“That All May Read” – Endowment Supports National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled; Library of Congress Mobile Apps

The official flag of the United States Library of Congress, which was founded in 1800.

“Digitization of Library’s Braille Music Scores and Instructional Materials Is the First Initiative the Gift Will Fund.” U.S. Library of Congress



The Library of Congress (LOC) announced a major endowment in support of the work of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS). Established by Susan D. Diskin in honor of her late mother, The Tiby Diskin Memorial Fund will provide resources for the Library to expand its services to individuals with visual impairments and other print disabilities.

The first initiative made possible by this gift is the digitization of the Library’s braille music scores and instructional materials – the largest collection of its kind in the world. Many of the scores in the collection are rare and fragile. Some date back to the late Nineteen Century. NLS will use the funds to develop a braille digitization tool that uses 3D laser technology.

“We are so excited to receive this generous gift from Dr. Diskin and honored by her recognition of our work,” NLS Director Karen Keninger said. “It will allow us to advance our efforts to digitize NLS’s world-class braille music collection much faster and more accurately than we had ever anticipated, a real benefit to the students, teachers, performers and music lovers who use our braille materials.”

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden added, “We are grateful to Dr. Diskin for choosing the nation’s library to honor her mother’s memory. This fund will help NLS fulfill its vision ‘That All May Read.’ “

In a letter to Hayden, Diskin, a clinical psychologist practicing in Los Angeles, wrote of her mother’s reverence for knowledge, reading and education. Because of this, Diskin selected the world’s largest repository of knowledge, the United States Library of Congress, as a fitting institution to honor her mother.

NLS administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or disability makes reading regular printed material difficult. Through its national network of libraries, NLS provides books and magazines in talking-book and braille formats and playback equipment directly to patrons at no cost. Materials are also available online for download and are accessible on smart devices through the BARD mobile app *. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, ebraille, braille and recorded formats. For more information, visit loc.gov/ThatAllMayRead or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

*Other US LOC mobile apps are:

Main reading room at the Library of Congress / Public Domain Photograph via  Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID highsm.11604.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.



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“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

CELEBRATING AMERICAN SHE-POETS (16): Victoria C. Slotto, Jacaranda Rain …

Victoria C. Slotto, the poet as captured in (c) photo by David Slotto

Plain as a needle a poem may be, or opulent as the shell of the channeled whelk, or the ace of the lily, it matters not; it is a ceremony of words, a story, a prayer, an invitation, a flow o words that reaches out and, hopefully, without being real in the way that the least incident is real, is able to stir in the reader a real response.” San Dabs, Seven from Winter Hours by Mary Oliver

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Thus begins Victoria C. Slotto’s 2012 poetry collection, Jacaranda Rain, which she dedicated to Oliver “my mentor unaware.”  Like Mary Oliver, nature is frequent inspiration for Victoria. The collection includes some fifty-five poems on nature, spirituality, death and dying, which are arranged rather charmingly in alpha order.

What haunts me,” said the dead man
to his wife whose ashes mingled with
his own, “are books I’ve never read –”
from About the Dead Man and Books

“What haunts me more,” the dead man said
for no one else to hear, “are books I never
wrote — ideas fanned to life by life …”
from More About the Dead Man and Books

Victoria certainly will have no such regrets. Since 2009 she’s been publishing her poetry on her blog  (Victoria C. Slotto, Author; Fiction, Poetry, Essays). Her original intention in starting the blog was to promote her first novel, Winter Is Pastwhich was ultimately published by Lucky Bat Books in 2011.

Victoria is however a lover of poetry and was drawn to write and published more and more poetry – Lovely! – becoming involved in poetry groups. (We met via Jingle’s poetry group for those of you who have been around as long as we have and remember that dear lady.)

Victoria eventually became involved with dVerse ~ Poets Pub, “a place for poets and writers to gather to celebrate poetry. We are many voices, but one song. Our goal is to celebrate; poets, verse & the difference it can make in the world. To discover poetry’s many facets and revel in its beauty, even when ugly at times.”  dVerse is a collaborative effort offering inspiration, encouragement and education. I highly recommend it, especially if you are just getting started online and want to make connections. Jacaranda Rain includes several poems that were part of an anthology published by dVerse (also recommended). Victoria was for a time a core-team member of The BeZine where she offered monthly prompts for poets and writers.

Victoria’s collection includes explanatory notes for some of the poems and these are engaging and not intrusive.

I dreamt
I flew among the stars
skirted between planets,
cracked open doors
to distant worlds
from Quantum Leaps in Jacaranda Rain

In all since 2009, Victoria has maintained a blog, been an inspiration to poets and a friend to many, written two novels (the second is The Sin of His Father) and a nonfiction book, Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria is a former registered nurse who worked primarily with the elderly. She writes from that experience and the more intimate experience of caring for her own mother. As her mother faced early stages of dementia, they worked together to devise practical steps to help her mom remain independent for as long as possible. Victoria offers memory prompts, health care considerations, ideas to help one find meaning in life, suggestions for preparing for the future and more in this very worthy book.

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Though I must leave you
I’ll come to you again
a shower of purple petals
on dew covered sod –
from the poem Jacaranda Rain in the collection

Victoria now has a second blog, Be Still and Know That I Am God.

© poem excerpts, book covers/art, and portrait, Victoria C. Slotto