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New library for the blind opens in Manhattan.

New library for the blind opens in Manhattan

A new library to serve the blind and visually handicapped opened last week in Manhattan. The 43,000-square-foot facility on six floor holds over 515,000 volumes in braille, large print and recorded formats.

The Andrew Heiskell Library For the Blind and Physically Handicapped was relocated from what is described by a library spokesperson as a "mail drop" on Spring Street and Sixth Avenue to this current site at the 12-story 40 West 20th Street, as a regional facility which will serve residents of New York City and Long Island.

A similar library is located in Albany. "This is a state-of-the-art facility for the blind," said Caroline Oyama, spokesperson for the New York Public Library, "so that people who have visual impairments of any kind-including such things as dyslexia-can get books off the shelf like any other library. It's user friendly."

The $16 million facility, created with monies appropriate by the state legislature in 1988, was designed with a barrier free lobby, tactile and large print signage and glare-free lighting to help impaired readers. A children's room, a spacious reading room, and a metting room equipped with amplification devices for the hearing-impaired are part of the facility as well.

The renovation was designed by Dennis Kowal Architects, with project development by Paul Segal Associates, Architects. The construction was supervised by Lehrer, McGovern, Bovis while graphic design was created by Wojciechowski Design. York and Hunter coordinated the purchase & Supervised the installation of materials.

The library, part of a regional network of libraries for the blind established by Congress in 1931 as a federal-state partnership, will continue its free mailing privileges, funded through the Library of Congress, to service users throughout the area with over 500,000 books per year.

Andrew Heiskell is a former Chairman of the Board of the New York Public Library. This library is unique in that it is party supported by city funding and is administered by The New York Public Library, A non-profit organization.
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Title Annotation:Andrew Heiskell Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 18, 1991
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