Whether you have just moved to Randolph County or are using one of the seven public
libraries for the first time, we welcome you to your library. We are here to provide the very
best library service possible. Your comments and suggestions are welcomed by any
staff member.

LBPH: another NC library gem

One day back in 2002, a colleague introduced me to a library visitor. "Ross, this is
Mr. Holmes. You've got to hear his story."

Mr. Holmes was George Holmes, a semiretired clergyman and former chemical engineer.
He had dropped in to say thanks.He explained that while working for an engineering
firm in Asheboro in the 1970s, he had suffered two detached retinas, along-term
complication of a World War II injury. He found himself recuperating from emergency
surgery, unable to see for a while with limited vision for a long period following
— and facing the prospect of being unable to work.

“It’s frustrating when you think your working days are over,” he said. “It’s scary.”

He wanted to say thanks because during his recuperation, friends referred him to the
library and then-Director Charlesanna Fox for resources the visually impaired. In short
order, he was receiving material such as EPAreports in large print and audio
(LP record!) formats, essential reading if he was to keepup with his fast-moving job.

“The library kept me working,” he told me. “I never thought the library would turn
your morale around.”

As has been the case since 1958, if, like Mr. Holmes, you have a temporary or
permanent visual disability, or another physical disability that makes it difficult for
you to read, the library community has a powerful helper for you: the North Carolina
Handicapped (LBPH), operated by the State Library of North Carolina.

Through mail and downloads via its website (http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/lbph/),
LBPH provides free reading material in the latest forms of assistive technology,
including: large print books; Braille books; audiobooks with specially-designed readers;
assistive controls for audio readers (remote controls, breath switches and extension
levers); Descriptive Video Service for films; downloadable Braille books, audiobooks
and magazines; and more.

Reference and readers advisory services are available by phone, and LBPH provides a
book club and a summer reading program. The LBPH website also offers a
variety of reading resources in a visually friendly design.

You don’t have to be legally blind to use LBPH services, and schools or care facilities
that work with people who have disabilities can receive services.

To begin using LBPH, contact our Extension Services department (318-6816). A librarian
will visit you and help you fill out the application, which includes creating a profile
of your reading tastes. Shortly after LBPH receives the application, you’ll begin receiving
reading material by mail in the formats of your choice, at no cost.

The LBPH is a critical link in providing library services to all North Carolinians.

Editor’s Note: Elements of this column originally appeared in the July 2002 issue of
Tar Heel Libraries, a publication of the North Carolina Library Association.