The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress (NLS) recently published Answering the Call: The Telephone Pioneer Talking-Book Machine- Repair Program 1960-1993 to recognize and celebrate the significant accomplishments of a major volunteer organization.
The 96-page book outlines the 35-year relationship between the library service and the Telephone Pioneers of America, a volunteer group of current and retired telephone company employees. Answering the Call describes the development of the repair program from its early days as a pilot project and reveals how the program expanded into a highly organized national undertaking.
Since 1960 the Pioneers have repaired more than 1.6 million talking-book machines for NLS. Maintaining and repairing the machines enable blind and physically handicapped persons throughout the United States to enjoy reading books and magazines from the NLS collection of 1.5 million titles. "This remarkable effort in 'answering the call' represents more than $8 million a year in high-quality machine repairs," according to NLS Director Frank Kurt Cylke. "We thank the Pioneers for their zealous service and look forward to a continued and fruitful association."
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides free braille and recorded books and magazines for 765,000 blind and physically handicapped persons through a network of 143 libraries throughout the United States.