'Talking Books' Fair at Berkshire Athenaeum

The public is invited to attend Berkshire Athenaeum’s ‘Talking Book’ Fair will be held at the library at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the library’s Main Reading Room.

Talking Books are digitally recorded books or magazines in audio formats provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. They are available on free loan to people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise unable to read or use standard printed materials. Talking Books can be played on customized digital players, supplied at no cost by the Library of Congress and its cooperating libraries, or via a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

Erin Fragola, Library Outreach Coordinator from the Perkins Library, will discuss the Talking Books program which is offered at the library based in Watertown, Mass. Perkins Library circulates more than a half million accessible books, newspapers, and publications in braille, large print and digital audio formats annually to thousands of registered patrons in New England and beyond.

Berkshire Athenaeum Reference Librarian Madeline Kelly said these books are a great resource to the Pittsfield community. Kelly said the fair will showcase a collection of material, and the library’s ultimate goal is to identify those who can use the service so these patrons can have access to these with books.

“Here at the Athenaeum we are working to improve our services to community members with disabilities. Sometimes that means being knowledgeable about and connecting people to available resources,” Kelly said. “We are happy to be hosting Erin, who will talk about the service, how it works, how those who are eligible can register.”

The fair is part of a two-year Athenaeum initiative made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). LSTA is administered and funded on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield’s Public Library, is located at 1 Wendell Ave. For more information, please call 413-499-9480.