Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Materials for the Blind and Physically Impaired

Here's some information provided by Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski, who recently attended a workshop on this topic hosted by the Connecticut State Library.

The Ridgefield Library aims to provide all our patrons with access to a wealth of reading material and information. For those unable to use standard hardcover or paperback book formats, we offer a large print collection of over 2,400 titles, audiobooks on cassette and CD, and downloadable audiobooks.

However, many Connecticut residents may also meet the criteria to receive materials through the Library for the Blind and Physically Impaired, part of the Connecticut State Library system. This federally supported program provides free Braille and recorded materials for those unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations.

The offerings of recorded material include over 60,000 titles and over 40 magazines. The user can request specific titles or designate categories of interest and receive books matching their reading preferences. Playback equipment, which is specially designed for ease of use for the blind or visually impaired, is provided at no charge for as long as the service is required. Adaptive features are available to make the player functional for those who have other physical challenges.

Recorded or Braille materials are mailed directly to the user’s home for a loan period of 60 days and can be returned postage free in the packaging provided. For recorded magazines, a non-returnable cassette is mailed for each issue.

A simple form is required to establish eligibility and to certify the applicant is unable to read or use standard printed material. Copies of this form are available at the Ridgefield Library, or it can be downloaded from the website of the Library for the Blind and Physically Impaired at

For more information about the full range of Braille and recorded materials available, visit the above website or speak to Ridgefield Library’s Adult Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski.

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