Philosophy of the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Reading occupies a significant place in our lives today. Reading for education, vocation, information, and recreational purposes begins in the early years of life, when parents read to their children, and continues through the senior citizen years. Books, magazines, and other information resources enrich our understanding of the present, its relationship to the past, and what the future may hold. The public library is the principal organization committed to the acquisition, arrangement, and dissemination of the information sources enriching our lives.
The needs of blind and physically handicapped readers are no different from those of other readers. Differences may exist in the kinds of media and in the methods used for dissemination, but the range of subjects needed and the uses to which the material is put are the same.
When, in 1931, the United States Congress enacted legislation to ensure availability of printed materials for blind readers, the seed was sown for the development of the nationwide network of cooperating libraries by the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Public Law 89-522 expanded the authority of the Library of Congress to develop cooperative arranges with other agencies. The Connecticut LBPH is a member of this national network of cooperating libraries under the auspices of the NLS as authorized by the Connecticut General Statutes, Chapter 188, Section 11-1a (d), to wit: “The State Library Board shall create and maintain a library service for the blind and other persons with disabilities, as provided for in 2 USC Sections 135a, 135a-1 and 135b”.
Funding for the LBPH comes from several different sources. The majority of the staff is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under it’s Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant program with the remaining staff funded by the State of Connecticut. The NLS provides at their expense the audio and braille books, playback equipment and accessories, operating supplies and materials, and public affairs/marketing materials. The State of Connecticut provides the facilities to house the LBPH as well as general office supplies and equipment. The LBPH very gratefully receives many generous donations from patrons and other concerned citizens. These donations may only be used to fund special goods and services not otherwise funded by the Government.
The basic philosophy is for the LBPH to be the central source for books, magazines, library materials, equipment, reference and bibliographic support, publications, consulting services, and coordinating support for blind and physically disabled residents of Connecticut. Specifically, to make available, in formats accessible to blind and physically handicapped readers, books and magazines representative of the range of print materials typically found in a public library.
The objectives of the LBPH are to provide reader services as close as possible to their area, using the NLS collection and equipment; to reach out to potential readers, offering services; to pursue close cooperation with other libraries; and to add to the nationally distributed collection materials needed by patrons, through purchase or volunteer production.