‘THAT ALL MAY READ’: Brown Bag features Library for Blind and Physically Handicapped

Published 4:00 am Friday, August 18, 2017

“There’s nothing like the feel of Braille beneath your fingers.”

That’s the way Tim Emmons described his joy of reading to those who attended the Brown Bag lunch at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge Tuesday.

Emmons is a reader advisor for the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Montgomery. He joined Angela Fisher Hall, regional librarian, a guest speaker at the August Brown Bag lunch.

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Theresa Trawick, Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library director, said the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides a much-needed service to those who are visually impaired.

“Many people who could benefit from those services don’t know they are available or how to access them,” Trawick said. “We wanted to offer this opportunity as a way of letting the people in our area know about these free services.”

Hall said a misconception could be that to benefit from the services of the Alabama Regional Library BPH one must be legally blind.

“But our services are available to those who cannot see standard print with corrected vision,” Hall said. “The services are also available to those who are certified by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy as having a reading disability due to an organic dysfunction. And the services are available to those who have a physical limitation that keeps them from holding a book or turning the pages.”

Those who qualify for the services provided by the Alabama Regional Library BPH may choose from a wide variety of talking books, which are available on a digital cartridges or for download by the patrons.  Braille and web-Braille titles are available as well, Hall said.

“The talking books are nothing like the reel tapes that were once used to record books,” she said. “The talking books are not much larger than a standard book and are made available at no charge.”

This program is free and distributes Braille, recorded materials and playback equipment to those who qualify. Free mailing privileges are provided by the U.S. Postal Service.

Emmons, who has been blind since birth, spoke to the Brown Baggers about his love of reading and what the Alabama Regional Library BPH has meant and continues to mean to him.

Emmons began using the library at a young age. He was such an enthusiastic and avid reader that he would call the library from school to order Braille books.

“I would call and say, ‘It’s me, Tim’ and place an order,” Emmons said. “I did that so often that I actually became ‘It’s me, Tim.’”

Emmons said as a reader advisor he has the opportunity to “give back” to those who use the library.

“The library is a strong part of me,” he said. “Reading brings me so much joy and I want to pass that joy on to others. I cannot read enough. I like the talking books but I prefer reading Braille. I like feeling the words.”

Emmons and Hall are dedicated to the library’s creed “That All May Read.”

“We want everyone to have the opportunity to read,” Hall said. “Only 25 people in Pike County use our services. There are 135,000 Alabamians that would qualify. We want to find those people so they may be fully engrained in life through reading.”

For more information about the free services provided by the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, call 334-213-3906 or email Emmons at temmons@apls.state.al.us.