2014年10月21日 星期二

同理、專注,為視障服務發聲—Karen Keninger主任專訪



Karen Keninger女士是美國國會圖書館視障與身障服務部門的主任(NLSNational Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped),她在2000年起即在Iowa州負責政府部門針對視障者計畫與社區、圖書館服務,她結合各種商業與社區資源,並主導各種計劃來運用點字及有聲工具解決視障者閱讀上的需求。Karen自己就是視障工具的真正使用者,在Iowa州內非常積極的推動類比有聲書轉成數位有聲書,推行網路點字數、有聲書下載服務。

Karen的故事可以從她16個月大時說起,她的父母親發現她有視覺上的問題,後來診斷出視網膜上的病變,到20歲前逐漸轉為全盲。Karen人生的路並未此停擺,如同一般人一樣,她完成大學新聞學系學業、結婚生子,在家成為自由寫作作家,後來在1991年取得英語碩士學位,專攻商業與技術文件寫作。直到1995年成為Iowa州政府的盲人部的復健顧問,展開她社會服務的生涯,2000年起被任命為Iowa州政府視障和身障者的計畫主持人及主任,管理90位員工與主持6個區域性相關計畫。她在2012年被選國會圖書館的視障與身障服務部門主任,誠實至名歸,可以推動更多大規模的視障計畫。

綜觀她主要的貢獻有為推展數位化的digital talking book system、主導義工轉製有聲書計畫與引導全國性的視障電腦訓練計畫。在Karen的服務概念中,是全然關照各種類型的視障者需要,她注意到先天和後天的差異性,先天者在學習上有導引的需要,後天者有需要適應的需求。科技帶來新的閱讀希望,可以讓有聲書、點字書跳脫實體空間的距離,普及於各角落,簡單易學的機器設備和介面是讓視障者學習入門重要的訴求。為滿足視障者的需要,她從出版的起源到資源的轉製,應用和訓練都設計完備,雖然目前在科技上的困境造成數位落差,我們深信以Karen的熱忱和領導能力,美國的視障服務仍有很廣的揮灑空間。

Karen在工作和家庭間取得很好平衡,她撫育的6個孩子皆已成年,分別在電腦、會計、銀行和保險業有所成就,最小的孩子也在2012年拿到森林方面的碩士學位,她已經是7個小朋友的奶奶;她非常注重身心的平衡,工作之餘她喜歡旅行、閱讀、寫作、騎協力車、聆聽戲劇。誠如她在故事分享中所提到的,中年失明的女士可以做出刀架與使用刀具,一個好的訓練可以讓視障者過著一般的生活。她生命和工作的歷程,就像一個令人鼓舞的視障服務真人書,可以激勵國內的圖書館視障服務與視障朋友們共同努力與共好達成。

台灣圖書館百年館慶國際會議中,Karen將應邀演講關於點字書與有聲書在美國推行的狀況,讓我們一起期待她的分享。

Library Watch:從您的觀點,請告知對於視障與肢體障礙的朋友提供適切服務的重要關鍵點是什麼?
Karen

視障和肢體障礙的朋友可能來自於各行各業、各種社會階層,或著有不同的技能、能力與需要。符合需求變成很大的挑戰。以美國來說,60%-70的視障和肢障朋友是在人生的後半場才遇到這樣的改變,無論是50歲、60歲或70歲才面臨視覺上的改變,在原先明眼時的習慣認知,會一時間很難接受或調適,需要很大的努力去調整應用失明者的資源。對圖書館來說,要能夠提供易學和易用的系統對後天失明者是重要的;另一挑戰是先天失明者,如何將明眼人的科技運用到他們每日的生活中。因此服務關鍵是要能夠符合各種讀者的需要,運用適當的科技來供應及時的服務。

Library Watch:請您談談NLS的前五項首要任務是什麼?主要成就為何?
Karen
  任務
1.       維持良好品質的有聲書和有聲資料
2.       加強館藏的深度與廣度
3.       運用科技來改善館藏的遞送與閱讀服務
4.       支援點字書推廣計畫以解決視障者的讀寫問題
5.       增加館藏使用者
  成就
1.       發展易學易用的數位有聲書系統,可以提供給讀者用卡匣來播放有聲書
2.       結合iOS系統發展有聲書app,可以運用於蘋果系列產品,並支援藍芽裝置(Android 系統發展中)
3.       發展有聲書下載方式,讓館藏中的書和期刊可以透過轉製有聲書後下載聆聽
4.       和主要有聲書出版者合作,直接取得有聲書內容以增加館藏

Library Watch:您認為網路科技與數位科技是否有助於身心障礙者資源的取用?
Karen
科技對於視障者來說是雙刃論,一方面大量的資訊和新科技拓展視障者從未接觸到的新世界,一方面也讓視障者因為大量的新資訊技術,變得有距離,輔助的技術日新月異變化快速、昂貴的價格讓人卻步。
對於不會應用資訊科技的人存在另一個潛在危機,圖書館內看到全面應用數位科技可以節省傳統的流通方式經費,但卻沒有考量到有超過一半的視障讀者不會應用數位科技,或者缺乏數位裝置來取得有聲書。

Library Watch:點字書和有聲書下載計畫如何普及於美國的視障朋友?
Karen
約有15%的讀者採用有聲書下載計畫來閱讀,這些是高度的使用者非常喜歡這樣的下載系統,每人過去一年的平均下載量是100本的書或雜誌,很多新的雜誌和書一上架就被熱烈下載。系統中目前有4萬冊有聲書,12,750冊點字書,85種常用雜誌,數位化的數量每日新增中。

Library Watch:多年的對特殊讀者服務經驗中,有沒有可以分享給我們的小故事?
Karen
我常提到視障或者身障朋友是可以經過一些訓練,就可以得到生活上的適應或者更好的能力。我分享一個中年失明的女士故事給朋友們,她的女兒深怕母親受傷,不准失明的母親進廚房。但是經過一個星期失明者操作的訓練,這位女士可以用工具做出刀架,她還邀請女兒一塊去買她需要用得廚房刀組,透過適切的指導可以讓失明者有能力可以照顧自己的生活。這樣的啟示常在我們眼前上演,所以我們館藏中會去徵集後天失明者的著作,藉由正向的激勵來找回失去視覺後的獨立與自信,期待用著作來鼓舞同樣是視障的朋友們。

Library WatchIn your opinion, what is the most critical issues for libraries today to provide adequate services to the blind and physically handicapped?
Karen
Blind and physically disabled people come from all walks of life, all socio-economic levels, and have a full spectrum of skills, abilities, and needs. Meeting the individual needs of this diverse population is the biggest challenge we face. They have lived as sighted people for 50, 60, or 70 years, relying on their vision as their primary contact with the world around them, including their technologies. They often find it difficult to adapt to vision loss and do not quickly adapt to using today’s technology in a nonvisual manner. Their ability to independently select and acquire reading materials has been compromised by disability, requiring a much higher level of support than they did previously. Therefore we are challenged with meeting their needs for appropriate assistance and for an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use reading system. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum are highly competent blind users of technology—primarily people who have been blind early in life and have had the opportunity to adapt to nonvisual approaches to technology as well as other daily living skills. This portion of our population demands sophisticated, multifunctional devices such as the iPhone to meet their reading and communication needs and expects to select and acquire the material they want without assistance from others. Thus, we are challenged with providing the appropriate technologies for all of our patrons and for providing the appropriate levels of support for selecting and acquiring materials. 

Library WatchWhat are the TOP 5 priorities to the objects for NLS in the States? What are the achievements up to date?
Karen
The top five priorities for NLS are to:
1.       Maintain the highest level of quality possible for the audio and braille materials we provide
2.       Increase the breadth and depth of the NLS collection
3.       Leverage technology to improve the delivery and reading experience for all NLS patrons
4.       Revitalize the NLS braille program in order to support braille literacy
5.       Increase the number of blind and physically disabled Americans using the NLS program
Achievements to date include:
1.       Development of an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use digital talking book system which includes a player and a flash-based cartridge containing the talking book which is provided to all patrons
2.       Developing and deploying an iOS-based app which will play digital talking books and digital braille books using an iDevice and, for braille, a Bluetooth refreshable braille display. (An android version is under development.)
3.       Developing the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service which allows registered patrons to download NLS books and magazines in digital audio and braille formats directly to their computer for transfer to their player, or into their iDevice for immediate playback.
4.       Developing arrangements with major audio book publishers to use their audio content in the NLS program, thus increasing the number of titles we can produce each year. 

Library WatchDo you think that with advancement of the network and electronic technology, handicapped people would benefit or would suffer from it?
Karen
Advancements in the internet and both mainstream and assistive technologies have been a double-edged sword for blind Americans. For those with the resources and ability to learn and use complex mainstream technologies and in some ways even more complex assistive technology systems, the new technologies have opened worlds of information and potential for employment and education never before available to blind people. However, the constant cycle of innovation keeps the assistive technology lagging behind, causing periodic disruptions in functionality for blind users. To date, the best assistive technologies have been expensive add-ons to mainstream systems, pricing some people completely out of the market.

A new danger arises, however, for those do not have the resources to acquire and learn the technologies. People responsible for funding library programs for the blind, for example, see cost savings by shifting from traditional circulation systems to all-digital download services for all patrons. This does not account for the needs of over half of the population who cannot afford, or cannot readily learn to use, download systems and/or mainstream digital devices.

Library WatchHow the Braille and BARD affect the special patrons around the States?
Karen
Approximately 15% of NLS patrons have downloaded books and magazines from BARD. Patrons who use BARD are, for the most part, avid readers who downloaded, on average, over 100 books and magazines apiece in the past year. These readers are able to download a book or magazine as soon as it is posted, and many watch the new releases daily. When BARD is down, which rarely happens, patrons and libraries notice immediately? These patrons now have less, or perhaps no, reliance on their network libraries to acquire books and magazines. Constant customer feedback from BARD users indicates that they are very happy with the service. BARD currently holds 40,000 digital talking books, 12,750 braille books, and a year’s worth of issues of some 85 magazines. These numbers are increasing daily.

Library WatchDuring you long years of public services to the blind and physically handicapped, are there any special stories or experiences that you would like to share with us?
Karen
I am constantly reminded of the abilities of blind and disabled people, and that with proper training and opportunities, blind people can participate fully in society. I recall a woman I met who was losing her vision in middle age. Her grown daughters were very fearful that she would hurt herself, so did not allow her to working the kitchen or to use a knife. After one week of training in nonvisual techniques, this woman made a knife block, using power tools under the guidance of an instructor. When she completed that week of training, she informed her daughters that they were stopping by a store to purchase the knives she needed for her kitchen. She learned in that one week that she was capable of taking care of herself. Our best learning comes from those who have gone before us. NLS therefore has a focus in its collections on books written by people who have lost their vision and found positive ways of recapturing their independence and self-confidence.

【採訪撰稿 林孟玲】

參考資料:
1.       “Karen A. Keninger new director of the National Library Service “(USA)News from the Library of Congresshttp://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2012/12-038.html