Special Request from Library Users

Library Users of America requests that all people who paid their LUA dues at the convention in Birmingham last July call Sharon Lovering, editor of "The Braille Forum," with your name, address, and telephone number. Sharon can be reached at the ACB office, 1-800-424-8666 or (202) 467-5081. These individuals will not need to pay dues for 2005.

What Is It? And What Do They Do?

(Editor's Note: Nola McKinney may be reached at (870) 356-5344.)

When you pick up the program at the national convention and scan all the many affiliates, it's sometimes difficult to remember just what all that alphabet soup means. What do all those initials stand for, and just what on earth do they all do? Well, I can't speak for all of our affiliates, but I can tell you about one of the newest ones, AAVL.

I am Nola McKinney, newly elected president of AAVL. Oh, I know, many of you think of me as the chair of the awards committee, and that's true, but as president of AAVL I wear another hat.

AAVL stands for the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss. Most of our members are people who are over 50. All of them are visually impaired; some also have a hearing impairment. Some have been visually impaired all their lives; others have lost their sight to macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts or diabetes. We have discovered that the number of Americans diagnosed as legally blind is growing rapidly.

We not only hope we can help those members who have been blind a long time and are also experiencing the aging process of hearing loss and arthritis, but the many folks out there who are trying to adjust to losing sight as aging adults. We feel they can gain so very much from those of us who have experienced vision loss and know the tricks of the trade. Whether it's telling them about talking books, free directory assistance, or how to mark the stove or microwave, we can help them adjust to losing sight.

Just in the short time that I have been president I have talked to older individuals all over the United States on the phone. Due to our ACB PSAs, the national office in Washington receives many calls from older folks losing sight and looking for help. Barbara Vodapivc, formerly of the ACB national office, has referred those calls to me. I have called all of those individuals, talked to them, and more importantly, listened to them and tried to help. In some cases I have referred them to their state rehabilitation office, and in all cases to the state president. I also get their addresses and send them brochures and applications for AAVL. In every case I wish I could do more.

I am asking all of you to reach out and try to help these newly visually impaired older people, because they do need to know there are others experiencing the same thing they are going through. In many cases just talking to someone else who has the same problems you do makes these individuals feel better. We can share so much of what we have learned in living with vision loss with older people. So share the vision, and send us the older Americans who need our help.

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