Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Talking Library for the Visually Impaired

I think that I'm typical of most avid readers in that one of the worst nightmares I can imagine is the loss of my sight. Never does a day by without me picking up a book or two to sneak in as much reading time as I can manage. No matter what I accomplish in a given day, if I have not read at least a few dozen pages, the day feels wasted. So stories like this one from the Rome News-Tribune (GA) really make my day.

Picture from: Rome News Tribune

(The Northwest Georgia Talking Library provides flash drives preloaded with books (left) and digital players used to play them free of charge for those who can no longer read for visual reasons or who can no longer physically hold books. (Kevin Myrick/RN-T))
The program, which covers 11 counties in Northwest Georgia, provides books through the National Library Service for the blind and physically handicapped.

Delana Hickman, the local talking book library coordinator, said the books are typically for those who can no longer read regular print on books or who can no longer hold books.

“What we do is we send audiobooks through the mail on flash memory,” she said. “We have all types of books, magazines and periodicals available.”

Those who use the service are beginning to transition over to a new digital player provided by the library which takes the books, stored on a USB-type flash drive, and plays them using simple controls.

Hickman said that before the new players patrons used cassettes, which were harder to use.
Take a look at the article for more details. This all sounds so simple, considering today's technology, but imagine what a great thing this is for people who find it difficult to read the printed word.

I think I'll sleep a little better tonight - one less nightmare to worry about.


  1. Losing my eyesight and being unable to read is actually one of the nightmares I have about old age. I don't like audiobooks now but I'm sure I would learn to love them if that is the only way I could "read".

  2. Kathleen, I find that audio books work pretty well with fiction...not so well with nonfiction titles, especially those with lots of dates and "names" to keep track of.