Reading service celebrates 30 years - FW Daily News: Latest

Reading service celebrates 30 years

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Posted: Friday, May 15, 2009 12:00 am

As part of the 30th anniversary celebration for the Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service (NEIRRS), volunteers will attend a special luncheon in their honor and a private showing of a newly released movie in the library’s theater  at noon on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. The 162 volunteers, who collectively donated nearly 7,000 hours last year, will also receive certificates in appreciation of their work, which provides audio access to printed information for people with reading...

As part of the 30th anniversary celebration for the Northeast Indiana Radio Reading Service (NEIRRS), volunteers will attend a special luncheon in their honor and a private showing of a newly released movie in the library’s theater  at noon on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. The 162 volunteers, who collectively donated nearly 7,000 hours last year, will also receive certificates in appreciation of their work, which provides audio access to printed information for people with reading challenges.

In northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, thousands of people with visual, physical, learning, or language challenges are able to tune in 24 hours a day, seven days a week to listen as volunteers read over a dozen newspapers, 30 magazines, grocery ads, obituaries, short stories, public service announcements and more. Listeners range in age from 22 to 104 and come from all walks of life. Many hear the free NEIRRS broadcast using a special SCA radio receiver loaned to them at no charge. Others listen by way of in-house television channels at select facilities which receive the audio broadcast over the internet.  And still others subscribe to podcasts.

NEIRRS is a real gift of independence and connection to community for people who have given up reading their newspaper and favorite magazines because it’s too difficult to see the words or turn the pages. NEIRRS Manager, Lisa Bordner says, “We’re here and the service is free because of the tremendous support we receive from the library and local donations. It’s possible because our volunteers give their time, their vision, and their voices to make it happen - everyday.”

NEIRRS signed on for the first time at 2:00 p.m. May 14, 1979 with volunteers John White and Dale H. reading the News-Sentinel.  For the first few months NEIRRS broadcast two hours a day at IPFW’s radio station (WIPU) located at Kettler Hall. Then, on July 30, 1979 at 3:00 p.m., NEIRRS began broadcasting from its own studio at the library’s Little Turtle branch – signing on as a sub-channel of WBCL – and has been broadcasting ever since.  In 2004 NEIRRS became part of the Allen County Public Library.

NEIRRS Founder, Steven Fortriede recently retired as Associate Director of the Allen County Public Library after 40 years of service.  He remembers those early days fondly and acknowledged its long history; “It says a lot about the service and how much it’s needed and valued that it’s still around and growing after 30 years.” 

 

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