Friday, August 28th 2020, 12:51 pm

By: Brian Mueller

OKLAHOMA CITY –

An Oklahoma City metro library received a national award for their work serving the community.

The Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has been honored as the Regional Library of the Year.

One of the qualifiers that makes the library unique is a state-of-the-art digital recording studio used to narrate publications about Oklahoma or by Oklahomans.

“You walk in here and you realize right away you’re not in a normal library,” library director Kevin Treese said.

The recording studio is one of the many reasons the library earned the honor from the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

“Kind of hard to soak in really,” Treese said. “It’s awesome, very proud.”

Despite working with half of its staff due to COVID-19, the library plans to mail out 600 digital cartages per day to patrons. Each little blue container has an audio book inside.

Mail is the primary way the library delivers to their patrons. They serve roughly 5,000 people statewide.

Many are also friends.

“They call, and we talk to the same people every time,” librarian Erin Byrne said.

Some of the library’s patrons live in nursing homes or live alone, which make their services during the pandemic even more valuable.

“The people tell us all the time, let me catch my breath, how much our services mean to them and they say, ‘You’re my lifeline. You’re my lifesaver,’” Byrne said.

The library will be honored by the Library of Congress in November with a $1,000 reward and plaque in a virtual ceremony. They’ll go to Washington D.C. next year to be honored in person.


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