SW Georgia Counties Help Visually Impaired Read with New Talking-Books

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September 28, 2012

Press the green “start” button and the world comes alive.
The sound and voice which comes from the new digital talking-book player for the visually handicapped, is truly remarkable.

Especially if you or someone you know cannot read because of some visual or physical disability, the sound and speech these people hear from this player, should be music to their ears. Everyone who has heard a demonstration of this new digital-talking-book player has been astounded at its quality and sound from books now on long-playing digital cartridges, recorded by professional readers. The cartridges only work on the talking book digital player.

The digital player and books are free to those who qualify with visual disabilities. It is designed for readers who cannot hold, handle or see well enough to read conventional print due to a temporary or permanent visual or physical handicap.

Now, an outreach program is currently under way in 22 Southwest Georgia counties, to bring talking books to more and more people. In addition to free books for individual readers, free books and players, called “deposit collections,” are available for hospitals, nursing and alternative care homes, senior centers, schools, all public and university libraries – wherever the visually handicapped gather.

Here's the best part:
All 20,000 digital books are free. Every one of them.

Yes, the books are free. The digital player is free. The postage to send books to and from the user and institutions is free. Have problems with the digital player? Pack it in its original box, give it to the postman. Return shipping and handling is free. The postman returns with a new free replacement player, and its postal charges to your house or institution are free.

Did we say the entire program is free?
Funding for the talking books program comes from the Library of Congress and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. In the 22 counties of Southwest Georgia, this program is administered by the Southwest Georgia Library for Accessible Services in Bainbridge. There are eight other regional libraries in Georgia which administer the program in their designated counties.

Eligible readers may also download digital talking books and magazines through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service by logging on to – nlsbard.loc.gov

Web-Braille is a service that provides electronic files for braille books, magazines and music materials to individuals registered with cooperating regional libraries. After registering with the library, eligible braille readers may download the electronic files or use them online with braille output devices. That's free too.

By enrolling in the talking-book program, you may enjoy professionally recorded versions of books found in most local libraries. Choose from bestsellers, classics, mysteries, westerns, romance, poetry, histories, biographies, instructional music materials, children's books, and foreign-language works. You may also select from more than 40 popular magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, the New York Times Book Review, and Sports Illustrated for kids.

How to get started?
Call Kathy Hutchins the Southwest Georgia Library for Accessible Services at (229)-248-2680 or 1-800-795-2680, Fax: 229-248-2670. You may email the library at – lbph@swgrl.org or check out our home page at www.swgrl.org/handicap.php or visit the library in Bainbridge at 301 South Monroe Street, 39819. You may also visit the online catalog at: webopac.klas.com/glass.