Bennett Martin Library offers new video phone service

A new video phone service is helping the deaf and hard of hearing community communicate to more people.

It’s being offered at Bennett Martin library downtown for free.

The equipment allows users to make or receive calls via high speed internet access.

"Having this face to face conversation gives us that ability to have those conversations and we don’t have to rely on anyone,” Carly Weyers said.

Weyers works for the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

The video phone works like this.

A person can call an interpreter, who acts as the middle man between the user and the person who can’t sign.

The interpreter appears on screen and carries on the conversation by translating what the hearing person is saying.

The Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing said the technology will help connect more people.

"We’re really thrilled to today that we’re here working with the library and the city to provide pivotal communication access,”  John Wyvill said.

He serves as the executive director of the state’s commission for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Those who are deaf or hearing impaired can  dial each other as well.

They can call those with video phones and communicate directly.

Lincoln city libraries say this is another example of a great partnership.

"This is the kind of resource with community benefit that allows us to make the most of the access we provide to the benefit of the community in addition to all the books,” Lincoln City Libraries Director Pat Leach said.

The service is currently only offered at Bennett Martin, but the library said it could be at other locations in the future.

It is recommended that you reserve the phone, but walk-ins are welcomed.

You don’t need a library card to use the service as well.

To make a reservation, email or call the TDD line at 402-441-8489.

If you have trouble, please call the main line at 402-441-8500.