Library of Congress Honors Colorado and Michigan Libraries for Service to Blind Readers
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress will honor two of its cooperating libraries for their outstanding service in 2017 to readers who are visually or physically disabled.
The Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) in Denver will receive the Regional Library of the Year Award, while Braille and Talking Books at Taylor Community Library (BTBTCL) in Taylor, Michigan, will receive the Sub-regional Library/Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.
The awards will be presented at a luncheon in the historic Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on May 17.
“Each year the Library of Congress recognizes the work of state and local libraries that provide braille and talking-book services over the previous year to people who cannot use print materials,” said NLS director Karen Keninger. “The programs and services the Colorado and Michigan libraries offer are outstanding examples of the creativity shown regularly throughout our cooperating libraries nationwide, as well as their commitment to ensuring that all may read.”
One of the Colorado Talking Book Library’s strengths is its volunteer program: more than 200 volunteers supplement the work of the library’s 13 staff members, contributing 25,000 hours in patron services and facility support last year.
The library, which has more than 7,200 individual and institutional patrons, has achieved at least a 98 percent patron satisfaction score since 2004 as measured in biennial surveys. CTBL volunteers have recorded 256 books of regional interest to add to the national NLS collection, and the library last year partnered with the U.S. Department of State to host official visitors from Ukraine and Egypt.
CTBL has won recognition at home—it was named Library of the Year by the Colorado Association of Libraries in 2017.
“Our patrons tell us that we change the quality of their lives, they are less isolated and less depressed,” said CTBL director Debbi MacLeod. “The work we do makes a difference in people’s lives every day. We are deeply honored by the national recognition of the work we do at CTBL and in the NLS network.”
Braille and Talking Books at Taylor Community Library—an advisory and outreach center of the Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library—was created in 2016 to meet the needs of more than 1,000 blind and disabled patrons when the Wayne County Braille and Talking Book Library closed.
Among its achievements in that short time, it has introduced a monthly book discussion, a support group for people with visual impairments and a program that focuses on assistive technology instruction and developments. The library also installed a conference line so people who cannot attend events can participate remotely.
“Serving people, regardless of ability or disability, is our passion,” said Vanessa Verdun-Morris, assistant library director at BTBTCL. “Anyone can walk through our doors and be sure staff will take the extra time to help them find materials or solutions that work for them.”
The Network Library Awards were created by NLS in 2005. A committee of librarians and consumer-organization representatives select finalists from among nominated libraries based on mission support, creativity, innovation in providing service and demonstrated reader satisfaction. The winner is selected from finalists by the NLS director.
NLS administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or disability makes reading regular printed material difficult. Through its national network of libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in talking-book and braille formats and playback equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, ebraille, braille, and recorded formats. Many materials are also available online for download and are accessible through smart devices. For more information, visit loc.gov/ThatAllMayRead or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.