Roz RowleyRecently I visited Roz Rowley in her classroom at Perkins School for the Blind. I was amazed to learn that she has been a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for 42 years. Wow! I wanted to meet with her to learn more about what the Perkins Library means to her as a teacher and how it impacts her students.

After all, who would know better?

Teaching self-reliance

As we talked, Roz spoke about all the ways she uses the Library. Through our conversation, we discovered together that the Library is an important tool used to teach self-reliance. It also gives her students access to the same information that their sighted peers have.

Roz teaches a class, English for Real Life. The curriculum includes everything from returning a digital talking book through the US mail to completing applications, to downloading a book.

All important life skills. All related to the Library.

Something as simple as encouraging a student to place a call to the Library by themselves teaches important, independent phone skills.

Library offers equal opportunities

The Library provides students at Perkins and across Massachusetts with the same opportunities for learning as sighted students.
They have books, just like sighted students. They write book reports. And research.

Perkins Library has a dedicated Reference Librarian who meets with students each year so they know how to use the library. Perkins graduates keep that connection as they enter the world outside of the school.

Students also learn to use the Newsline service. By calling Newsline they can read today’s newspaper and contribute to a discussion about current events.

Just like sighted students.

Newsline also has job postings so that students can start thinking about different employment options. People who are blind are typically unemployed or under employed. At least knowing what kinds of jobs are out there is a start.

I used to think about our Library simply as a way for people to enjoy reading. My conversation with Roz gave me a whole new perspective.

Our Library helps students build self -esteem and independence.

Our Library allows students become informed citizens as they go out into the “real world.”

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