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Principal workload, 1966
Principal workload, 1967
Circulated 119,500 volumes directly to 5,200 blind
persons through our own regional library.
1 As the need arises, additional regional libraries are established in the States. MAINTENANCE AND PROCUREMENT OF BOOKS IN EMBOSSED CHARACTERS AND TALKING BOOKS
COMPARISON OF APPROPRIATIONS SHOWING APPROXIMATE DOLLARS AND PERCENTAGE OF THE TCIL.
Mr. STEED. This request, as I read it, is almost $600,000 more than the current year. Perhaps, Doctor, if you start on page 183 and outline the needs for this increase as you go along, it would help
Dr. MUMFORD. First, I am sure the members of the committee 2. aware of the fact that this program was expanded by the enactmen: into law of provisions that the physically handicapped, in additior to the blind, might avail themselves of these services. This has led ta a considerable increase in the use of the materials. At the same time. there has been an increase in the number of blind people who are using the materials. These items are generally based upon expansics of the program which has resulted.
Now, I do not know that you wish me to speak to one, two, and three; in regard to the postage, we have the same situation that discussed with respect to other appropriations. There is more mail : the same thing follows here, that we were not paying the Post Off. as much as the traffic justifies..
Now, on the other items I can speak to them, but Mr. Bray here, is Chief of the Division for the Blind and Physically Handicapre could elaborate on the individual items.
Mr. STEED. Mr. Bray.
Mr. BRAY. The principal increases, Mr. Chairman, are in the are of books, as indicated on page 186. Of our talking books on phoe
graph disks, we hope to offer an additional 50 titles this year and three additional recorded magazines. This would bring our annual offering to a library of only 600 titles for the entire year for 140,000 readers, who vary in age from 5 years to 100, literally, and would raise the total of our magazines to 20, which is a very small crosssection of the total number of periodicals published each year..
By way of background, Mr. Chairman, it might be helpful to point out that this year, as last year, 89 percent of our budget goes for materials, books, in braille or records, and book-related materials, such as the bimonthly magazine that goes to blind people, and the phonographs. As I mentioned, our principal increases are in the areas of things for people to read. Our personnel increases are five positions. I would be happy to answer any specific questions, Mr. Chairman.
UNUSED FUNDS AVAILABLE Mr. STEED. I think you show that in connection with the pay act supplemental, you would have some unused funds in the current appropriation in this item. How did that come about?
Mr. RossITER. We understood that one of their new activities, the tape casette machines, would have a minor engineering problem and would not be implemented this year. So we used about $122,000 to meet the pay increases in the Blind Division, plus other pay increases in the Library, as I mentioned, under the transfer ability authorization.
Mr. STEED. Will this new facility be available during 1969 ?
NEW INNOVATIONS AVAILABLE FOR USE Mr. STEED. Are there any other new innovations in this field ? We have gone into a great many of them in past years, but there is apparently an improvement in both the quality and quantity and types of materials available to the blind and handicapped. Have you any new developments that are with us now that you did not have heretofore!
Mr. BRAY. It is a terrible temptation not to talk, Mr. Chairman. Among my colleagues I have a reputation of talking too much. I believe perhaps the most noteworthy new item to mention is the upcoming production of talking book machines. The bids are out for the second section of the 1968 production of phonographs. Recognizing that we have many kinds of handicaps that we are working with now, we are going to have a phonograph which will have certain modifications. It can, for example, be turned off by remote control by very severely handicapped people who cannot sit next to a phonograph and turn it on or off like an otherwise healthy blind person can.
We will have in some models a method of speeding up the reading or slowing it down. Many blind people have asked us over the years if we could speed up the reading a little bit. Many have said it takes too long to listen. Our engineer, who is a new man onboard incidentally, has uncovered a little device that will go into the machine. In sum, Mr. Chairman, the phonograph is diversifying, as it were. The tape Casette industry has matured and taken on certain aspects of uniformity since we last met, which is going to assist us. In the field of braille,
within a couple of months, mindful of our computer colleagues, we are going to program a computer to utilize the tape that is used to print a book, get a second generation tape and produce braille from the type-compositor's tape. This should open the world of braille books considerably.
I think the third thing that I will mention, and then I will cease. is the leadership which has been shown in this type of library service, as a result of which the book trade has gone into the production of books in large print for the open market. These are books of about 18-point type. Visually handicapped people who can see a little bit or who need larger type can obtain books in this form. I mention that for the record, Mr. Chairman, because in dealing with handicapped people, blind or visually handicapped, you have only three forms of reading. One is through touch, braille; the second is through listening to records; the third is in the use of books in larger than ordinary type. You will notice in our book offerings we do not hare books in large print. This is because the industry, which has always been very cooperative in the sound-recording business, got even more cooperative and went into the large print business and found it productive, so we do not have to provide that kind of reading.
In the braille field, just to illustrate perhaps by way of public relations, or adjustment, or the bridging of the gap between the handicapped person and the so-called normal person, the publisher of Horizon magazine put his designers to work and made a special cover for the braille issue. We feel that there is a great deal to gain by this cooperation in the acceptance of braille, say, in the family or in the community setting. I know that heretofore you have seen braille books always covered in brown wrapping paper. I mention this improved, attractive cover as an innovation of the type that I think you are interested in, because it shows that private industry is more and more aware of the reading needs of the handicapped and works with us more and more.
As I say, Mr. Chairman, I had better stop because I can think of a whole lot of other things that will take 2 or 3 hours.
Mr. STEED. Mr. Andrews ?
USE OF PHONOGRAPHS Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. How many of these phonographs do you have?
Mr. BRAY. About 130,000 are in use in the field.
Mr. BRAY. We have known them to last as long as 20 years, bu: after 10 years, being a $35 instrument in the first place, their value has long since been amortized, and the frequency with which they then need repair is such that in our total planning we replace machines that are 10 or 11 years old or more.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. But you do the maintenance work on them? That is, it is done through the Telephone Pioneers ni America ?
Mr. BRAY. Yes, on a volunteer basis.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. These machines are available to anyone who is handicapped and makes a request ?
Mr. BRAY. Anyone who is blind or physically handicapped to the extent that he cannot read in the regular fashion. The mere fact of being handicapped does not qualify him. He has to be handicapped in a way that prevents reading. For example, a man without legs is not qualified, but obviously a man without arms is because he cannot handle a book.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. These 130,000 machines that you have, how close is that to saturating the market, so to speak?
Mr. BRAY. Those are the ones in use. Then we have some in production and we are requesting some more. If we pick up users at the rate we have in the last year, we will need this new production. To use your terminology, we are just about keeping up with the market. In fact, for the first time in several years, with the eligibility of other handicapped people, we do have enough machines so that we can fill the requests that we now have for machines and we have a margin for demonstration use in the schools for the blind, by fieldworkers, by registered nurses, and so forth.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. What is a ball park figure as to the number of Americans that would be qualified to request such a machine?
Mr. BRAY. It is a big ball park. I have heard estimates from 2 million to 5 million. This is not a matter of Census, however.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. In other words, you barely scratch the surface now?
Mr. BRAY. That is correct. Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. Under the law, of course, if these people contact you they should be and will be supplied with the machine?
Mr. BRAY. We provide service as quickly as we get certification of need. It is a simple statement by a doctor or someone competent, that this person is eligible and that he wants the service.
Dr. MUMFORD. I think it should be pointed out, Mr. Andrews, however, that it is unlikely that all of the blind or physically handicapped would ever request such service. Over the period of years the service has been rendered to the blind, out of an estimated 450,000 blind people, we have been serving in recent years about 100,000 to 120,000. Perhaps we may expect somewhat the same ratio in regard to people otherwise physically handicapped. The situation is similar to the case of sighted people. Not all of them use the public library in order to borrow books. The average public library may not have more than 30 or 35 percent of the population who have cards and are eligible to borrow books.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. Do you provide these machines free to everyone who requests them?
Dr. MUMFORD. Yes.
Mr. ANDREWS of North Dakota. You have no means test as far as hat goes?
Dr. MUMFORD. No, sir.