Southern Oklahoma Library System recently added another helpful gadget to its shelves.
The C-Pen Reader is a small device meant to help readers who are learning a new language or who struggle to read. A camera inside the nib of the pen reads the print out loud as it passes over each word on the page. The pens can read English, Spanish or French. Library patrons can use headphones to listen to the pens as well. SOLS Public Information Coordinator Gail Currier said the library only has one pen right now.
“We’re testing it,” Currier said. “If clients like it, we’ll get more.”
According to the C-Pen Reader website, the pens are also useful to readers who are dyslexic.
Currier said she’s taught language classes in the past, and tools like this would have been useful to students.
“It’s a good resource for people who are learning to read in another language,” Currier said. “You can follow along in the book and it will read it out loud.”
Currier said SOLS will advertise the pens in each library location to gauge visitors’ interest.
“They can request it and we’ll send it to other branches,” Currier said.
Last month, SOLS branches began carrying hotspots for checkout. Currier said the library purchased them to address a lack of internet access in rural areas.
“They’re really popular, we have waiting lists for the hotspots,” Currier said. “So, we see a need and we try to fulfill it, and oftentimes it’s really successful.”
The hotspots are far from the only tech the library has added. In recent years, scratch coding lessons for kids, 3D printing and programmable robots have all joined the books on the shelves.
“That’s part of the innovation of libraries right now,” Currier said. “You go to conferences, see new technology, learn new applications and say ‘Hey, that’s something we could use in our community.’”