PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress is honoring the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for their outstanding service to readers who are visually or physically disabled.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is receiving the Regional Library of the Year Award and will be presented in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. May 16.
“Each year the Library of Congress recognizes the work of state and local libraries that provide braille and talking-book services to people who cannot use print materials,” said NLS Director Karen Keninger. “The programs and services these two libraries offer are outstanding examples of the innovation seen throughout our network of cooperating libraries nationwide, as well as their commitment to ensuring that all may read.”
Carnegie Library is receiving the award due to outreach over the last year. The employees visited 131 sites in 15 counties spreading the word about the braille and talking-book program to more than 3,400 people.
They also put an emphasis on multicultural outreach as their staff consists of speakers of Spanish, Serbian, Hindi, Tamil, French, Italian, Portuguese and American Sign Language.
All of this was in an effort to respond to the needs of users, they also translated all of their welcome packets materials into Spanish.
Carnegie Library was also one of the first large libraries in the NLS network to pilot a new duplication-on-demand program that allows libraries to download audio files from NLS servers to create a talking book cartridge customized with patron requests.
The library also catered to the needs of disabled children by including a virtual story time via conference call for children that are blind or have limited vision. They also hosted Accessible Movie Afternoons with audio descriptions, tactile elements and foods related to the plot of the film.
A partnership with the Pittsburgh Society of Sculptors began a tactile art exhibit “Somatosensory 2018: Relating To The Senses” where visually-impaired attendees could feel the features of the sculptures while listening to descriptive recordings from the artists.
The library’s 24 staff members and 197 volunteers contributed nearly 13,000 hours of their time and severed 15,421 registered users throughout Pennsylvania.