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The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) presented awards to libraries in Texas and Illinois for outstanding service to blind and disabled readers.
The Texas Talking Book Program, a division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, received the Network Library of the Year Award. The annual award, in its eighth year, carries a $1,000 cash prize.
The Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center, a subregional library of the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries, received the sixth annual Network Subregional Library of the Year Award, which also carries a $1,000 prize.
The awards were presented at a ceremony in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress on June 1, 2012.
"These are challenging times for all government agencies, but the Texas and Chicago libraries have continued to meet the needs of the blind and disabled readers they serve in creative and innovative ways," NLS Director Karen Keninger said. "They are outstanding representatives of the more than 100 cooperating NLS libraries across the United States."
The Texas Talking Book Program served nearly 16,000 individual readers and institutions and circulated 891,662 books and magazines in 2011. That's in addition to the more than 143,000 books and magazines that Texas readers accessed online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.
The Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center provided service to 2,921 readers and circulated 128,447 books and other materials, according to director Deborah Taylor.
The center works closely with the Chicago Public Library to ensure readers with disabilities can participate fully in library services and programs.