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NLS: Overseas Outlook
July to December
Volume 26, Number 2
Patrons needing a replacement cassette player do not need to wait until
the returned machine reaches NLS. Patrons should immediately request
a replacement machine when it starts malfunctioning. Along with their
requests for a replacement cassette player, patrons should send their
telephone numbers to expedite the delivery of new equipment through
NLS will continue to send C1 cassette players that work on 110-volt
current to overseas patrons. Patrons in those countries with 220-volt
electricity will receive a converter to use with the machine.
Federal Express will not deliver the machines to addresses with APO or
post office boxes. FedEx will deliver only to a street address. Patrons
with only APO address should expect the machines to arrive within
Many overseas readers are communicating with the overseas librarian by
e-mail, which expedites communication and service. Patrons must
include their full names with e-mail correspondence in order to ensure a
Magazine has Changed
The cassette magazine Travel Holiday has been replaced by Travel and
Patron Millie Rosenblatt turns darkness to light
Occasionally Overseas Outlook publishes articles about overseas readers
and their accomplishments. This edition profiles Milllie Rosenblatt, an
overseas patron living in Israel.
Millie Rosenblatt, a Haifa grandmother of five, migrated to Israel in
1980. Since then she has helped at least 30 Americans with disabilities
who reside in Israel apply for free library service from NLS.
"Everyone must know someone who is physically or mentally disabled,"
said the 76-year old Rosenblatt. "Society's challenge is to provide
assistance for the disabled and their families so that they may become
productive members in their communities, accepted for their strengths,
and not pushed aside to be governed by their weaknesses." She
continued, "Able-bodied individuals will gravitate toward new,
constructive behavior once their awareness is heightened and their
sensitivity is finely honed. We do this by identifying the needs that have
to be addressed with direct, precise, surprisingly simple answers that will
set us on a better course."
With this goal in mind, Rosenblatt, as one of the millions of people who
have lost their vision as a result of macular degeneration, wrote 33
essays. She says "My own experience backs up my work and
immodestly I tell you that my sense of humor and positive personality
results in compelling reading. My life's dream today is to reach out to
the public with these ideas. I interview well, I hang loose; and the love
and interest I have for people is obvious."
Community activism comes naturally to Rosenblatt. Before becoming
legally blind in 1968, she was chairwoman for one of the Democratic
Party headquarters in southwestern Texas, and helped to manage the
Kennedy-Johnson presidential campaign in 1960. Rosenblatt says she
was also among the civil rights activists who worked to desegregate
Affectionately called "Millie" by her friends and family, Rosenblatt was
born on May 14, 1927, in the Bronx, New York. She graduated with a
bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and did two years of graduate
work in Public Administration at New York University. Rosenblatt
became legally blind in 1967 because of macular degeneration and
totally blind in 1992.
She married her husband, Paul, in 1951, and on December 23, 2003, she
will celebrate her 52nd wedding anniversary. The couple have four
children and five grandchildren. United States natives, they lived in
New York, Texas, South Dakota, and California. They have also lived
in Turkey, England, and Israel. Throughout their travels, Rosenblatt
maintained her career as an educator in religious schools. She has been a
teacher, an administrator, and a principal throughout her 25 years of
Rosenblatt recalls that the day she realized she would never see again,
two of her four children were still teenagers and two were just post-teens. She wanted to turn her darkness into light. Because light had
always meant knowledge to the educator, she decided to register for the
Master in Education program at Pepperdine University in Malibu,
Millie credits her husband with encouraging her and with helping her
apply for and receive materials from NLS. In addition to the recorded
materials she received from the NLS, her then thirteen-year-old
daughter, Shana, recorded Jean Jacques Rousseau's book on education
for her and actors from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts
recorded other materials that were not available from the free library
service for her.
Finally on May 7, 1977, the Pepperdine University dean of education
escorted Rosenblatt to received her degree from the president of the
university. The dean announced, Rosenblatt recalled, that she had
achieved a 4.0 average in her studies--a perfect score.
"If I had succeeded in moving my children a notch toward perseverance,
self-confidence, determination, commitment, good values, and belief in
themselves and their goals," said Rosenblatt, "my darkness ceased at the
moment to be liability and became a reward."
Selected Sources for Electronic Texts
This is a selected list of online sources for electronic texts. The files are
in a variety of formats ranging from plain text to digital audio and digital
braille. Most can be downloaded and read offline. Electronic braille
materials can also be embossed. Web sites vary with regards to
accessibility and questions should be directed to the sites' webmasters.
Each entry lists the telephone numbers, web site address and e-mail
addresses, for further information.
- Accessible Book Collection
- (703) 631-1585
- Provides high-interest, low-reading-level digital text in HTML to
individuals with a documented disability that prevents reading standard
print. Also serves government and nonprofit schools and rehabilitation
centers. Annual subscription fee $44.95.
- Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts
- (574) 246-0639
- Has a collection of free public domain documents from American
literature, English literature, and Western philosophy. Books are in PDF
and text formats.
- 888-283-5051 or 888-429-5575
- Includes forty-five hundred audio books and fourteen thousand other
audio programs in a broad range of subjects that can be downloaded to a
computer. Readers can listen immediately, transfer files to an audio
player, or burn them onto a CD. Items are spoken-word audio in a
proprietary Audible.com format. Cost: $14.95-$19.95 per month.
- Offers the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference books free of
charge. Includes books of quotations, the 1914 Oxford edition of the
Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the Columbia Gazetteer,
Gray's Anatomy, and Strunk's Elements of Style. Books are offered in
various proprietary e-book formats.
- Bibliomania.com Ltd
- Offers free online literature of classic fiction, drama, poetry, and short
stories. Also offers contemporary articles and interviews. Most books
are in HTML format.
- (650) 475-5440
- Provides digital books in a broad range of subjects to United States
residents who have a visual or other print disability. Books are in text
format and contracted braille. Most text files are presented with XML
markup and the site includes tools for reading these files. Requires
completion of an online form, proof of disability, and payment of $25
sign-up fee and $50 annual subscription.
- Braille Book Files
- Has books at all grade levels that are submitted by teachers and
transcribers; the site is maintained by the Texas School for the Blind and
Visually Impaired. Access is password-protected and limited to
individuals who have a visual or other print disability and to members of
a nonprofit organization or governmental agency that provides
specialized services to such individuals. Books are in MegaDots,
Duxbury, and ASCII format.
- Contains free literature for which copyright protection has expired.
Presents these works in eight categories: fiction, nonfiction, drama,
children, poetry, Shakespeare, short stories, and classical. All books are
in HTML; includes a plain-text format that eliminates most graphics.
- Electronic Text Center
- (434) 924-3230
- Combines a free online archive of tens of thousands of SGML- and
XML-encoded electronic texts and images in the humanities with a
service at the University of Virginia Library that offers hardware and
software suitable for the creation and analysis of text. Most material is
in SGML or XML; site includes tools for reading these file types.
- (973) 701-6771
- Publishes and distributes fiction and nonfiction in a variety of
proprietary e-book formats. Costs 49 cents for short stories to $4.99 and
up for lengthy works.
- Has more than two thousand books, stories, poems, plays, and religious
and historical documents in HTML format. Readers can read online at
no charge or can purchase the entire collection on CD-ROM for $19.99.
- International Electronic Braille Book Library
- (410) 659-9314
- Contains more than one thousand titles of electronic braille books,
including classics and publications of the National Federation of the
Blind. Files are in contracted braille ASCII format and may be read
online or downloaded for viewing offline or embossing.
- Internet Public Library (IPL) Books Collection
- (734) 764-4386
- Includes more than twenty thousand online books, stories, essays,
poems, articles, dramas, letters, and speeches that are freely available
online. Material is in text and HTML format.
- netLibrary, a division of Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)
- Offers more than thirty-seven thousand e-book titles in subjects such as
arts, business, history, literature, religion, science, and technology to
academic, public, and corporate libraries that purchase a collection of
titles. Patrons must create an account with an affiliated library in order
to access the collection. Books are in a proprietary e-book format.
- The Online Books Page
- (215) 573-0758 or (215) 898-7091
- Includes more than nineteen thousand English works that are available
online at no charge. Has a listing of foreign language and literature
resources and an archive of serials. Books are in HTML format.
- Page by Page Books
- Has hundreds of free classic books that are in the public domain,
including United States historical documents and presidential inaugural
addresses. Books can be read online one page at a time.
- Project Gutenberg
- www.promo.net/pg/ or www.gutenberg.net
- Has three types of free texts: light literature such as Peter Pan, serious
literature such as the Bible and works of Shakespeare, and reference
works such as Roget's Thesaurus and almanacs. Most books are in text
or HTML format; a few require proprietary e-book reading software.
- (713) 358-2600
- Has a collection of books and journal articles in the humanities and
social sciences selected by professional collection development
($24.95), quarterly ($49.95), and annual ($129.95) subscription plans.
- Tiflolibros: E-Books for the Blind
- Has more than five thousand digital books in Spanish that can be
downloaded. Includes a small but growing number of books in English,
German, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Must register to receive
password to access collection.
- Provides braille magazines produced by the National Library Service for
the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), press-braille books
produced by NLS since 1992, and braille music scores. Access is
password-protected and limited to NLS patrons (residents of the United
States or American citizens living abroad who have a visual or other
print disability) and eligible institutions. Files, which are in contracted
braille ASCII format, may be read online or downloaded for viewing
offline or embossing.
Selected List of Additional Resources
- Digital Librarian: A Librarian's Choice of the Best of the Web
- Maintained by Margaret Vail Anderson, a librarian in Cortland, New
- Directory of Electronic Text Centers, Rutgers University
- Has links to electronic text centers in the United States, Canada, and
- E-Digital Books, LLC
- Provides a clearinghouse for writers to place their electronic literature
online. Readers can download a book to a computer hard drive or obtain
on CD-ROM; price varies by size of the file.
- Electronic Text Collections
- Has links to historical and literary sources from different time periods in
Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
- Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature
- Lists Internet sources for literary texts in western European languages
other than English.
- Electronic Texts
- Has links to general collections; classics and history; constitutions, laws,
and treaties; economics; literature, drama, and poetry; mythology and
folklore; philosophy; and religion.
- Electronic Texts and Documents, University of Washington
- Has links to a variety of topics, such as country studies, the Irish famine,
Mark Twain, the Vatican files, and World War I.
- Humanities Text Initiative, University of Michigan
- Includes the American Verse Project, different versions of the Bible, and
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (hosted for the Abraham
- LETRS: Library Electronic Text Resource Service
- Provides humanities-related electronic texts via the Internet and in the
LETRS Humanities Computing Lab, Indiana University.
- Library of Congress Full-Text Resources
- Presents American Memory: Historical Collections that include primary
source materials relating to American culture and history; country
studies, with the full text of handbooks on ninety-one countries; and
Meeting of Frontiers, presented in both English and Russian, which tells
the story of the exploration and settlement of the American West and of
the Russian Far East and Siberia.
- Includes links to electronic texts, virtual encyclopedias, virtual
newspapers, and fast facts such as almanacs, quotations, and thesauri.