Eighty years ago, President Herbert Hoover signed the Pratt-Smoot Act into law, establishing the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (NLS) and launching the distribution of raised type books for people with visual disabilities.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Gov. Bill Haslam, State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill and local library patrons will commemorate the anniversary during a ceremony at the State Capitol.
Tennessee’s Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (LBPH), a partner with NLS, opened in 1971 to provide free library services for the blind and anyone who cannot use standard print books. Currently 7,890 Tennesseans are registered users who have borrowed more than 180,000 books in the last nine months alone.
“The Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped provides an unmatched service for thousands in Tennessee,” said Secretary Hargett. “Their free audio books and media devices have helped to educate and connect the blind community for decades. Thanks to advances in technology, the library now offers digital players that can quickly download audio books from the Internet. That makes it more convenient than ever for the visually impaired to enjoy books.”
The event will take place in the Old Supreme Court Chamber Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.
The LBPH is located in the State Library and Archives building at 403 Seventh Avenue North, next to the State Capitol in Nashville. For more information about the library, contact Ruth Hemphill at (615) 741-3917 or Ruth.Hemphill@tn.gov