes amplifiers designed to be used with a telephone.
video magnifiers - projects text onto screen with higher magnification & wider field of view than hand-held magnifier.


In addition to providing adaptive technology in the library, thirty two libraries indicated that they loaned some type of adaptive technology to patrons.

Following is the distribution by region and library population group of respondents reporting that they provide some adaptive technology (AT) in the library for their patrons:

Region (# of survey respondents) Grp 1
1-
1,999 (63)
Grp 2
2,000-
4,999 (55)
Grp 3
5,000-
9,999 (72)
Grp 4
10,000-
14,999 (54)
Grp 5
15,000-
24,999 (52)
Grp 6
25,000-
49,999 (45)
Grp 7
50,000-
99,999 (18)
Grp 8
100,000+ (5)
Reporting
Some AT
Boston (3) - - - - - 1 - 1 2 (67%)
Central (72) - 2 6 6 3 4 - 1 22 (31%)
Metrowest (38) - - 2 6 7 8 6 1 30 (79%)
Northeast (53) - 1 4 2 7 11 3 1 29 (55%)
Southeastern (101) 1 7 4 9 14 6 6 - 47 (47%)
Western (97) - 1 5 2 4 5 - 1 18 (19%)
Reporting Some AT 1 (2%) 11 (20%) 21 (29%) 25 (46%) 35 (67%) 35 (78%) 15 (83%) 5 (100%) 148 of 364 (41%)

The following distribution of responses indicates the variability of access to specific adaptive technologies.

Libraries Providing Specific Adaptive Technology

Adaptive Technology # % of 148 providing some AT % of 364 survey respondents
TTY 64 43 18
Adaptive computer work stations 45 30 12
Software for adaptive computer work stations 28 19 8
Audio loop for meeting room 12 8 3
Other assistive listening devices 42 28 12
Video magnifers 86 59 24
Other 47 32 13

1 - Carmela Cunningham and Norman Coombs, Information Access and Adaptive Technology (Oryx Press, 1997) p.3.

Source: FY2003 Additional Information Survey on the ARIS form. 370 libraries srveyed. 340 responded.

Prepared by Mary Litterst, Planning and Research Specialist

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