June 22, 2008 By News Report
A Seattle-based library that offers services to thousands of blind and visually impaired individuals is joining state government as a division of the Secretary of State.
"For many years, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library has provided many valuable and very useful services to our state's blind community," said Secretary of State Sam Reed. "It's a one-of-a-kind resource in Washington, so I'm pleased that WTBBL is joining our State Library. WTBBL customers can be assured that they will continue to receive the same outstanding service."
After planning this transition for the past five years, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library will officially become part of the Washington State Library on July 1. This new relationship will allow the library to offer more complete services to all Washington residents.
The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library is open to Washington State residents and caters especially to individuals who are legally blind, deaf-blind, visually impaired, physically disabled or learning disabled. Its services include talking books, Braille books and large-print materials, taping services, the Evergreen Radio Reading Service and summer reading programs.
"WTBBL is the only statewide source of books and other materials for individuals who are blind or visually impaired," said Denise Colley, president of the Washington Council of the Blind. "We have no other place to acquire such materials."
In 2003, the Seattle Public Library began working to transfer this service to the Washington State Library to better serve the residents of Washington State.
"I am delighted that this important statewide service, the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, will be an integral service and program of the Washington State Library," said State Librarian Jan Walsh. "WTBBL is the window to the world for so many of its patrons, and I am pleased that after a five-year transition, it will not only survive but thrive within the Washington State Library."
The Washington Talking Book and Braille Library has around 400 volunteers. Along with volunteers, there are about 9,000 active patrons, 60 percent of whom are over the age of 65.
Reed will welcome the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library to the Office of Secretary of State at an open house in Seattle on July 3. The event will be held at WTBBL, located at 2021 9th Ave. The open house begins at noon and will include refreshments.