Tag: Perkins Library

Perkins Library: More Than Just Books

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.”

My Love Affair with Talking Books

Gayle YarnallThis week we introduce Gayle Yarnall, a patron of the Perkins Library and part of the Library Outreach Team whose goal is to spread the word far and wide about library services.

The Talking Book Program is 80 years old and I have been a big fan and loyal patron for 47 of those years.  I somehow got to my senior year in high school without ever being told about talking books. My vision was poor. I could not easily read print. I could never read for pleasure. My mom recorded the books I absolutely needed for school and I faked the rest.

Talking books introduced

It wasn’t like my vision was being ignored. I grew up in Chicago. My parents took me to all the best doctors who tried all kinds of treatments including drugs and very unflattering eye wear.

In my senior year we moved to Florida and I went to a new doctor. This doctor casually mentioned the Talking Book Program and a big ugly record player, the talking book player of the day, moved into my house. The first book I read was Tale of Two Cities. My mom was thrilled she did not have to record it.

Literature becomes a companion

From that book on I was wandering through the garden of literature, both old and new. I discovered travel books and mysteries, historic fiction and political books. I was off and running and I have never stopped.

Talking books followed me from Florida to Colorado and then to Massachusetts. They got me through raising three kids, middle age, and now into “seniorhood”. Is there such a word? They have introduced me to authors from around the world, places I have traveled and places I hope to travel. They have brought me through illnesses and power outages. They have given me endless sources for conversation.

Maybe most important of all they have kept me company.

Now I travel around Massachusetts spreading the word about the Library services. This is like being paid to eat chocolate. I am amazed at how many people don’t know about this service. How can you not love a library that comes to you? How can you not love a service provided by people who love what they do.

Help us to spread the word! Contact the Library at Library@Perkins.org or 1-800-852-3133 or me at Gayle@gayleconnected.com.