(ACCOMAC, VIRGINIA) December 12, 2022 – Eastern Shore Public Libraries have installed new equipment made possible with CARES and ARPA funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered through the Library of Virginia. CARES and ARPA grants were part of the federal pandemic funding. Grant expenditures had to meet strict qualifications that help communities recover from the effects of the pandemic. The new equipment includes TalkBoxes, hearing loops, and a RFID self-checkout system.
TalkBoxes are like a sound-proof phone booth for private conversations. The Library of Virginia identified TalkBoxes as a tool for library patrons when they need to talk and listen within the library, particularly with confidential conversations. The one-person use stations are helpful for telemedicine calls, legal conversations, and international calls that may require wifi access. An iPad is available for use as needed, but TalkBox users need to bring their own telephone. TalkBoxes are, or are being installed, at Accomac, Chincoteague, and Cape Charles libraries. Patrons should call the library to reserve the TalkBox, just as one would a meeting room.
Hearing loops, also called an audio induction loop, assists people with hearing aids by canceling background noise. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by a compatible hearing aid when it is set to the ‘T’ (Telecoil) setting. While libraries are supposed to be quiet, there can be background voices and equipment sounds that interfere with listening through a hearing aid. The devices will be installed at the public service circulation desks at all four Eastern Shore Public Libraries.
RFID equipment has been installed at the Accomac library and now allows for self-checkout. This service provides for a speedy checkout if library staff are busy with other patrons. It also allows for more social distancing to prevent the spread of air-borne diseases. The new checkout kiosk is easy to use and library staff are available to show patrons how to use it. RFID, which stands for radio-frequency identification, also helps library staff maintain better inventory management of library materials. A “wand” can be used to scan library shelves to locate out-of-place books and identify if books are missing from the collection. This will save staff much time and help ensure materials that patrons want are available.
Eastern Shore Public Libraries (ESPL) are located in Accomac, Cape Charles, Chincoteague, and Nassawadox. Holiday hours are posted on each library’s website and espl.org or you can call your preferred library. The main ESPL number is (757) 787-3400. You can apply for a library card online at espl.org or stop by any library to register in-person. Your ESPL library card is welcome at any of the four libraries.