Upgrades at N.S. library include accessible-friendly push buttons, S.T.E.M. kits and more


NORTH SMITHFIELD – North Smithfield Public Library has implemented several upgrades in the past year that will benefit residents, including those with mobility issues, difficulty reading, or an interest in science.

Entering the building is easier now with the installation of push buttons on the exterior and interior doors, a major benefit to those with mobility issues, or merely struggling to enter the building with a child in tow or an armful of books. The automatic door openers were installed last June.

“It was a fairly expensive upgrade but we felt it was well worth the cost to make the library more accessible to people with decreased mobility,” said library Director Sue Dubois.

In another initiative, the North Smithfield School Department has provided the Library with several S.T.E.M. kits – backpacks focusing on a single science theme such as astronomy or coding. Each kit includes books, activities and non-print devices such as binoculars in the birdwatching unit and a telescope in the one devoted to astronomy.

The kits are now available to town residents for a one week loan period, and guests are invited to call or visit the library to see what titles are available.

Reading does not come easily for everyone, and the library now offers a few different electronic items that may help.

The first is a C-pen – a gadget that looks like a pen, but makes the words come alive as the user passes the device along the lines of text. The item, donated in late 2019, is now available for loans of up to one week. 

“The library is grateful to the Woonsocket Rotary Club for providing funds to purchase this device,” said Reference Librarian Linda Rivet.

During 2021, the library also started a collection of WonderBooks, a combination book and audiobook that allow children to listen and follow along with the text. The collection, which is being added to monthly, includes easy and juvenile-level titles, and are borrowed for up to three weeks.

A third group of devices available at the Main Street facility, Launchpad tablets, are designed for kids in Pre-K to grade 2, and are loaded with fun and educational videos, games and more. As of now, the library has two tablets available for each level, Pre-K – kindergarten and K –grade 2.

Adults who have a few free hours or just a few minutes are now also invited to work on a community jigsaw puzzle. Library staff sets out a new one every week, or sooner, if the puzzle is completed quickly.

“It’s also a fun activity for older children to do with a parent or caregiver,” said Rivet.

Rivet and Dubois say the new items are just the start of what the library has to offer. For more information, call (401) 767-2780 or visit the building at 20 Main St., Slatersville during business hours on Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or online at http://www.nspl.info . 

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