NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam praised the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped for the thousands of people it has helped with audio books.
The Republican governor and other state officials commemorated the 80th anniversary of the National Library Service on Wednesday. President Herbert Hoover created the service, which includes 113 libraries across the nation and roughly 800,000 patrons.
Tennessee’s Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped opened in 1971 and currently has about 8,000 registered users.
“I’m pleased to celebrate what this organization has done in our state over the past four decades,” he said. “This program has allowed … citizens to read, when otherwise they wouldn’t be able to.”
Secretary of State Tre Hargett agreed.
“Their free audio books and media devices have helped to educate and connect the blind community for decades,” he said.
Marty Blackford started losing her vision about 10 years ago because of a genetic disease. The 67-year-old said eventually she could no longer watch television or read books, and then she found out about the services offered by the state’s library. She likes how quickly the audio books arrive at her home after ordering them.
“The books are there within two days when I call for them,” Blackford said. “It’s wonderful. It’s accessible.”
State library director Ruth Hemphill said she hopes the implementation of digital technology to replace the audio cassettes will draw even more people.
“I want everyone who is eligible for the service to sign up,” she said.