Friday, April 26, 2013

A Workplace Accommodation


My boss found out about this telephone amplifier and purchased one for me. It's an HA40 by Clarity. The device plugs directly into the back of my phone, with the phone cord plugged into it.

I was skeptical at first thinking that it would not make a difference. I already had volume control on the phone and usually kept that it in the upper range for the few calls I made or received. But what the Clarity does is increase the high frequency sounds more than the lower frequency ones. Because I have a high frequency hearing loss, this helps the callers sound clearer and easier to understand. The Clarity has two adjustable controls - one for volume and one for tone so I can adjust it for each caller's voice. In spite of my low expectations, I must say it works. I was reminded recently of what a difference it makes when the 9-volt battery inside died. Going back to the standard phone until I bought a replacement battery was a pain. I had gotten used to the better sound quality.

If you are reluctant to use the phone at work like I was and you have a mild to moderate hearing loss, then I would recommend the Clarity HA 40. At less than $50, it's a fairly low-cost accommodation and available at Office Max and other online retailers.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Littlest Librarian


Today is Take Your Daughter/Son to Work Day. My coworker Erin brought her daughter Nina to the office. I couldn't resist snapping this photo of her "hard at work" in her mom's chair. I asked her if she would be a librarian if she grew up and she smiled tentatively, "Maybe."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Good News at Work

I have some good news to share. At work, I found out that I've been selected to participate in a Train the Trainer program this summer. Only 18 librarians throughout Illinois were chosen for this opportunity, so I'm thrilled my application was picked. In July, I will be spending 3.5 days at another library to learn about digital preservation. Then, sometime within the next year, I will host a workshop at my library to train others and perhaps even travel to other libraries or teach online.

This training is perfect for me because in my job I have been active in digitizing materials from the archives. I recently completed scanning the entire run of the university's employee newsletters. Prior to that I wrote a successful digitization proposal to have a university magazine published 1977-1992 added to the Internet Archive. Currently, I am working on scanning the student newspaper collection. Many of these newspapers are worn, yellowed, and in fragile condition. I wear white cotton gloves when handling them and treat everything as gently as possible. Once the materials are scanned, I upload them to our digital collections and institutional repository so they can be viewed freely online. I would like to know more about best practices for digitizing library collections.

Having the chance to share what I learn with others makes this training even more appealing to me. As regular readers know, I started a masters degree in Communication Studies this past year. One of my main goals in taking up this study was to seek out opportunities to hone my presentation and public speaking skills. I never knew an opportunity would come along this soon, but now it has, and I'm going to make the most of it.

If you'd like to learn more about this digital preservation training program, you can read about it on the Library of Congress website.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Library Staff Appreciation

Last week was National Library Week and Tuesday was National Library Workers Day. To show her appreciation of the library staff, the Dean of my library distributed a gift (pictured below) to everyone.

The cord on the item allows it to be worn around the neck. The pouch is just the right size to hold a cell phone. The other side features a clear plastic window for our staff ID cards. For privacy, I've colored in the logo that appears underneath the words Library Staff.

In light of recent events on college campuses and other public areas, safety is a concern. In case of an emergency, wearing this item will allow first responders like the police to easily identify us as staff members and not a threat. I hope we will never need it, but I appreciate my boss' thoughtfulness in giving it to us. My aunt says she likes to think of me as "safe in the library". That's what I want too.

Another bonus is it will help library patrons know who to ask when they have a question.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Speech Sounds Like to the Hard of Hearing Person

I think it can be very tough for people with normal hearing to understand how it's possible to communicate as a hard of hearing person. Just last week I was asked skeptically how I could "hear anything" at a crowded public event where it appeared that I was conversing easily. Ha! What people don't get is that making sense of unclear speech is what I have to do all the time - unless I happen to be in close proximity to someone in a very quiet space.

When I read online about a new hearing loss demo, I thought perhaps it could help me explain how I manage. I played the Loss of High Frequencies clip for one of the people who had asked me how I could hear anything. She could not make out what was being said at all. She was surprised when I said I could get most of it. I told her that kind of speech is what I'm used to hearing. Then I played for her the No Hearing Loss clip. What a difference! Crystal clear clarity. It was quite easy to tell what was said. My friend was amazed. I hope that now she understands a little better that I may get by, but it's not easy.