2015 marks the 10th year of the Indiana Vision Expo, sponsored by the Indiana State Library Foundation and organized by the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. Founded in 2006 by former Talking Book librarian Carole Rose, Vision Expo was designed to connect interested consumers with the resources available to support and promote independent living for individuals experiencing vision loss. The Expo has expanded from 15 vendors in its first year to over 30 in 2014. These vendors exhibit and sell a variety of products from screen-reading software and magnifiers to games and kitchen gadgets. Also participating are advocacy groups including the American Council for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Blinded Veterans Association. Civic organizations including the Indianapolis Public Library and the Marion County Election Board provide information about services they offer to the blind and visually impaired community. Locally based Bosma Enterprises, which provides employment training and rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired, has always had a strong presence at the Expo.
The Expo also features presentations on topics relevant to the blind and visually impaired community. This year’s keynote speaker is Indiana Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year finalist Kathy Nimmer, an English teacher at Harrison High School in West Lafayette and longtime Talking Book patron. Her book, Two Plus Four Equals One: Celebrating the Partnership of People with Disabilities and Their Assistance Dogs, is available in digital audio format to Talking Book patrons. Dr. Richard and Dr. Laura Windsor of the Low Vision Centers of Indiana will also be speaking about the latest advancements in the treatment of eye diseases. The Low Vision Centers are also prominent vendors.
Because almost all patron interactions with the Talking Book and Braille Library occur over the phone, Vision Expo provides a rare opportunity for Talking Book patrons to meet the reader advisors and librarians they have spoken to many times. The pleasure is mutual for the staff.
As Vision Expo heads into its second decade, we aim to have it continue to serve the needs of Indiana’s blind and visually impaired population. For more information, visit http://indianavisionexpo.library.in.gov/.
This blog post was written by Laura Williams, Talking Book & Braille Library Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317)232-3684 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.