Frank Kurt Cylke, director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, received the 2006 Golden Cassette Award for Library Partnership from the Los Angeles-based Braille Institute of America Library Services Inc.
The Braille Institute, in an open house at its headquarters on Oct. 16, 2007, recognized Cylke “for his leadership and vision in providing digital books and machines to the blind, visually, physically and reading disabled communities.” Cylke has led NLS through the research and development of the Digital Talking-Book System since 1990. Scheduled to launch in 2008, the digital recorded books and listening devices are much anticipated in the blind community.
Cylke was appointed director of NLS in 1973. He guided NLS through the transition from phonographs and discs to a cassette-based system in the 1970s. He has overseen growth of the program’s readership, with the number of patrons now reaching 750,000 and circulation increasing from 11 million items in 1978 to 26.3 million items in 2006. The program’s influence has expanded globally, impacting organizations such as the International Federation on Aging, the International Federation of Library Associations and the World Blind Union.
The Braille Institute, a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1929, provides education, rehabilitation and library services to more than 55,000 blind and visually impaired people through five regional centers and 200 community outreach programs.