SP Library Participates in Program For Blind and Physically Handicapped

The Scotch Plains Public Library is one of eleven NJ libraries chosen to participate in the program.


The Scotch Plains Public Library is one of eleven New Jersey libraries selected to participate in the Talking Book and Braille Center, a program that serves the visually blind and those with other handicaps that make it difficult or impossible for them to read a print brook.

Pam Brooks head of Teen and Adult services at the Scotch Plains Public Library is leading TBBC and said they’ve received nice feedback about it.

Brooks said that the Scotch Plains Public Library volunteered to be a part of the program, which she thinks is tremendous.

“The state library lets every library know and very few libraries stepped up but we are always looking to provide ways that we can serve everybody in the community so it was a really perfect opportunity,“ Brooks said.

Prior to this program, the library used a dedicated terminal to access the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) system of books, but now the TBBC has moved everything online to make it easier to access.

“This initiative will help us expand the services of the Talking Book and Braille Center to new, underserved populations in New Jersey,” said Adam Szczepaniak, director of TBBC in a press release. “It will help to make a difference for those who, for whatever reason, have difficulty reading printed material. This is an important partnership for TBBC.”

Brooks said the librarians are now able to access the system and provide the public with the resources they need. The public must get their own password by applying for the program and providing a simple doctors note. Once they have a password they can either access the system from home or visit the library for assistance.

“Once they have their access code they have lots of different options,” Brooke added. “They can go into the web page themselves, they can find their own books and they can download whatever books they want onto a flash drives.”

The flash drives are then plugged into machines provided by the state library. The machines can either be mailed to a person home or picked up the library.

Brooks said the machines are wonderful and once the flash drive is plugged in will direct you what to do and give you a list of the books on the drive.

She added that it is easy to use and people have the option to either search and download themselves or receive preloaded flash drives with about a dozen books in the genre of their choosing.

It is a great program because it’s based on people’s preferences, Brooks said.

In addition to books, the BARD also offers magazine articles, newspapers and music.

In addition to this recent addition of the TBBC program, the SPPL has had ongoing resources for the visually impaired. They have magnifying devices that you can slide over paperwork and see it magnified on your television screen, which Brooks said is great for doing bills. The SPPL also has an extensive selection of large print books and belongs to E-Library NJ, where you can download free audio books and e-books.

Since the library is always aiming to involve the whole community in what they do, especially The Big Read, one of the book discussions for the Big Read will be six-sessions listening to the audio book of Julia Alvarez’s, In the Time of The Butterflies. Additionally In The Time of Butterflies is available through the new TBBC system and the library has copies of Alvarez’s audio books.

For more information on this program visit, njsltbbc.org, or contact the Scotch Plains Public Library.


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