Organization for the Visually Impaired Recognizes National Library Week

Organization for the Visually Impaired Recognizes National Library Week

Max Rodriguez

It is National Library Week, but reading can be a daunting task for people with certain disabilities, nonetheless a non-profit organization with a campus in Rancho Mirage is inviting residents to give literature a try regardless of their abilities.

Joe Silva always traveled with a book in hand during his long travels as a truck driver.

Silva said, “I take a William W. Johnstone book and I could be in Idaho I could be in Oregon.”

Even though his job drove him all over the country, literature has been his way to explore the unknown, until his diabetes took a turn for the worse and reading was no longer an option.

Silva said, “I went blind, totally blind pretty much in 2008 and I lost my left leg to it.”

But his disabilities introduced him to a new community, he found the Braille Institute in Rancho Mirage. The institute’s Educational Programs Manager, Felice Chiapperini said, “Our goal is to empower visually impaired people to live active and fulfilling lives.”

The non-profit organization offers cooking, art and technology classes for residents who are visually impaired. They also have a library where Silva can choose from over 900,000 books.

Silva said, “When you’re totally blind pretty much like I am, and you don’t really want to go anywhere, books is what really keeps you going,”

The library is joining the 21st century by introducing a phone and tablet application that comes with all of their audio books.

The coordinator for the library, Gerardo Solano said, “The library services is available for any individual with a disability that either prohibits them from holding a book or being able to read a book.”

And having technology available locally makes a worlds of a difference for Silva and his passion for books and life.

Silva said, “The only obstacle is the one you let stand in front of you, and I am going to try to not let anything stand in front of me.”