LEGO Homeschoolers Prepare for Tournament
By Mindstorms Mayhem
The Cabinet - December 9, 2004
Did you know that your local library has a lot of technology and
equipment to help you even if you have a disability? Many local
libraries have a large collections of interesting large print books
and magazines, as well as books on tape and CD.
The Wadleigh Memorial Library in Milford has computer programs like
JAWS® for Windows which provides speech technology that works with
the Windows operating system to access popular software applications,
the Internet and e-mail.
The FIRST LEGO League state tournament is
this Saturday, Dec. 11 at Nashua North High School, 8:30a.m.-5:30p.m.
About 48 qualifying teams from across the state will be competing,
including Mindstorms Mayhem.
Another program, MAGic, helps those with low vision view
information on their computer screen with magnification up to 16x,
while hearing it through their speech synthesizer. There will be
instructions available for both of these programs. A book magnifier
is available for visually impaired patrons. It magnifies the text on
any printed material.
The Wadleigh Memorial Library also has Walkmans for in-house
use. These are accessible to the public, including the blind or
visually impared. If used, the patrons can listen to audio books in
the library. These Walkmans are available by inquiry at the front
Another resource, the Talking Book Library, is a federally-funded program that lends a
wide variety of books and magazines, recorded by professional actors. Most of these are
produced by the Library of Congress. A full catalog is available on-line. Librarians can
assist eligible patrons (those who are physically unable to see, handle or process printed
material comfortably) to fill out an application.
Other libraries, such as the Nashua Public Library, have other assistive technology, like
the Aladdin Ambassador Book Reader. It assists the blind or visually impaired patrons by
reading aloud to them. It uses character recognition when it scans a book and can keep the
text in its memory for a long time. Because of this special technology, the Ambassador could
read a book to you that was scanned days ago. The Nashua Public Library also possesses JAWS
The majority of local libraries have ramps, elevators, automatic doors, accessible water
fountains, bathrooms and walkways. Some libraries have specialized keyboards that can be
borrowed to assist people with shaky hands or paralysis. Stools and helpful librarians are
available to assist in reaching a book.
Everyone should be able to use their local library because the library is an important
source of information and enjoyment. Libraries have books, public Internet access, tapes and
CDs, DVDs and videos, magazines, computers, museum passes, and other resources available for
This information was compiled by Mindstorms Mayhem, a FIRST LEGO League Robotics team
of homeschoolers from Milford, Wilton, Merrimack, Hollis, Lyndeborough, and Bedford. The
students are ages 10-14 and include Katie and Nicholas Hammes, Milford; Melissa Gray,
Milford; Victoria and Dan Umenhofer, Wilton; Amelia Jennings, Merrimack; Jean-Marc LeDoux;
Hollis; David Schunemann, Hollis; Ryan Simard, Lyndeborough; Nathan Streeter,
Bedford. Coaches are Bill Gray, Milford and Ken Streeter, Bedford. Mentors are Christopher
Jennings, Merrimack; Nathan Gray, Milford; Ben Streeter, Bedford.
In researching for this years challenge, "No Limits," the team learned a lot about
thier local libraries and people with disabilities. They would like to encourage people with
disabilities to "check out" their library and see what's new. For more information: www.wadleigh.lib.nh.us or www.mindstormsmayhem.org.