Library features braille, talking book program

The number of people with disabilities is growing.

About 56.7 million people, 19 percent of the population, had a disability in 2010. More than half of those individuals reported the disability as being severe, according to a comprehensive report released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those individuals, about 8.1 million people had difficulty seeing, including 2 million who were blind or unable to see. In Ohio alone, 275,600 individuals reported having a visual disability in 2015.

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library is dedicated to meeting the needs of our patrons, especially our patrons with disabilities. Everyone should have equal access to books and information and the library can help visually impaired patrons gain access to these items through the Ohio Braille and Talking Book Program.

Through a network of cooperating libraries, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress provides free access to braille and recorded books and magazines to eligible adults and children. The Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled of the Cleveland Public Library is part of the NLS network, providing service to Ohioans in cooperation with the State Library of Ohio Talking Book Program. This network serves an estimated 500,000 individual readers through more than 800,000 reader accounts and circulates more than 23 million books and magazines annually.

Complete books and magazines are recorded by professional narrators. These items are available on a digital cartridge, pre-loaded MP3 players, or available for download from a secure database. OLBPD also loans audio described videos and DVDs. Selections include titles typically available from your local public library. Books and magazines also are available in braille, a system of writing using raised dots. All books, magazines, catalogs and equipment are sent to readers at no cost through the U.S. Postal Services as “Free Matter for the Blind” and returned the same way. OLBPD also provides onsite adaptive computer access to online reference sources in large print, braille and “voice” output. OLBPD staff provides support and training at select locations throughout Cleveland Public Library to individuals who need assistance in using the adaptive computers.

Any Ohio resident or Ohioan living abroad who is unable to read or use standard print materials as a result of a temporary or permanent visual, physical or neurological (e.g. dyslexia, etc.) limitation is eligible to receive service. Interested parties may request an application from the library at (419) 447-3751.

Beth Gottfried is extension and outreach manager at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.