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Blind patrons sue Philadelphia Free Library over Nook e-Readers
With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible. The Free Library of Philadelphia has instituted and announced plans to expand a program in which free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are manufactured and sold by Barnes & Noble, are loaned to patrons over the age of fifty. Unlike some other portable e-readers that use text-to-speech technology and/or Braille to allow blind people to read e-books, the NOOK devices are completely inaccessible to patrons who are blind. The library’s conduct violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).