Talking Book Service Extended to Five More Years

Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL) is pleased to announce that the Oakland County Board of Commissioners pledged to continue supporting the library’s Oakland Talking Book Service (OTBS) at their meeting on February 16. The service has been renewed for five years. 

OTBS is a county-wide program open to all county residents that provides essential services to those living with a vision or physical disability. OTBS is a lifeline for those who seek efficient and equitable access to assistive technology training, digital audiobooks and eBooks, talking books on cassettes, large print materials, and braille matter. This vital program provides local services critical for seniors and other citizens in Oakland County who wish to enjoy life to the fullest.

“I am pleased we could extend this contract,” said Oakland County Commissioner Marsha Gershenson. “This program offers residents free access to talking books, magazines, Braille options, and thousands of interesting reading materials.”

In 2022, OTBS circulated over 100,000 items to nearly 1,000 patrons throughout the county. RHPL staff provided 321 adaptive technology instruction sessions for visually impaired patrons, hosted 26 programs, and served 227 patrons who attended those programs in person or remotely.

“OTBS has been a lifeline for county residents who need vision and audio support,” said Juliane Morian, library director. “Providing these services in one local library rather than spreading them out to numerous libraries across the state or relying on services in Lansing, MI stretches tax dollars and creates a greater impact for each county community.”

Oakland County is a destination for older adults to age in place with a suite of social services that positively impact their lives. OTBS at RHPL provides a number of programs, resources, and personal assistance to county residents living with a disability. Essential programs include assistive technology training, book clubs, low vision expos, on-site workshops, large print mail order service, books on digital cartridge, digital talking book machines, books in braille, described videos and DVDs, and more.

“Reading is a gift often taken for granted,” said Justin Wilcox, an OTBS patron. “Learning to read braille with my fingertips allows me to see the words again. Thank you to OTBS for giving me a valuable skill.”

RHPL hopes to sustain OTBS indefinitely as long as patrons find value in it and appreciate the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ foresight in continuing to subsidize this essential program.

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