“Outspoken Library” Services Bring Back The Joy Of Reading To Veterans

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Members of the state and county American Legion were in attendance to learn about the NJ State Library Talking Book & Braille Center’s Outspoken Library program and see how user-friendly the audio player was for the veterans. In the photo with former Newark resident Walter Tenpenny (seated), veterans home resident & US Navy veteran of World War II, are, from left, Joseph Brandspiegel, Chief Executive Officer of the home, Betty Baranowski, State American Legion Executive Committeewoman of Metuchen, Ron Davie, Middlesex County American Legion Commander of Colonia, Dan Dunn, American Legion State Vice Commander of Port Reading, and Adam Szczepaniak, director of TBBC. (Photo by Gary Cooper)

MENLO PARK – The New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center’s (TBBC) “Outspoken Library” kiosk is now available to the veterans at the NJ Veterans Memorial Home, Menlo Park.

The kiosk is designed to enable the veterans who have impaired vision, a physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book, or a learning disability to download audiobooks from the National Library Services Braille and Audio Reading (BARD) Program which they can play on a free listening device.

The facility has an institutional license with TBBC to enable designated staff to download books for any of the home residents interested. In addition, the social services staff can certify individual veterans and register them with TBBC. Those veterans will then be able to access the BARD Program on their own. The BARD service offers over 22,000 downloadable audiobooks and 49 magazines. The Outspoken Library kiosk is provided free to libraries and the state’s veterans homes, and its services are free to eligible users.

“This initiative will help us expand the services of the Talking Book and Braille Center to new, underserved populations in New Jersey,” said Adam Szczepaniak, director of TBBC. “It will help to make a difference for these veterans who, for whatever reason, have difficulty reading printed material.”

“This is a wonderful service made available to our residents,” said Joseph Brandspiegel, chief executive officer of the facility, who estimated half of the home’s residents could use the service for reading books and magazines.

Members of the state and county American Legion were in attendance to learn about the program and see how user-friendly the audio player was for the veterans.

The kiosk is already in use at Lyons VA Medical Center and the Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland, and at libraries in East Brunswick, Monroe Township, Bridgewater and Bernardsville. Plans are to install the kiosk at the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus in the near future.


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