Library of Congress Talking-Book Program Receives APEX Award for Publication Excellence

The 20-page booklet "Talking Rooms: Walking Through History at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Headquarters" has received an APEX 2010 Award of Excellence in the One-of-a-Kind Government Publication category.

"Talking Rooms" portrays the history of library service to blind and physically handicapped individuals by taking readers on a tour of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the fourth APEX Award that NLS has received since 2006.

The publication highlights the program's development from the use of phonographs to the recently released digital talking-book players. It features photographs of prominent contributors to the field, such as inventor Thomas Edison, activist Helen Keller and the architects of the 1931 law that underpins the free library service program, U.S. Rep. Ruth Pratt and U.S. Sen. Reed Smoot.

Erica Vaughns, author of "Talking Rooms" and executive assistant to the National Library Service director, was delighted to learn of the award. "Although technology changes, the human desire and need to read do not," Vaughns said. "I found it fascinating that NLS has continually adapted the use of advanced technologies to ensure that blind and physically handicapped people have the same access to reading materials as their sighted counterparts.

"I wanted to share the NLS technological evolution from records to cassettes to flash memory and to provide some information about the people who helped improve the quality of life for so many."

"NLS is honored to have its work recognized by this national organization of publications experts," NLS Director Kurt Cylke said.

The APEX Awards, a 22-year program, are given by Communications Concepts, Inc. The awards are selected for "excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success--in the opinion of the judges--in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence." The 2010 Awards for Publication Excellence drew 3,700 entries; 1,132 Awards of Excellence were presented in 127 categories and 100 Grand Awards were presented honoring outstanding work in 11 categories. For more information on the awards, visit

NLS serves residents of the United States and eligible U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use regular-print materials because of visual or physical handicaps. For more information about NLS, visit .

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 145 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at Many of the Library's rich resources and treasures may also be accessed via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

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