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Friday, February 28, 2014

Pratt-Smoot Act Day

Every March 3rd here at the Department of the Blind and Physically Handicapped Library Service,we celebrate the Pratt-Smoot Act. The Pratt-Smoot Act essentially gave talking books their start for the blind.
Ray Foushee, speaker at Pratt-Smoot Day, 2013
Narrator from American Printing House
On March 3, 1931, President Hoover signed it into law “An Act to provide books for the adult blind,” also known as the “Pratt-Smoot Act” after its sponsors Representative Ruth Pratt and Senator Reed Smoot. This Act authorized an annual appropriation of $100,000 under the direction of the Librarian of Congress, for a national library service to provide books for use by adult blind residents of the United States. The Pratt-Smoot Act also permitted the Librarian of Congress to “arrange with such libraries as he may judge appropriate to serve as local or regional centers for the circulation of such books, under such conditions and regulations as he may prescribe” and to give preference at all times “to the needs of blind persons who have been honorably discharged from the United States military or naval service.” Following the passage of the Pratt-Smoot Act, the Library of Congress established the “Books for the Adult Blind” project, which began operating on July 1, 1931. Now the National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped serves anyone with a visual impairment, physical impairment, or an organic reading disability. For more information:
Pratt-Smoot Act Celebration
at the Mississippi Library Commission, 2013

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