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Event Recap: Braille Institute’s San Diego Center Library Tour & Happy Hour

Event Recap: Braille Institute’s San Diego Center Library Tour & Happy Hour

On Tuesday, September 23, a group of curious SLA-SD members and colleagues gathered at the Braille Institute’s San Diego Center location in La Jolla to tour the organization’s library. Librarian Louise Zuckerman hosted our group and discussed the various library and community services that the nonprofit Braille Institute provides free of charge to the blind and visually impaired.

Our afternoon kicked off with a walk-through of the library stacks, which primarily feature audio media on flash drives circulated within hard plastic cartridges that can be sent through the mail for expanded accessibility; audio cassettes and braille books are also available. We then learned about electronic handheld magnification devices used to enhance sight for the visually impaired and viewed a number of models housed in the Library for patron use. Moving into the facility’s computer labs, our group learned about the various programs used to teach typing and make general computer, iPad, and iPhone use more accessible to those with visual impairments. Concluding the tour, we saw some of the table-top magnification devices, the NLS digital talking book player, and other assistive technologies in action. Along the way, we spoke with a technology lab assistant, a low vision consultant, and the facility’s Executive Director, Richard M. Ybarra, to get a well-rounded understanding of the Braille Institute as well as the role that the library plays within the various programs and services the organization provides.

After an interesting and informative time at the Braille Institute, our group headed over to happy hour at Seasons 52 for lively conversation and networking. Thanks to all who came out to make this a great event! For those of you who couldn’t make it, we hope to see you at our next SLA-SD Chapter event!

For more information about the Braille Institute’s San Diego Center location and library, please visit http://www.brailleinstitute.org/sandiego/

For a list of free iPhone and iPad apps developed by the Braille Institute — including VisionSim, an app developed “in order for people with healthy vision to experience the world through the eyes of a person experiencing one of nine degenerative eye diseases” — please visit: http://www.brailleinstitute.org/digital/mobile-applications.html

Braille Institute's San Diego Center Executive Director Richard M. Ybarra talks to our group about the organization's work, programs, and growth.

Braille Institute’s San Diego Center Executive Director Richard M. Ybarra talks to our group about the organization’s work, programs, and growth.

A view of the stacks at the Braille Institute Library, featuring shelves of popular literature in digital audio cartridge format

A view of the stacks at the Braille Institute Library, featuring shelves of popular literature in digital audio cartridge format

Librarian Louise Zuckerman demos the NLS Digital Talking Book Player, a machine free to all qualifying individuals through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)

Librarian Louise Zuckerman demos the NLS Digital Talking Book Player, a machine free to all qualifying individuals through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)

A view of the Braille Institute's courtyard, with one of two fountains that use different water sounds to indicate physical orientation to visitors with visual impairments

A view of the Braille Institute’s courtyard, with one of two fountains that use different water sounds to indicate physical orientation to visitors with visual impairments

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2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar

2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar

The 2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar offered great networking opportunities.

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2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar

2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar

At the 2013 SLA-SD Fall Seminar, we enjoyed a day of informative presentations.

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Recap: SDPL Central Library Tour

Recap: SDPL Central Library Tour

The weeks have flown by, and it feels like just yesterday that an enthusiastic group of SLA-SD members and friends headed to the San Diego Central Library for a guided tour of the new space on March 20. Though most public tours of the library are led by volunteers, we were lucky enough to be treated to a tour led by several San Diego Public Library staff members, who gave us the inside scoop on library work and all the planning that went into the state of the art facility.

The building’s architecture, art, inviting spaces, creative programming, and more combine into what is now a welcoming and busy space for San Diegans looking to read, research, use computers, hold and attend special programs, explore, and more. Several spaces stood out to many of our tour-goers, perhaps most notably including the automated book sorting room, equipped with a “smart” conveyer belt mechanism that is able to sort returned books into bins by subject as well as library branches. The children’s and teen’s library spaces were also well received, with bright colors and innovative spaces, including a teen gaming room, children’s craft area, and much more than may be expected from an average library. The library also has an IDEA (Innovation & Digital Expression Activity) Lab, equipped with 10 high-end computers with an array of technical software as well as two 3-D printers available for public use.

Our tour group was also excited to see two library special collections areas. One, the Marilyn and Gene Mark Special Collections room, houses the library’s California Collection, including several display cases exhibiting pieces of San Diego history. The other, the Sullivan Family Baseball  Research Center, includes rotating feature items from what is the second largest baseball research collection in the United States, after the Baseball Hall of Fame. The library is also home to a small art gallery that exhibits work by local artists.

Aside from the innovative and expansive library resources, the group was also impressed to see the building’s various special event facilities, including a state-of-the-art auditorium and theater space, courtyard, rooftop terraces, and sizable Shiley Special Events Suite. Perhaps one of the most iconic spaces in the building, the Helen Price reading room,  with study space, vaulted ceilings, and a panoramic view of the city beyond, is also available for events.

Though the tour was thorough, I think we all agreed that it will be best to revisit the Central Library on our own soon to explore its spaces in more depth. There is much more to see than an hour-long tour can offer!

If you weren’t able to make it in person, take a chance to browse through a collection of photo highlights.

 

Interested in more details? Peruse the SDPL’s own floor by floor description of the Central Library: SDPL_Central Library_Floor by Floor Guide

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2012 Fall Seminar: great vendors

2012 Fall Seminar: great vendors

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2012 Fall Seminar: great networking (and food!)

2012 Fall Seminar: great networking (and food!)

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2012 Fall Seminar: great presentations

2012 Fall Seminar: great presentations

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2012 Fall Seminar: networking

2012 Fall Seminar: networking

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2012 Fall Seminar: networking – Penny Blach and Anne Turhollow

2012 Fall Seminar: networking – Penny Blach and Anne Turhollow

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2012 Fall Seminar: speakers Marlo Young and SuHui Ho

2012 Fall Seminar: speakers Marlo Young and SuHui Ho

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