Benefits to Libraries and Public Access Points
Libraries and other public access points (PAPs) are part of the dramatic expansion of information technology in daily life. For the many people who do not have their own computers or Internet access, these institutions provide a portal into that world. As more information moves online, card catalogs and other printed resources have made way for browsers and search engines. For patrons with disabilities, especially those who are hesitant to adopt new technologies, these resources can pose complex and intimidating barriers.
What is true of individual consumers is even more true of public institutions: assistive technologies can be hard to find out about, expensive, difficult to use, and may not meet the needs of many potential users. People who need AT are rarely high-volume visitors, as they've come to expect little in the way of accessibility in the public domain. Given this, how can libraries and PAPs manage to invest in equipment and staff training efficiently and yet meet the needs of any unexpected visitor with a disability?
GPII will offer public institutions a different model of accessibility, intended to serve a wide range of disabilities, with low investments in time and money.
In most cases, patrons with disabilities will already have used the GPII Wizard to build their own GPII profile of the accessibility features they need, so the institution only needs to let it be implemented, and only for the duration of their session. Your patrons' schools, employers, or state agencies may have already paid for all the usage they need, no matter where it's used, or on what device. The GPII lets them bring this accessibility with them so they can use it anywhere. This takes the pressure off staff and budget.
Libraries and PAPs that want to dive in more deeply can offer the Wizard at their location, on a standard computer, so patrons can explore their options and develop their profile. GPII will come with its own training and support network that will help staff develop accessibility skills and solve local problems.
Mainstream computers and operating systems with well-known features and components can be expected to be compatible with GPII. This will eliminate the need to designate "special" computers for use by people with disabilities -- they will be able to use any public computers.
The need for network security can also be a barrier: IT department may have restricted the ability to load and run software, to prevent viruses and other malware. Part of GPII will be working with the network security software industry to find a secure and easy-to-use method to permit GPII-based services to run.
As GPII-based solutions are marketed more widely, the cost per user can drop dramatically. The GPII also provides parts and services for building access solutions, and easier ways to keep solutions updated and working across platforms reducing costs these ways as well.
As libraries and PAPs upgrade or migrate from one technology to the next, GPII will keep pace and ensure accessibility without additional effort or expense.
GPII-based solutions will also be available to employees of libraries and PAPs with disabilities themselves. See the page on using GPII for employment for details.