Institute on Disabilities at Temple University


Access Beyond the Stacks

PHOTO: Jule Ann Lieberman trains librarians
Jule Ann Lieberman trains librarians at the Chester County library.


"Access Beyond the Stacks" helps libraries become more accessible to people with visual impairment. A project of PIAT at the Institute on Disabilities and provided through the generosity of the Albert B. Millett Memorial Fund, a BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trust, Access Beyond the Stacks will serve five libraries in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Even in the digital age, libraries continue to be a valuable resource for information, entertainment and community sharing. Unfortunately, many older adults, and others with vision loss, find it difficult to read standard print, locate material in a library and master the use of mobile technology such as tablets.

Access Beyond the Stacks has provided participating libraries with equipment to encourage and assist individuals with vision impairment to return to their local libraries and more effectively use and enjoy this valuable community resource.

Participating Libraries

The five participating libraries in the Access Beyond the Stacks are:

Easttown Library & Information Center
720 First Ave
Berwyn, PA 19312

Warminster Township Library
1076 Emma Lane
Warminster, PA 18974

Chester County Library & District Center
450 Exton Square Parkway
Exton, PA 19341

Free Library of Northampton Township
25 Upper Holland Rd.
Richboro, PA 18954

Ridley Township Library
100 E. MacDade Blvd.
Folsom, PA 19033
610-583-0593 ext 206

Horsham Township Library
435 Babylon Road
Horsham, PA 19044-1224

Equipment Available

Several devices have been selected and provided to the participating libraries. Library patrons should request the devices at any one of the participating libraries; staff members have received training on the devices and will be able to offer instruction.

The available devices are:

  • Ruby Hand Held Electronic Magnifier - This light-weight, powerful magnifier can increase text and images up to 12 times its original size. It can change the appearance from full color to high contrast settings such as, bright white with black text, or black with white text as well as other display options. A handy feature is the folding handle where a user can hold the electronic magnifier above objects and text and it will automatically adjust size depending upon distance from object. When the handle is folded under the magnifier it can rest on reading material and magnification is changed with a simple touch of a color-coded button. The freeze image feature will temporarily hold the image so the user can bring the device closer for a better view, helpful when trying to read the spine of a book on a shelf or a CD label.
  • iPad Air - This device can serve persons with vision loss in many ways; books downloaded in electronic format can be viewed using the built in magnification features of the device; apps are available that can take a photo of printed text, convert it into an alternative display and then read content aloud back to you; the standard magnifier apps can act as another electronic magnifier where text or objects can be viewed using the camera of the iPad.
  • Noise canceling headphones - Allows the user to listen to scanned texts or access already scanned books and magazines or read downloaded audio books in the library collection, without interruption from outside sound or without disturbing other patrons.
  • iPad stands - Both of the two options for this device, especially designed for the iPad, provide the user with optimum positioning for scanning and viewing.

Recommended apps for use by Access Beyond the Stacks participating libraries include:

  • EyeHope - video magnifier app;
  • Magnifier with Light by Falcon in Motion - video magnifier app;
  • Read2Go - repository library of scanned books and magazines provided for persons with disabilities;
  • ZoomReader - scan and read app which will take a photo of printed text material, convert the display and read aloud text;
  • Prizmo - alternative scan and read app providing text to speech reading;
  • Overdrive - access to electronic books download or audio books in the library collection.


Voice: 800-204-PIAT (7428), in state
TTY: 866-268-0579, in state
Voice: 215-204-1356
TTY: 215-204-1805

Funded by The Albert B. Millett Memorial Fund, a BNY Mellon Mid-Atlantic Charitable Trust

Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service