Blind with Vision

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown DC is more than the cornucopia of book stacks it appears to be from the street. Within its glass walls its librarians in various departments labor tirelessly creating programs for multitudes of patrons. Chris is one such librarian. He works with adaptive services teaching the blind how to use computers. This past year a group of students from his advanced class decided to go one step further. Every month or so they meet as a book club and pick a book that doesn’t have a Wikipedia article yet, listen to it, then return and, using the software Chris teaches them how to use, write an article as a group.

It is an amazing privilege to watch them at work. All of them are older folks and have varying amounts of experience with computers but they all take turns typing sentences, navigating the keyboards, counting keys from left to right to find the right letter and clicking it before searching for the next. Everyone participates in the process of writing and brainstorming content and, in the end, what they create is a new Wikipedia entry, expanding the horizon of shared information just that much further.

Their most recent article is about the book Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper and their next project is Outwitting Trolls. To put it in the words of an attendee, “We may get loud and rambunctious, but we pull through. We always pull through.”

Lisa Marrs, Outreach & Program Coordination, Wikimedia DC

Copyright notes: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. by David Monack, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license from Wikimedia Commons.

Leave a Reply