Bookshare Celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

Access to books for education, employment & social inclusion has dramatically increased for people with print disabilities. An early ebook innovator, Bookshare developed a new approach to digital rights management (DRM) which include both electronic fingerprints in the books as well as legal agreements & social pressure. Bookshare's parent company, Benetech is a leading provider of accessible open content and open source tools to improve accessibility. Bookshare started with volunteers digitizing and legally sharing materials over the Internet with others who had qualified print disabilities. To date, over 180 publishers have now contributed over half of the 140,000 titles in the collection. For more information about Bookshare or to see if you or a family member qualify, click here.

Braille and Talking Book Library Book Club

The next Michigan Commission for the Blind Braille and Talking Book Library Book Club meeting will be held on May 12 at 1:30 p.m. in Lansing at the Library of Michigan in the BTBL public service area located on the first floor across from the elevators. This month's book is DB73178, Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber. The meeting can be attended in person or via the OPAL online meeting room. The meeting site is accessible. Individuals attending the meeting are requested to refrain from using heavily scented personal care products in order to enhance accessibility for everyone. People with disabilities requiring additional accommodations (such as materials in alternative format) in order to participate in the meeting, or those seeking more information, should call Scott Norris at (517) 373-5516 at least five business days prior to the meeting.

National Library Service in Novel Form

The novel Liberty Lanes by Robin Troy is a mostly lighthearted story of a group of elder residents in a small Montana town whose lives intersect through their three-times-a-week bowling league and their meeting a young reporter from a local newspaper. It’s a good read for the active social lives of the characters and how their friendships help them navigate one man's experience with the initial stages of dementia, relations with grown children, and budding romances. It also includes a first reference that I’ve come across to a character who is blind named Alastair who receives talking books from the National Library Service at the Library of Congress, which is what the Washtenaw Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled is all about. After all is said and done, not a line is bowled, but lines on friendship are on full display.

Running Blind

Thursday April 19 2012, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Downtown Library -- Multipurpose room

Learn about the value of sports for visually impaired athletes with Hal Wolfe, a Michigan Blind Athletic Association board member. Hal will discuss competitive sports for the blind such as Beep Baseball, Track and Field, and Goalball. He will also discuss how he developed specialized software to help manage track & field meets involving visually impaired athletes. Hal is a runner, race volunteer and race professional and the founder of Running Blind, a non-profit organization that will help visually impaired runners to find necessary support from guide runners.

Amy Shepherd will offer a local perspective by discussing the impact of sports on her visually impaired son Austin. She is the President of the Michigan Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (MPVI). Her volunteer efforts include the Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach Independent Living Skills committee, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Parent Advisory Committee to Special Education, and the Ann Arbor Disability Awareness Workshops.

Law Day 2012

May 1, 2012 is Law Day. This is a day that marks our country's commitment to the rule of law, established first by President Eisenhower in 1958. The Washtenaw County Bar Association is offering up to 20 minutes of free legal advice in two locations on this day for interested advice-seekers: Upstairs of the Ann Arbor Community Center and downstairs of the Ypsilanti District Library-Michigan Avenue. Call 996-3229 between April 16-April 30 to set an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome as time allows that day.

Chelsea Spring Expo

The Chelsea Senior Center presents the Chelsea Spring Expo on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Washington Street Education Center. Over 140 vendors, crafters, and non-profits will be showcasing their services and goods. Events include a movie screening, bake sale, and door prize giveaways. This is a community event for all ages to enjoy, and admission is free! Have fun!

Living with Low Vision

Join the Living with Low Vision group each month at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Each meeting features a guest speaker and a discussion for individuals with low vision. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. The next meeting is April 11. If you have questions, contact Gale Oren at (734) 763-9468 or goren@umich.edu.

All Aboard the AirRide!

Catching a ride to or from DTW is now easier than ever with AirRide! AirRide, a service of The Ride, offers 12 affordable trips a day from downtown Ann Arbor to Metro Airport. All of their buses are equipped with ADA Compliant wheel chair lifts. For this service, 24-advance registration is required. For more information or to make a reservation, click here. Happy Trails!

Braille and Talking Book Library Book Club

The next Michigan Commission for the Blind Braille and Talking Book Library Book Club meeting will be held on April 14 at 1:30 p.m. in Lansing at the Library of Michigan in the BTBL public service area located on the first floor across from the elevators. This month's book is In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden, DB/RC 53811. The meeting can be attended in person or via the OPAL online meeting room. The meeting site is accessible. Individuals attending the meeting are requested to refrain from using heavily scented personal care products in order to enhance accessibility for everyone. People with disabilities requiring additional accommodations (such as materials in alternative format) in order to participate in the meeting, or those seeking more information, should call Scott Norris at (517) 373-5516 at least five business days prior to the meeting.

Living with Low Vision Support Group

Join the Living with Low Vision group each month at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. Each meeting features a guest speaker and a discussion for individuals with low vision. The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 2pm to 4pm. The next meeting is March 14. If you have questions, contact Gale Oren at (734) 763-9468 or goren@umich.edu.

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