Library of Congress Announces Major Endowment For The Blind and Print Disabled

The Library of Congress announced on Wednesday December 18th, a major endowment in support of the work of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS). Established by Susan D. Diskin in honor of her late mother, the Tiby Diskin Memorial Fund will provide resources for the Library to expand its services to individuals with visual impairments and other print disabilities.

The first initiative made possible by this gift is the digitization of the Library’s braille music scores and instructional materials – the largest collection of its kind in the world. Many of the scores in the collection are rare and fragile; some date back to the late 19th century. NLS will use the funds to develop a unique braille digitization tool that uses 3D laser technology.

“We are so excited to receive this generous gift from Dr. Diskin and honored by her recognition of our work,” NLS Director Karen Keninger said. “It will allow us to advance our efforts to digitize NLS’s world-class braille music collection much faster and more accurately than we had ever anticipated – a real benefit to the students, teachers, performers and music lovers who use our braille materials.”

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden added, “We are grateful to Dr. Diskin for choosing the nation’s library to honor her mother’s memory. This fund will help NLS fulfill its vision ‘That All May Read.’ “

In a letter to Hayden, Diskin, a clinical psychologist practicing in Los Angeles, wrote of her mother’s reverence for knowledge, reading and education. Because of this, Diskin selected the world’s largest repository of knowledge, the Library of Congress, as a fitting institution to honor her.

NLS administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or disability makes reading regular printed material difficult. Through its national network of libraries, NLS provides books and magazines in talking-book and braille formats and playback equipment directly to patrons at no cost. Materials are also available online for download and are accessible on smart devices through the BARD mobile app. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, ebraille, braille and recorded formats. For more information, visit loc.gov/ThatAllMayRead or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


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