Not sure how to use the library? There’s an app for it now
For Bridgette Walker, the downloadable program MagnusCards is more than an app. It’s a lifeline.
MagnusCards gives her life skills right on her cellphone to do things independently and safely.
Walker, 30, has autism, and although she is high-functioning, she experiences huge anxiety if she doesn’t know what to expect in a situation, or loses focus in the midst of an errand or task like grocery shopping or even going to the library.
“I use it when I don’t remember how to do something or I want to learn something new,” Walker said.
Walker was among 20 people at the Turner Park library branch Saturday for the launch — and a tutorial — on a MagnusCards card deck designed by Magnusmode for the Hamilton Public Library.
MagnusCards is a free app containing digital step-by-step guides called card decks. The deck categories include cleaning, health, travel, self care and fun — the category which libraries fall under.
For Walker, the cards are useful for reminding her of how to protect against sun and skin cancer, safely replacing a burned-out light bulb, and many other undertakings she no longer has to rely on someone else to do for her.
Many tasks are intimidating, but with MagnusCards, “I can get a preview of what to expect. … I can calm down and get through the experience without a lot of anxiety,” she says.
Magnusmode president Nadia Hamilton says although she was inspired to create MagnusCards for her brother, Troy, who is autistic, the app can be used by anyone.
“We’re changing the way people live from day to day … creating opportunities for everyday victories, which is what it’s all about,” she said at the tutorial.
Andrei Lungu, 13, at the launch with his mother, called the app really cool.
“It was useful,” he says, “because I didn’t know how to find a book, you know. I haven’t looked around on a shelf … because I thought it was really complicated and I didn’t know how it worked.”
On Saturday, he found his first book on a shelf on his own. At the school library, he just looks randomly or relied on the librarian to find what he needed, he says
His mother, Mihaela Lungu, says she thought MagnusCards would be a good app to help her son research for a school project.
“It’s like a tool for kids to get to the information on time and with less effort,” she says, adding, “I noticed this app is also very useful for kids with special needs.”
Hamilton, the app creator, says it’s a tool for teaching and reinforcing, as well as a reminder. The card decks can be there when helpers can’t, she adds.
“This is a bridge to independence, inclusion, and also a greater peace of mind for a person’s support network, especially as they become adults,” Hamilton said.
Walker says she doesn’t go anywhere without her app.
“I would recommend it for anyone who suffers from forgetfulness or find themselves distracted for whatever reason. This is a taskbased agenda in a sense.”
Bridgette Walker, left, with library worker Ania Van Minnen on Saturday.