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RE: Reading Restrictions on the NLS Digital Download Project

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RE: Reading Restrictions on the NLS Digital Download Project

WHEREAS, in October 2006 the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress (NLS) began to provide an alternative way for borrowers to access its collection by allowing some patrons to download books and magazines over the Internet; and

WHEREAS, the NLS Website already contains over 10,000 books and more than a dozen periodicals for patrons to download, and NLS plans to add additional materials each month to the Website for downloading; and

WHEREAS, for the first time in history blind people have almost instantaneous access to a collection of books without having to wait for delivery from our regional libraries, and we can collect books and periodicals for our individual libraries; and

WHEREAS, this digital download project not only will enhance the reading experience for blind people, but will also promote literacy and provide greater equality with our sighted peers today and for many years to come; and

WHEREAS, the NLS policy of permitting patrons to download only thirty books or periodicals in a thirty-day period is contrary to the purpose of the program, which is to offer greater access to the collection by patrons; and

WHEREAS,, a private nonprofit organization that runs a digital download book project, offers over 38,000 books and 150 periodicals, allows its subscribers to download as many as 100 books per month, and also makes provision for subscribers to exceed this limit, thereby demonstrating that greater access to books can be provided; and

WHEREAS, NLS plans to open the digital download project to all of its patrons who have the necessary equipment by the end of 2008: NOW, THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind, in Convention assembled this fifth day of July, 2008, in the city of Dallas, Texas, that this organization commend NLS for its creativity and forward thinking as demonstrated by the development of the digital download project; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon NLS to eliminate the restriction on the number of books and periodicals that patrons can download each month when the pilot project becomes available to all patrons, in order to fulfill the real promise of access that is made possible by today’s advanced digital technology.

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