The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress, will present awards to libraries in Texas and Illinois for outstanding service to blind and disabled readers.
The Texas Talking Book Program, a division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, will receive the Network Library of the Year Award. The annual award, in its eighth year, carries a $1,000 cash prize.
The Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center, a subregional library of the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries, will receive the sixth annual Network Subregional Library of the Year Award, which also carries a $1,000 prize.
The Texas Talking Book Program, which is headquartered in Austin, served nearly 16,000 individual readers and institutions and circulated 891,662 books and magazines in 2011. That’s in addition to the more than 143,000 books and magazines that Texas readers accessed online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.
he winner of the 2011 Network Subregional Library Award, the Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center (CPLTBC), provided service to 2,921 readers and circulated 128,447 books and other materials, according to director Deborah Taylor.
The CPLTBC, located in the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, works closely with the Chicago Public Library to ensure readers with disabilities can participate fully in library services and programs. In addition to a monthly book discussion, the library hosts an annual poetry program; diversity celebrations, including African American Heritage Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; and popular winter and summer adult reading programs. In 2011 the center hosted its first online and in-person (fully accessible) adult book discussion with the winter reading program. In collaboration with the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries, CPLTBC staff plan and moderate discussions for online accessible RA Bookbreak sessions, which are open to reader advisors and staff from the entire NLS network of libraries.
“In recent years, the transition from analog cassette technology to digital cartridge and download services has presented both challenges and rewards for our readers,” said Peggy D. Rudd, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. “Through planning, innovation and hard work, the Texas Talking Book Program staff has made the transition as seamless as possible, while generating great excitement among readers who continue to marvel at the digital talking-book machine and who cannot wait for new books to appear on BARD.”
NLS began distributing digital talking-book machines (DTBMs) to replace cassette machines in 2009. Texas was one of eight libraries that helped NLS test digital books and playback equipment before production was implemented for the entire network. In 2011, the program’s staff made BARD support and training a top priority.
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