Thousands of Iowans who have eye trouble are staying connected to the literary world through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Jill Lewis, a regional librarian for the service, says there’s a readership of 8,500 Iowans who are routinely getting books on tape through the mail.
Lewis says: "We bring a public library-type collection to these people. We have biographies, about 400,000 titles of best-sellers, classics, romance novels and about 70 magazines. All of these materials are free to your Iowa people." She says the service is now in its 75th year of providing blind and physically-handicapped readers with free reading materials.
Lewis says:"The service is very important because it’s for anybody who cannot handle or read conventional print materials because of low-vision, blindness or physical disabilities. The National Library Service for the Blind or Physically Handicapped helps Americans stay connected to the world around them through books and through a wide range of resources." She says the program is a lifeline to many Iowans, enabling them to read independently.
The program also brings people together, as "talking-book clubs" provide patrons with the opportunity to discuss the books they’ve read and to share their love of reading with others. Lewis says the service sends books and playback machines to people through the U.S. mail right to their door, which makes it very convenient for them. Today marks the end of National Library Week.