Staunton Talking Book Center to host celebration of national award

Talking Book CenterStaunton’s Talking Book Center will host a reception to celebrate its recently received national award this Thursday.

The Talking Book Center (TBC) was honored last month in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress as the Sub-regional Library of the Year, a rare honor bestowed on just two libraries in the nation this year.

The public is invited to celebrate the honor with the TBC and learn more about its mission from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, in the 2nd-floor meeting room at the Staunton Public Library. Light refreshments will be provided.

The TBC is a cooperating library with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a subdivision of the Library of Congress, and provides free audio book service to about 300 patrons in Staunton and the surrounding localities who are unable to read standard print material due to physical disabilities. It is housed in the Staunton Public Library.

The TBC received the award due to its focused attention on outreach and engagement over the last year through several activities:

  • A monthly newsletter launched in 2018
  • Participation in Staunton’s Queen City Mischief and Magic Festival, where volunteers provided braille-embossed index cards with visitors’ names, a “wizard word,” and a braille alphabet card to decipher the code
  • A co-hosted book reading with Phyllis Staton Campbell, a local author who is visually impaired and has been writing for the visually impaired for 40 years
  • A hands-on exhibit showcasing National Library Service offerings going back to its founding in 1931
  • A low-vision tabletop display with lighted and hand-held magnifiers
  • An accessibility room where patrons can use a text-to-speech screen reader, a page magnifier and a large table for private book readings

“Many of our patrons are homebound and rely on our services for not only entertainment, but for mental health to combat isolation, depression, and general loneliness,” said Ilia Desjardins, who manages the TBC. “We have been working to increase disability awareness in the community as our services are available for blind, low-vision, and print disabled and for all ages.”

Desjardins said winning a national award for Staunton still hasn’t quite sunk in.

“This Sub-regional Library of the Year award is not only for the Talking Book Center, but it honors our patrons, their caregivers, sponsors, and community members who have supported us and our mission over the years,” she said. “We are looking forward to the future and what services we can create and continue to offer our patrons.”



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