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About the Library for the Visually and Physically Disabled

Advisory Outreach Center Services

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The Lansing Braille and Talking Book Library circulates materials and the playback equipment for the entire state. The Muskegon Area District Library serves as a subregional Advisory Outreach Center providing community outreach and readers’ advisory service, demonstrations, mailing applications for service, and registering patrons. Although we are located in the MADL main office, we occupy only a very small space with other services at this location. Unlike other Advisory Outreach Centers in Michigan, we have not been able to provide space for an assistive technology lab, nor have we been able to offer speakers or other programs for our patrons.

We serve approximately 500 patrons in Muskegon and Ottawa Counties. Braille and talking books are also available online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service and BARD Mobile. The NLS program has continued to increase promotion of its services with a new marketing campaign “That All May Read,” to develop new features in its equipment, offer mobile apps for iOS and android devices, and most recently, launching a completely redesigned more accessible website, www.loc.gov/nls.

Since voters approved the millage in August 2016, an assistive technology lab has been steadily developing. The MADL team, with input from our community partners and citizens, created a new strategic plan to guide our future direction to provide the best possible library service. A community round table discussion provided ideas for the AOC. Visits to other libraries’ assistive technology labs provided more hands-on advice. Recommendations from the regional Braille and Talking Book Library, and meetings with vendors about equipment, pricing, and our budget will continue.

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Our address at 4845 Airline Road has an accommodating space including a more accessible entrance, computers with software specifically designed for people with visual and/or physical disabilities, and furniture to accommodate those with limited mobility. Computers have large screen monitors, large character keyboards, and trackball mice. Lower shelving holds a selection of talking books, large print books, and descriptive narration DVDs to checkout. A sitting area is available for patrons’ drivers. An ADA compliant private cubicle is available for individuals using a computer with talking software. These changes create a new level of service for our community now and into the future.