Future Reflections Fall 1989, Vol. 8 No. 3

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[PICTURE] At the NLS "Year of the Young Reader" kickoff event, Barbara Cheadle, President of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the National Federation of the Blind, speaks enthusiastically of the many doors literacy can open for blind children.

From the Editor: On January 26,1989,I had the opportunity to participate in an important, and fun, occasion. 1989 has been declared by Congress as the "Year of the Young Reader." In celebration of that event, the National Library Service for the Blind is distributing Braille/print library (readers') cards to young blind readers all over the country. Distribution of those cards began at the January 26 kickoff event. The story, as published in the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped newsletter, NEWS, is reprinted below. But first, a comment about the significance of the event.

A library card (or reader's card) from the library for the blind really has no practical value. Once you are registered for the service you need only call or write in your requests, and the books are mailed to you. There is some "walk-in" service in the regional libraries, but even for this a card is not needed. The importance of the project, then, is very much in the symbolism of the library card, in the spirit in which the endeavor is being carried out, and in the fact that NLS consulted the National Federation of the Blind (the consumers) before going forward with the project.

Given this spirit of respect for the consumer, the reader's card really does mean something. Symbolically, the library card tells our blind children that they stand in the same relationship to the library for the blind as sighted children do to their local library. They are not charity cases. They are library patrons. Patrons with rights and responsibilities. The library card can be for them, as it for sighted children, a key; a key to knowledge, power, opportunity, and equality.

Here is the article from the NEWS.


NLS has launched a nationwide salute to "1989-- The Year of the Young Reader" to honor the program's more than 20,000 young people who will be reached individually and through local events across the nation during 1989.

In a kickoff event on January 26,1989, sixty blind and physically handicapped schoolchildren from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, areas received colorful print and Braille readers' cards to show that they are users of the free Library of Congress Braille and talking-book program.

"This personal reader card reaffirms our nation's goals for all young readers, as stated by President Ronald Reagan and the Congress in passing Public Law 100-162, proclaiming 1989 as the Year of the Young Reader," Frank Kurt Cylke, director of NLS, said.

The event marked the beginning of the national distribution of readers' cards to all participants in the NLS program who are age fourteen or younger.

Barbara Cheadle, president, Parents' Division, National Federation of the Blind, stressed during introductory remarks the importance of reading in the lives of children and the role Braille and audio books play in unlocking the door to literacy for blind and physically handicapped children.

The program at NLS headquarters featured critically acclaimed children's writer Eloise Greenfield and "The Kids on the Block," a troupe of puppets portraying disabled and non-disabled children.

Ms. Greenfield, in addressing the topic "Why I write for children," spoke of her love for words and her desire to "give children words to grow on." She then served a treat of love and words with a poetry reading that included the electrifying "Harriet Tubman" from Honey, I Love (RC 16054) and selections from her latest books Nathaniel Talking and Under the Sunday Tree (both in process as cassettes).

"The Kids on the Block" puppet troupe magically came to life in a spellbinding performance. The script, written by founder Barbara Aiello just for this occasion, introduced to the nation readers' cards now being distributed to me than 20,000 young readers in the NLS network.

The children participated actively in both segments of the program, reciting along with Ms. Greenfield and interacting with the puppets.

The reader-card project marks the culmination of a year-long effort by an interdisciplinary children's outreach committee formed from NLS staff members to develop and enhance services to children who read materials in special formats. Other materials developed in the past year include a variety of resources for parent, public librarians, NLS network librarians, and other professionals.

The committee chairperson is Charlynn Spencer Pyne, children's librarian, Collections Development Section. Committee members include Margaret Cytron, assistant head, Publications and Media Section; Judith Dixon, head, Consumer Relations Section; Robert Fistick, head, Publications and Media Section; Michael Moodie, assistant head, Production Control Section; Ruth Nussbaum, reference librarian, Reference Section; Miriam Pace, assistant chief, Materials Development Division; and Steve Prine, network consultant, Network Services Section. Special assistance was provided by Freddie Peaco, volunteer/consumer specialist, Consumer Relations Section.

[PICTURE] The special performance by the Kids On The Block puppet troupe was a big hit with everyone. Charlynn Pyne, NLS children's librarian, distributes readers' cards to young library patrons .
[PICTURE] Nicole Fincham, a young patron from the Baltimore City school district, beams as she receives her reader's card from NLS staff member, Mary Levering. Kids On The Block puppets, and poetry by Eloise Greenfield, noted children's author, kept the children enthralled at the NLS Year of the Young Reader kickoff event.

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