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G2S Project Code: 2016-CT-76928
State: Connecticut
Fiscal Year: 2016
Connecticut State Library

Project Director
Director Name: Gordon Reddick
Director Phone: 860-721-2021
Director Email:
General Information
Title: Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
State Project Code:
Start Date: 10/01/2015
End Date: 09/30/2017
Abstract: The Connecticut State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) provides for the special format reading and information needs of Connecticut residents who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or reading disabled.
The LBPH allows users with disabilities to maintain equal access to print information. The library lends to individual patrons as well as to libraries, schools, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. This year, there were 5,339 active patrons with 576 new patrons added to the rolls. The net number of patrons has remained stable from previous years.

The LBPH provides reader's advisory and reference services in addition to lending its collection of Braille books and magazines, digital cartridges, and playback machines to qualifying individuals and organizations in Connecticut. Patrons can also access the NLS inventory online and download audio and Braille books directly from the internet. All services are free, including playback machines and postage, and eligible veterans receive priority service.

State Goal: Literacies and learning
Budget Information
Improve users’ ability to obtain and/or use information resources.
Arts, Culture & Humanities
Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)
Activity Details
Title: Circulation and Reader Advisory
Narrative: LBPH staff duties include patron assistance, reader advisory, circulation duties, processing newly acquired digital books, collection maintenance, inventory control of playback machines, and interlibrary loan. LBPH staff administer patron accounts for the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) system and assist patrons with the process of downloading books.

This year, the library added 3,577 new digital book titles.
The LBPH book duplication program produced over 350 books for patrons. Multiple-title digital cartridges are being produced, where about 10 books can be duplicated onto one cartridge. These cartridges will be able to hold entire book series or multiple books by the same author or on the same subject.

The staff promotes public awareness of the library's services through exhibits, presentations, tours (e.g., church disabilities committees, senior expos, state conventions, etc) and publications. Additionally, extensive efforts were made to contact all the nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities in the state to promote the program.

Intent: Improve users’ ability to obtain and/or use information resources.

Activity: Content
Mode: Lending
Format: Combined physical & digital

Total number of items circulated: 162,348
Average number of items circulated / month: 13,529
Total number of ILL transactions: 300
Average number of ILL transactions / month: 25

Partner Information
Organization Type of Partner Organization(s):
Libraries: No
Historical Societies or Organizations: No
Museums: No
Archives: No
Cultural Heritage Organization Multi-type: No
Preschools: No
Schools: No
Adult Education: No
Human Service Organizations: No
Other: No

Legal Type of Partner Organization(s):
Federal Government: No
State Government: No
Local Government (excluding school districts): No
School District: No
Non-Profit: No
Private Sector: No
Tribe/Native Hawaiian Organization: No

Is the activity directed at the library workforce: No
For a targeted group or for the general population: Targeted
Geographic community of the targeted group: Urban
For what age groups: All Ages
For what economic types: Economic Not Applicable
For what ethnicity types: Ethnicity Not Applicable
Is the activity directed at families: No
Is the activity directed at intergenerational groups: No
Is the activity directed at immigrants/refugees: No
Is the activity directed at those with disabilities: Yes
Limited functional literacy or informational skills: No
Is the activity category not already captured: No

Is the activity state-wide: Yes
Specific Locations: No
Library Types
Public Libraries: 52
Academic Libraries: 0
Consortia: 0
Special Libraries: 7
School Libraries: 7
Other: 92
Project Outcomes
Project Outcomes
List any important outcomes or findings not previously reported:
In the latest patron survey in July 2017, 188 responses were received out of 780 patrons surveyed. Results showed that 99% of responding patrons rate the LBPH service as very good or excellent, with 80% of the patrons stating that they receive excellent service. Additional results: 85% said they always or mostly receive the assistance they need. 92% strongly agree or agree that the staff is knowledgeable, courteous and professional. 96% strongly agree or agree that the LBPH improves the quality of their lives (LSTA goal is 75%). 94% strongly agree or agree that the LBPH gives them access to library materials that they otherwise couldn't get. 93% strongly agree or agree that the LBPH provides them with the recreational reading that they need. 95% strongly agree or agree that the LBPH makes it easier for them to continue reading. 87% strongly agree or agree that the LBPH supports their lifelong growth in education, skill development, and knowledge. Total circulation of 162,348 items consists of 4,535 Braille, 134,929 digital books, 1,191 cassette books, 21,693 audio books downloaded from BARD, 11,349 playback machines in total inventory, 8,422 playback machines assigned to patrons (many of more than one). The use of mobile devices continues to grow with 165 new patrons using the BARD mobile app – a 15 patron decrease from the prior year. Circulation per patron fell slightly to 30.4 books per patron, down from 32.8 books in the prior year. The removal of all of the obsolete cassette books adversely affected total circulation as the number of digital books circulated remained stable. The loss of two LSTA-funded staff positions in 2016 has also negatively affected circulation in two significant ways. First, one of the positions was the primary person for outreach activities as well as incorporating new book records into the system. Second, the second position was a reader advisor who assisted patrons in ordering books. Consequently, the quantity of outreach events has fallen and fewer books are being ordered.
Please briefly describe the importance of these outcomes and findings for future program planning:
The essence of the LBPH mission is to improve the lives of patrons by making accessible a wide range of reading materials which would not otherwise be available. According to the statistics and to the patron survey replies, the LBPH is successful in achieving this mission. These outcomes also point out areas where stronger efforts should be made, in particular with outreach. There has been a small decline in readership of late which calls for an increased emphasis on recruiting new patrons. These outcomes also support the LBPH's migration to a web-based library circulation software system to prepare the LBPH for further advances in cloud-based technology. As the future unfolds, patrons will have expanded and more efficient services leading to much greater access to reading materials and ease of use.
Explain one or two of the most significant lessons learned for others wanting to adopt any facets of this project:
1. Employ the advances in modern technology to provide much improved services to patrons, in particular going to a web based circulation/inventory control/book delivery system. 2. Maintain a strong customer service attitude to ensure that the library provides all patrons with the materials they want in a timely manner, and to promptly respond to patron inquiries.
Do you anticipate continuing this project after the current reporting period ends:
Do you anticipate any change in level of effort in managing this project:
The LBPH's Federal program manager, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), has begun a long term project of transforming the service to a web-based system which will result in state-of-the-art book production and circulation methods. Included are projects to develop wireless delivery of books, mass duplication of books with multiple titles on a single digital cartridge, and in-the-cloud collection management. To enable the LBPH to take advantage of these technological upgrades, the LBPH is in the process of migrating to a new web-based circulation and machine automated software system. This new system will have the latest in technology advances produced by the NLS and thus will create a solid foundation for future developments. Also, the use of electronic downloads is expanding and will eventually become the main form of book delivery, including Braille. Refreshable Braille readers are under development which will allow a patron to download an electronic file and convert it to a device that permits tactile reading.
Do you anticipate changing the types of activities and objectives addressed by the project:

Was an evaluation conducted for this project:
Was a final written evaluation report produced:
Can the final written evaluation report be shared publicly on the IMLS website:
Was the evaluation conducted by project staff (either SLAA or local library) or by a third-party evaluator:
Project Staff
What data collection tools were used for any report outcomes and outputs:
Review Surveys
Did you collect any media for the data:
What types of methods were used to analyze collected data:
Statistical Methods
How were participants (or items) selected:
Targeted Sample – We selected based on a desired characteristic, e.g. age.
What type of research design did you use to compare the value for any reported output or outcome:
No comparison for any reported output or outcome: Results of the July 2017 survey can be compared with results from prior surveys, but they were not analyzed at this time.
Exemplary: No
Exemplary Narrative
Project Tags: LBPH, Talking Books