Accessable audiobooks: a Learning Ally for all

Free audiobooks by request for those with print disabilities? Find out about Learning Ally – formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, a service that has assisted all ages since 1948 – in this great Chicago Sun-Times story “Learning Ally Records Texts for Students Who are Visually Impaired” by Mike Nolan. I was reminded of the vital services provided by Learning Ally and the federally-funded National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped after my post about Recorded Books discontinuing cassette rental titles (but retaining cassettes as purchased titles). Just reading the comments on the Recorded Books post about the cassette decision shows the strong feelings about providing easily-accessed materials for all. Libraries who have discontinued their cassette collection should be sure to have print-outs detailing the no-cost services from Learning Ally and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped available for patrons. And as libraries remove cassette titles from the collection, why not donate to the local senior citizen center, rather than the FOL sales? Perhaps the AV circulation staff would know of long-time audiobook on cassette patrons who could be offered individual weeded copies for their personal collection. Rather than abandoning the cassette collection,  look for ways that these trusty old format warriors can provide a few more great listens for patrons who find it difficult to change to newer technologies.

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Mary Burkey is a National Board Certified teacher-librarian in the Olentangy School District in Columbus, Ohio.

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