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Blog Posts by Subject: Disabilities and Accessibility

Art and Low Vision: The Artist’s Eyes

In his very first email to me, Michael Marmor, professor and past chair of ophthalmology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, wrote: Your point that your view is original and valid on its own is important. I try to teach students that low vision or color “blindness” are not necessarily faulty vision... they are “different” vision. And may in some ways be better, or at least just as valid, depending on what you are trying to do. You have more of an “impressionist” view of a distant landscape than others with perfect vision — it's not 

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Art and Low-Vision: A List of Accessible Museums in New York City

Museums around New York City are offering visitors with low-vision or are blind the opportunity to experience and learn about great works of art. Through monthly verbal description and touch tours, visitors can enjoy a multisensory museum experience, to help compensate for some museums' "no touch" policy. Below is a select list of these tours. Advance appointments are usually required and be sure to call the museum to get updated information.

American Folk Art Museum 45 W. 53rd Street (between 5th 

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Art and Low-Vision: A Multi-Sensory Museum Experience

Why would someone with low vision choose to become an artist or feel passion about viewing and visiting great works of art in an art museum? As a senior librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library and an artist and painter with low vision, I have found that the act of painting provides me with a great way of getting in touch with my inner self, a way of creating a sense of "mindfulness" where one can be present in the moment and reduce the feeling of stress in one's life.

I recently discovered that I 

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Celebrating Art Beyond Sight: The Value of Creating and Appreciating Art for Those with Low Vision

photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightIn October, museums and other cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and the world celebrate the 10th annual Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. The goal: "making pictorial literacy and access to the world of art a reality for all blind people."

Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightThe organization Art Education for the Blind was founded by museum educator 

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Special Education Libraries

My mother is a special education teacher, and I had the pleasure of giving presentations about public library services in some special education classrooms. Since gifted education used to be classified as special education, I was curious to see if I could find any libraries on that subject; I did not. I also wanted to know what topics special education libraries covered, and below are some that I found.

Special Education Libraries for these amore, see

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Dyslexic Librarian: Library Resources for the Learning Disabled

I have been a librarian for about twelve years and have worked in many libraries for much longer. I am also dyslexic which I have been since I have known the meaning of that word's existence. Weird you say but it's the truth.

Dyslexia is a learning disability, which, for me effects my writing and reading abilities. I don't write letters backwards but I spell words with the letters switched around. I would refer to it as abstract spelling or surrealist writing. Actually it effects my writing skills much more than my reading skills. If it wasn't for Microsoft Word and 

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ReelAbilities Rules! The Disabilities Film Festival in New York City

If you haven't experienced, or perhaps even heard about, ReelAbilities, this may be the year to discover this unique festival, which is a film festival, but also so much more.

Anita Altman of the UJA-Federation, who founded the festival in New York City in 2007, states its goal is to raise consciousness "about our common humanity and the value of each person, without regard to his or her ability or disability." This is the fourth New York 

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Andrew Heiskell Library's Best of Fall Links

The year has flown past and the brink of a new year is a good time to look back. We hope everyone has a great holiday, whatever you celebrate, and a wonderful new year. Here are the things that caught our attention this fall:

Stuck on the holds list for one of our digital bibles? Audio Bibles for the Blind is now offering a free digital version of the Bible for your digital talking book machine. It works like this: you send them a blank digital cartridge, they load it up with the Bible and mail it back to you. More details are available on the 

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CART, or Real-Time Captioning, at the NYPL

Perhaps you have heard of real-time captioning, or CART (Communication Access Realtime Transcription), as it is often called. This is the provision of captions to accompany a presentation or performance in real time. The captions are generally projected onto a screen, where some or all of the audience can read them. CART can potentially enhance experience for several groups of people:

those who became deaf after becoming proficient in English (or another language), i.e., the post-lingually deaf; those with mild to moderate hearing loss, who want to follow along with what ... Read More ›

World Sight Day at NYPL

Lions International, working with other organizations that fight blindness, commemorated the first World Sight Day in 1998. Since then, it has been observed throughout the world on the second Thursday of each year; the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness are the chief coordinating agencies at present. Communities and organizations have initiated activities to support the main 

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Andrew Heiskell Library's Links We Loved in September

The following links caught our attention this past month. Plus, we've got a couple of announcements about new services.

Haptic Device Gives Blind a Helping Hand. Promising new technology to help people without sight to navigate.

Improved Accessibility for Google Calendars.

Dolly Parton's Imagination 

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My Library: Sharon

I had heard a bit about Sharon Anyimi; but I didn't know much. I knew she visited Baychester Library in Co-Op City — a lot — and was always reading books with the help of the Closed-Captioned Television system (CCTV), also known as the video magnifier, located in the Library. I knew she was a "people person" with a friendly word for all. I decided to wend my way to the northeast Bronx and meet this intriguing library user for 

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Andrew Heiskell Library's Best of Summer Links

We can't believe the summer is nearly over. Aside from the distractions of a minor earthquake and a hurricane (though Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time she hit New York City), we served up a number of links on our Facebook and Twitter pages that you might find interesting.

The New York City Mayor's Office is hosting a free exhibition Beep Baseball game between the L.I. Bombers and WFAN 660 sports radio on Saturday, September 24 at 3:30 p.m. at 

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Fotis Flevotomos displays Drawings and Watercolors for Mid-Manhattan Library's Low Vision and Blindness Resource Day

Shortly after landing in New York City from Greece, Fotis Flevotomos walked into Mid-Manhattan Library on June 11, 2011. As Brigid Cahalan, The New York Public Library's Outreach Coordinator, was showing him the space in the Corner Room where his art would adorn the shelves from June 11 through June 23, I was staffing the Popular Library Desk and thought that he must have been jet-lagged — if he was, that didn't stop him from installing all of his pieces that day. Flevotomos's art was on display as part of the Low Vision and Blindness Resource Day.

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Interesting Lives: The Latest Biographies and Memoirs at Andrew Heiskell Library

a sampling of digital booksA good biography is like a good novel. It can transport you to a different place and a different time, and inspire the imagination. But what has always appealed to me about biographies is that they could put me into someone else's head, letting me vicariously live a life more interesting than my own. Growing up, I read mostly fiction, especially science fiction and mysteries, which took me to exotic places both real and imaginary. But when teachers insisted we students be well-rounded readers, the non-fiction books I turned to were on the biography shelves in my 

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Andrew Heiskell Library: Art Exhibition and Timely Links

Reading a Braille DescriptionCreating visual art is not the first thing most people consider when thinking of people who are blind or who have visual difficulties, but there are many such artists and photographers who challenge that perception every day. The Andrew Heiskell Library was pleased to host an exhibition of artwork by students who have visual impairments, running from June 14 through June 18.

A reception, complete with refreshments, was well attended on opening night, and the exhibition drew a steady stream of visitors through the week. The photograph 

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Andrew Heiskell Library Best of May

We liked the following links this past month:

The Iowa Department for the Blind's blog, Blind Living, focusing on cooking, crafts, gardening, and more for people who are blind or have visual difficulties.

Books Open for Visually Impaired: Students in Pennsylvania team with the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to record Talking Books.

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From Book to TV: Television's Literary Inspirations

Creators of TV shows get their inspiration from many places, but lately they seem to be turning more and more often to books for their source material. And with quality programs doing justice to the books that inspired them, it's a welcome trend, especially if it leads fans of the shows who have never read the books to seek them out. Here are some to get you started.

In the following booklists, RC indicates Recorded Cassette, DB indicates Digital Book, and BR indicates Braille. NYPL indicates a book or video available in branches of The New York Public 

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Kids and Smiles: Reading to Children with Special Needs

For the last several years, I have been going to the United Cerebral Palsy Preschool on Staten Island to read to the children. The amount of joy that I have received from these visits is immeasurable. The children’s responses depend on the severity of their disabilities. The first three classes the children fully enjoy and participate in the stories. They clap, yell and laugh in all the correct places.

The last two classes can be challenging. I have to read 

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Heard Any Good Images Lately? The Art of Verbal Imaging

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then those words are priceless to people who cannot see. Verbal imaging is the art of describing pictures, art, and the world for people who are blind or have visual difficulty. For the past few years, Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind has been conducting art and craft programs at the Andrew Heiskell Library, teaching a variety of techniques to blind and visually impaired people, from sculpting to painting. And through their

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