Thanks to a generous couple, the Bracebridge Public Library has a new device that enhances what its user is doing.

The Merlin Ultra Full HD Video Magnifier was recently donated to the library. Crystal Bergstrome, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Librarian for the Bracebridge Public Library, says it’s been set up on a table in the middle of the library and is available for anyone to use – regardless if you have a library card or not.

The device normally costs around $3,500, but the couple that dropped it off paid the machine off in full. 

“They were very, very, very kind in thinking of us and they brought it right to us,” Bergstrome says. “We are so thankful for their very generous donation and they will help so many other people in the community with this.”

The Merlin Ultra Full HD Video Magnifier now at the Bracebridge Public Library (Photo credit: Mathew Reisler)

She explains it isn’t just for making the words on the page of the book you’re reading bigger. I can be used to help you with crafts, needle-point, or anything else you might need to get a closer look at.

“It almost projects what you’re doing onto a large screen in front of you,” Bergstrome explains about the device. 

The device can enhance the size of what you’re looking at to be as big as you need it to be. When reading something, Bergstrome says you can change the colour of the font or the background to make it easier to read.

 “Sometimes different colours are easier for certain vision issues to be able to see,” she goes on to say.

 It also has a flexible arm, which allows for people to sit in a comfortable position.

The machine is able to save settings, making it easier for frequent users to sit down and get to work. 

“It’s so much better than the old school days where the only option you had was a magnifying glass,” Bergstrome says. Unlike a magnifying glass, this device is hands-free. “It’s a more advanced version of reading glasses,” she adds.

The device is free-to-use and staff will be there to give you a tutorial when you use it for the first time. Bergstrome says there is no limit for how long you can use it.

As the library staff continue to prepare for the move to the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre, Bergstrome assures library users they won’t forget about their current space on Manitoba Street. “We’re going to keep trying as best we can to make sure we can keep improving here in this space before we can go into the new space,” she says, adding accessibility is always top of mind.