This article is an interview with Valerie Lewis, Librarian with Talking Books Plus, a Subregional Library of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
Valerie, what's a typical sort of information request you might receive?
Many people who have difficulty seeing regular print are unaware that there are electronic magnifiers that enlarge print up to 100 times, large type and talking watches, computers that speak, and a host of other devices that can make their lives easier. We can provide information on this and a host of related questions.
Valerie, when and where is the Assistive Technology Fair?
On Friday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., talking book readers will have an opportunity to find out about the latest access technologies at "See For Yourself 2002: An Assistive Technology and Resource Fair for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired." The TB+ "See for Yourself" fairs in 1998 and 2000 were attended by over 400 visitors each.
What companies will have booths?
As of this writing, the companies that will demonstrate their latest products and services include Ann Morris Enterprises, C Tech, Enabling Technologies, Independent Living Aids, On Island Communications, Technologies for the Visually Impaired, Telesensory, Verizon Community Affairs, and Vis-Ability.
In addition, there will be a variety of organizations that provide related services. As of this writing, they include Computer Center for Visually Impaired People, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, and the New York State Commission for the Blind. The exhibition will be held in the auditorium of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, which is located at exit 55 of the Sunrise Highway. The library is on the North Sunrise Service Road, just east of Route 101. Admission is free. Coffee and light refreshments will be available throughout the day. For additional information, call 286-1600.
Valerie, where can people check for further information, or to contact Talking Books Plus (TB+) and what exactly do you do?
Talking Books Plus (TB+) is a free library service for individuals who cannot hold, handle or see well enough to use regular print books. TB+ is a subregional library of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the division of the Library of Congress that produces books and magazines in braille and recorded media for people with visual or physically disabilities.
TB+ lends NLS's professionally recorded books and magazines (and the special equipment needed to play them) to eligible residents of Suffolk County. Materials are sent to borrowers and returned by postage-free mail. TB+ currently serves about 2,500 readers, and lends about 100,000 talking books a year. TB+ also provides a variety of related library services for Suffolk residents with disabilities.
A part of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, TB+ works closely with the public libraries of Suffolk County to help ensure that all residents of our county have access to library resources and services.
Valerie, can readers directly contact some of these vendors? How?
People may be interested in visiting the vendors' websites. Here are a few of them:
Ann Morris Enterprises http://www.annmorris.com/
Enabling Technologies http://www.brailler.com/
Independent Living Aids http://www.independentliving.com/
C Tech http://www.lowvisionproducts.com/
On Island Communications
Technology for the Visually Impaired http://www.tvi-web.com/
Valerie, thanks for answering our questions and good luck with the Assistive Technology Fair!