Berks County Public Libraries recently launched its new Accessibility and Supportive Learning Collection, containing games and activities curated for young learners with adaptive learning needs.

“Our goal in creating this collection is to offer adaptive learning tools closer to home,” said Amy Resh, system administrator for Berks County Public Libraries.

The idea evolved from a patron request earlier this year. The patron, whose child utilizes accessible materials provided by the Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, was unable to receive materials through the mail due to closures from the coronavirus.

Through a network of cooperating libraries, the National Library Service (NLS) at the Library of Congress circulates books and magazines in braille or audio format for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page.

As Pennsylvania’s two NLS local network libraries, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburg and Free Library of Philadelphia provide postage-free mail services to qualified Pennsylvania residents; however, pandemic-related closures made delivering materials to participants challenging.

“The Accessibility and Supportive Learning collection will not serve as a replacement to the wealth of resources provided by the Pittsburg and Philadelphia libraries,” Resh said. “But it’s our mission to make sure libraries remain accessible to everyone in our community, particularly during these uncertain times.”

Berks County Public Libraries cardholders can borrow any of the 50 plus items in the collection. Available kits include: Braille number and alphabet blocks, famous inventors problem solving puzzles, Magnetic phonics word building boards, Tactile Connect 4 and Rummikub the original games with braille, Video HD magnifier, and young architects design blocks. 

Items in the collection will follow the same safety procedures as all other countywide lending materials. Kits will be properly cleaned and sanitized between checkouts and will be quarantined for at least 72 hours when returned to any Berks County Public Libraries location.

Additional information about the Accessibility and Supportive Learning Collection is available online at www.berkslibraries.org/kids/supportive-learning. Patrons are encouraged to check online or contact their local library for current pick up guidelines.

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