January marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Americans are encouraged to have their vision screened, especially anyone over the age of 60, African-Americans over the age of 40 and people who have a family history of glaucoma. Luckily, in this day and age, those who suffer from glaucoma and other vision impairments can still lead normal active lives and enjoy many hobbies – even reading.
The Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) – celebrating 75 years in 2006 – has made such a thing possible. To date, the program has circulated by mail more than 24 million copies of braille and recorded books and magazines to approximately 500,000 readers through a network of 132 cooperating libraries. To keep up with today's technology, NLS will begin to replace its existing cassette-based talking book system with new digital talking books in 2008.
The Library of Congress Information Bulletin ran an article in its November issue chronicling the past endeavors that have made NLS the success it is today. For more information on the program, check out the NLS Web site, where users can learn how to sign up, search through the service's online catalogs for favorite books and magazines, locate participating libraries and more.