Our Lending Library Today

The AT Library is a statewide library for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. People can borrow tools and technology in order to find solutions that work for them. Someone picks the items they want to borrow from our catalog. We ship the items directly to the person. Then we pick the items up at the end of the loan period. If necessary, we support the person during the time of the loan.

Background

Over 20 years ago, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided money to start the AT Lending Library.

In the last 10 years, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had to reduce the money for the Lending Library by almost 50%.  At the same time, technology was changing and evolving. Think of the improvements in technology and tools. We saw changes in smartphones, tablets and social networking. We use WiFi and connected devices. We wear computers on our wrists. We shop online.

Last year, the Lending Library discarded 80% of our items. The items were either over 10 years old, not supported or out of date. As a result, Pennsylvanians with disabilities are waiting up to 1 year to borrow current technology.

Today

The AT Lending Library has 685 items for loan. We are working hard to find a way to have more useful, relevant and current items to loan.

The Library’s Future

We are working to…
 update the loan items with current and high demand devices.
 support Pennsylvanians in the selection and use of items borrowed.
 let people know about this program that is a good use of our tax dollars.

We will continue to look for more money for this work. We work with our state legislators and officials. We will continue to use money from other sources. We are partnering with some businesses to get new items. The Institute on Disabilities and PA’s Initiative on Assistive Technology will continue to help the Library. By using some of the money from the federal government, the Institute will help the program stay strong.

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Kim Singleton

Kim is the Director of TechOWL @ the Institute on Disabilities. In her previous life, Kim was a speech-language pathologist specializing in children and adults with complex communication needs, creatively enhancing lives with emerging technology. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she received her Master's Degree in Speech Pathology from Miami University. She loves to sing and play.

4 comments on “Our Lending Library Today

    1. Hi Pennie –

      We are in the process of changing the way we do reuse. We will let you know when it is ready.

      Thanks, Kim

  1. I am trying to start my own T-shirt business. I create my own designs on a 15 year old laptop. It doesn’t work very good. I don’t have the money to buy a new one because I’m unemployed & trying to get S.S disability benefits. For 10 months I have tried to get a job filling out application after application with no luck.I have Bursitis in my left knee and have to use a cane. I have no income. But I keep trying. I need a good laptop & I hoped your agency has one I can borrow.I don’t know much about your agency. Just discovered you by chance, so I don’t know how everything works. I have a few good ideas to generate income but no funds to get them off the ground. In any case since I don’t know much about your agency. I had to start here. Please tell me more about yourself and how you can help save me from becoming homeless. I know my ideas will fly if I had help. If someone will give me a chance. One of my ideas is a mosquito trap. completely organic, no chemicals no pesticides. No danger to humans or animals. A simple design that you can take any where. I also published a book on amazon.com. But I need to market the book. I have only sold a few. It’s called The Automotive Inspection Handbook for Consumers. It’s a self help book about State Vehicle Inspections and how to prevent being ripped off.Again the lack of a good laptop to design a website and funds to market the book. In any case help with more information to target the right program to assist me. Thank you I will wait for a reply.

    1. Hi Miguel, I’m sorry that we can’t help you with your request. We can only help you get items for your disability. Perhaps try to reach out on social media or Craigslist or Freecycle. Thanks and have a great day.

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