- The New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center in Trenton, New Jersey, received the 2023 Regional Library of the Year Award
- The Library for the Visually and Physically Disabled Branch of Muskegon Area District Library in Muskegon, Michigan, received the Sub-regional Library/Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.
- Both libraries are among nearly 100 in the National Library Service network of cooperating libraries
Library of Congress Honors Libraries in New Jersey and Michigan for Outstanding Service to Readers with Disabilities
The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) at the Library of Congress today recognized two of its cooperating libraries in New Jersey and Michigan for their outstanding service to readers with visual, physical or print disabilities.
The New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center in Trenton, New Jersey, received the 2023 Regional Library of the Year Award, while the Library for the Visually and Physically Disabled Branch of Muskegon Area District Library in Muskegon, Michigan, received the Sub-regional Library/Advisory and Outreach Center of the Year Award.
Both libraries – among nearly 100 in the National Library Service network of cooperating libraries – were honored today at a luncheon in the historic Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Each also received a $1,000 award and a commemorative plaque.
“One of these libraries is large, the other is much smaller, but they have much in common: energy, creativity, and a 24/7 commitment to ensuring that disability stops no one from experiencing the lifelong joy of reading,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “They are shining examples of service the National Library Service and its network of libraries provide to hundreds of thousands of people from coast to coast.”
The Talking Book and Braille Center serves nearly 14,000 patrons throughout New Jersey, loans materials in audio and braille and provides services for children and teens as well as for the state’s Spanish-speaking population. In addition, the Talking Book and Braille Center manages NFB-NEWSLINE, the National Federation of the Blind’s audio news service, for more than 3,300 subscribers in New Jersey. It also manages the state Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Technology Loan Program and Library Equal Access Program, providing accessible technology, support and training to residents with print disabilities. And it provides reading materials to a summer camp for blind children.
The Talking Book and Braille Center hosts a monthly virtual book discussion group and a biennial fall festival at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township, which provides patrons tactile interaction with the arts. For the past 12 years, the center has also hosted a fundraising golf tournament with as many as 55 blind and sighted participants.
The Library for the Visually and Physically Disabled Branch of Muskegon Area District Library, with one full-time librarian and a part-time reader advisor, serves more than 940 patrons in Michigan’s Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
Among the Muskegon Area District Library’s initiatives are a Senior Book Bin service, which delivers bins of large-print books to area senior organizations each month, and Phone-A-Story, a dial-in service that offers weekly recordings of poems, short stories and children’s stories.
The library has an array of accessible technology on site for patrons to use, including closed-circuit televisions that magnify images, an optical character reader, a refreshable braille display and a device that projects games onto an interactive surface.
Created 92 years ago, the National Library Service launched the Network Library Awards in 2004. A committee of librarians and consumer-organization representatives recommends finalists from nominated libraries to the National Library Service director based on mission support, creativity and innovation in providing service and demonstrated reader satisfaction.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled administers the talking-book and braille program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or print disability makes reading regular printed material difficult. Through its national network of libraries, the National Library Service provides books and magazines in audio and braille formats and playback equipment directly to patrons at no cost. Materials are also available online for download and are accessible on smart devices through the BARD Mobile app. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, ebraille, braille and recorded formats. For more information, visit loc.gov/nls or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
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