Teachers email assignments to them, and volunteers use computer software to translate everything into braille. Once the finished product is returned to the teacher, it’s reproduced at the school on a special printer. Many assignments are translated the same day, but others can take much longer, like a language arts book for a fifth-grader that required more than 550 hours of volunteer work.
“Our goal is to make the lives of our teachers easier,” says Cheryl Orgas, ABLE’s executive director and a user of the organization’s services since childhood. “Teachers teach differently now. There’s so much at their fingertips to use, and there are so many materials coming in at the last minute.”
MPS isn’t ABLE’s only client, just its largest, and now a new ABLE recording studio at the Central Library is getting calls from libraries as far away as Los Angeles looking for translations. “It’s very rewarding work,” says audio specialist Richard Robbins, who oversees the studio’s dual soundproof rooms and editing equipment. “There are two patrons: the people who want the books, and the volunteers. And we love them both. It’s just that simple.”