School for the blind offers audio readers

Close your eyes and get a glimpse of what life would be like without sight.{} It would present challenges, such as reading. The Alabama School for the Blind now offers a way to make reading easier, for anyone with a visual or physical disability.

"I like reading a lot, since I use the service as much as I do now. I read tons of books. I read probably 15 to 20 books a year," says Ben Payne, who has been legally blind since birth.

Though Payne can barely see. His favorite hobby is reading."I can retain just as well listening to an audio book as I can reading a print book," says Payne.Through the Alabama School for the Blind, Payne has access to more than 75,000 books from all genres.

Teresa Lacy, director of the school's library says "Free Matter for the Blind" provides the audio booksto patrons free of charge.

"It's basically a free public library for people who have reading disabilities," says Lacy. "The books are mailed out right to their door, and when they're done they can just send it right back."Unlike traditional books on tape, the electronic readers play digital cartridges.

A listener can pop in the cartridge, adjust the speed and tone to their liking, and listen to multiple cartridges without losing your spot or having to change tracks. The books are available for audio download through the National Library for the Blind website. For more information on how to apply, you can contact the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind at 1-800-392-5671.