The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Carnegie LBPH) has been named the 2007 Network Library of the Year by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the Library of Congress. Now in its fourth year, the annual award for outstanding accomplishments by a network library was presented at a ceremony held June 11 at the Library of Congress.
“The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has made tremendous strides in reaching potential patrons and introducing those individuals to the talking-book program,” said NLS Director Frank Kurt Cylke. “Its dynamic newsletter, informative publications, outstanding and innovative services and substantial outreach efforts make Carnegie LBPH the NLS Network Library of the Year.”
Carnegie LBPH serves more than 8,100 patrons in 36 counties of western Pennsylvania. By forming partnerships and collaborating with state agencies, disability organizations, foundations and consumer groups, Carnegie LBPH increased the number of library visitations by 153 percent and disseminated information to more than 3,600 individuals. Despite a 50 percent cut in its outreach program budget in 2007, Carnegie LBPH increased attendance at its events by 20 percent, drawing more than 4,200 adults and 1,000 children to its programs. Last year, the library’s outreach van made 59 visits to county fairs, expositions and senior citizens’ centers. Overall, the library’s outreach efforts contributed to a readership increase of 1,000.
Carnegie LBPH is one of the original cooperating libraries of the national free library service administered by NLS and the first library in the NLS network to launch a voice-activated public access catalog (Vo-PAC). The service, which enables patrons to search the collection and order books privately and independently, has been provided by Carnegie LBPH for more than a decade.
NLS administers the free program that loans recorded and braille books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print, and specially designed playback equipment to residents of the United States who are unable to read or use regular print materials because of visual or physical handicaps. The 128 network libraries – throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands – provide direct service to eligible individuals and institutions. Eligible American citizens living abroad are also able to participate in the NLS program. For more information about NLS, visit www.loc.gov/nls/