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