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The New York Public Library strives for total accessibility, no matter what our differences may be. Join us as we move down the path toward that goal.

For People with Disabilities: A Ticket to Work

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, more than 13 million working-age people in the U.S. receive Social Security disability benefits; that's almost one in every 15 adults. Some may consider returning to work, but have important concerns regarding health care, cash benefits, job placement and job accommodations. The good news is that Social Security's Ticket to Work program that supports career development for people with disabilities is here to 

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Harnessing the Power of Music

Oliver Sacks once said in his book, Musicophilia:

"The power of music whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace..."

Music has incredible power. People today listen to music all the time, walking down streets and sitting in subway cars. We can't escape music.

For many of us, certain songs have this mystical power of throwing us into the past to a certain time and place. It might be a wonderful memory or a memory we 

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Booktalking "The Story of My Life" by Helen Keller, edited by Roger Shattuck

At 19 months of age, Keller loses her sight and hearing. A girl spends five years in darkness and silence, yet she runs with strength and is healthy and vigorous. Frenetically, she reaches into everything, is fascinated by people, and is in constant gestural communication with her mother and family members. She remembers the layout of the house, so she is able to freely run through it. She loves being with her dogs and her pony, but she cannot grasp sophisticated meaning from her limited world until her teacher, 21 year old

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ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival

New York Public Library is once again proud to partner with ReelAbilities, offering opportunities to see recent, high-quality films promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with differing abilities.

If you search for disability-themed film festivals, you can easily find several throughout the United States and the world. Each has its unique personality and 

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My Library: Janielle Fermaint

Janielle Fermaint at the Battery Park City LibraryI first met Janielle Fermaint a few weeks ago at a meeting in the Mid-Manhattan Library. She seemed like a person with lots of library experiences to share so I asked if we could meet for an interview. She agreed, and we spoke in the Battery Park City Library. Janielle is pictured to the left, on the appealing second floor of the branch which opened in 2010 as Manhattan's first library with green LEED certification.

How do you 

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Art and Low-Vision: MoMA Presents an Introduction to Modern Art

As part or our art and low-vision series we are excited to have The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) present a series of free lectures and art-making workshops at the Andrew Heiskell Library this winter. The content of this program series is based on free monthly touch and verbal description tours conducted at MOMA for adults who are blind or partially sighted. MoMA also conducts programs such as these for families. All programs will take place in the first floor 

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Drawing on the iPad: Washington Square Park (Video)

Washington Square Park, Manhattan, iPad drawing ©2012 Fotis Flevotomos on Vimeo.

On October 25, 2012, we posted "Drawing on the iPad," a brief introduction to digital drawing for people with or without vision loss. The present video is an example of the playback feature of the Brushes app.

But in reality it's a lot more than that. 

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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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Everyone Achieves at NYPL

Justin, a 14-year-old with special needs, sits at a computer in the Huguenot Park Library, in Staten Island, and ponders a comprehension quiz about an article he’s just read. The multiple-choice question asks him to fill in the blank: “A packet is a kind of ____.” His choices: Bag, zone, plant, or map. Justin answers incorrectly on his first attempt, so he thinks long and hard before finally settling on “Bag,” then submits his answer. “Fantastic!” says a pop-up message on the screen. “Fantastic!” echo Justin and his teaching aide, who 

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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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Drawing on the iPad

The room of the Art and Architecture Collection, NYPL, iPad drawing © 2012 Fotis FlevotomosAs a visiting artist at the NYPL, I felt the need from the very beginning of my stay in New York City to explore the library visually by making drawings of it on my iPad. The library’s landmark building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street caught my attention immediately. In the room of the Art and Architecture Collection, the reddish light coming from the reflections of the floor, the wood and the books was one of my 

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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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Alzheimer's Disease: Find Out How You Can Help, or Get Help, During World Alzheimer's Month

Alzheimer's Association/John BurwellMore than 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimers, a fatal disease without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. With the help of NYPL, Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter would like to raise awareness about this devastating disease. September, World Alzheimer's Month, is your chance to join the global fight against Alzheimer's disease. Visit alznyc.org/worldalzheimersmonth for more information and show your support by wearing purple with a 

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Boost your Budget with Help from a Food Program!

The following post was written by guest blogger Vanna Valdez, Benefits Outreach Worker, NYC Hunger Free Communities Consortium.

The New York City Hunger Free Communities Consortium (NYCHFCC) is a collaboration of New York City’s leading anti-hunger, nutrition, and aging organizations (AARP Foundation, City Harvest, Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, Food Bank 

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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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Winter Storms Can Be Hazardous to Your Federal Benefit Check!

I'd like to share an important message on behalf of Go Direct®, a campaign of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank from guest blogger Michelle Kloempken, campaign manager for Go Direct®.

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service

With electronic payments, you can count on your money despite severe weather.

If you get federal benefit payments by paper checks, you should know that you are required by the U.S. Department of the 

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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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