There are a ton of misconceptions about the visually impaired community, one of them being that blind people don’t read. The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library confirms that’s a myth. Zarina Mohd Shah, the management librarian, said just like the National Services for the Blind and Print Disabled tagline, “that all may read.”
The library first opened its doors in 1961 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary in conjunction with blindness awareness month this October. The library provides reading materials for the blind community and visually impaired individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities.
“We have close to 7,000 patrons,” said Shah. “We serve the whole state of Wisconsin and nationwide.”
Not only does this library have books in braille, a form of written language for blind people, but it also offers talking books. These digital audiobooks are incredibly easy to access. You sign up on the library’s website, answer a few questions like your preferred genre, and then the library mails you six books to start with. Alongside books, patrons receive a digital playbook, a pair of headphones and you can even download the books with an adapter. All you have to do is register and they have you covered.
“It is one of the best free federal programs that are for people who are blind and visually impaired and who have physical disabilities,” said Shah.
Accessibility is one of the reasons why libraries are loved. To think that there are only 55 libraries nationwide that offer these services and Milwaukee has one of them means that regardless if you have visual or physical limitations, you can still seek adventure that comes from reading a book.
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