Last Thursday I got to do some cross-training at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. No, not the kind of cross-training that involves a stationary bike and a treadmill. Librarian cross-training means that we get to see what goes on in different departments and branches in the system.
LBPH is located in an old car dealership on Baum Boulevard:
This means that they have a really cool freight elevator and lots of storage space for their collection.
Here’s what the front looks like if you’d ever like to visit:
LBPH is different than all the other libraries in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system. While the rest of us serve the residents of Allegheny County (and the city of Pittsburgh in particular), LBPH serves half of the state. That’s 36 counties! They get extra money from the federal and state governments because they’re also part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).
Aaaaand… they serve ALL AGES. Including teenagers.
This means that if you’re a teen who is:
- visually impaired
- has a physical disability that prevents you from reading standard print books
- has a reading disability that results from organic dysfunction (like dyslexia)
In most cases, except for reading disabilities, a librarian can even certify you and sign you up. Otherwise you’ll have to get the signature of another certiying professional (like a doctor or nurse).
LBPH also provides really in-depth, specialized services for their customers. They don’t just have large print books. They have a huge collection of special cassettes, and a growing collection of digital books on flash drives. Plus the NLS offers a downloadable catalog of hundreds of other digital books once you are a certified user of LBPH. If you go to their catalog and search for “young adult fiction” you can see for yourself how many great, up-to-date titles are available. Titles like the Good Girlz series by Reshonda Tate Billingsley, the Octavian Nothing books by M.T. Anderson, V.C. Andrews books, fiction anthologies and more.
The librarians and library assistants at LBPH create a specialized profile for each of their customers that lists what authors, subjects, and formats that they like, really like, and never want. They give each customer a cassette or digital player free for use, and everything is sent free through the postal system.
So if you or anyone you know would be eligible for the services of the LBPH, by all means take advantage of it! Come into the library and sign up, or give us a call.
Or, if you’re a budding dramatist or sound engineer, you can volunteer to create digital recordings of books at LBPH… they hold auditions all the time.
The phone number is 412.687.2440.