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Audio books help the visually impaired feel less isolated during the pandemic

The Talking Book Center is a non-profit, located inside the Staunton Public Library, and has 16,000 audio books on hand, as well as digital access to about 130,000 more
The Talking Book Center in Staunton, offers audio books to those who are visually impaired.
The Talking Book Center in Staunton, offers audio books to those who are visually impaired.(WHSV)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 12:58 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — For some, picking up a book and reading is an easy way to pass time especially while quarantined during the pandemic. But that’s not the case for those who have a hard time seeing.

Ilia Desjardins, Supervisor of the Talking Book Center in Staunton, says audio books have been helping those who are visually impaired feel less isolated during these tough times.

“A lot of them are not able to watch TV or don’t have access to tablets or internet, so they’re not binge-watching TV shows like we are, so they’re able to utilize the audio books,” Desjardins said.

The Talking Book Center is a non-profit, located inside the Staunton Public Library, and has 16,000 audio books on hand, as well as digital access to about 130,000 more.

Desjardins says the audio books are recorded with a real person’s voice, which some of the Center’s patrons say helps them feel less alone. And while many businesses have closed during the pandemic, the Center remained open, as the free service operates by mail.

“A patron would get this audio book. They would open it up, pop this in their machine it’s a little USB cartridge.” Desjardins said. “And we provide the machines, the books, everything is free and they can just cycle through all the books that we have.”

When returning the audio books and equipment, shipping is free as well.

The Talking Book Center has books of every genre and even has a variety of languages available, and Desjardins says if you don’t have a specific book in mind but know what genre you’re into they can pick out one for you.

For more information on the Talking Book Center, visit https://www.ci.staunton.va.us/departments/library/talking-book-center.

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