Illinois Launches New Online Info/Reference Service for the Visually Impaired

Lori Bell writes: "Under the leadership of the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center and the Southern Illinois Talking Book Center are pleased to announce the opening of InfoEyes on November 3, an online information community and virtual reference service for the visually impaired.

"Talking book readers, other visually impaired individuals, and librarians are invited to use the trial service. Through the service, library customers can get assistance using the Internet, finding information on the Internet and in periodical databases and reader advisory service. Librarians will be using OCLC Question Point Enhanced software to provide services which include voice over IP, co-browsing, and application sharing. The trial will run through July 30, 2004. It is hoped that more libraries in other states serving the visually impaired will join Illinois in providing these services. Customers will be asked to evaluate the service and resources to help librarians in developing the service. Hours of service are posted on the web page and it is hoped that as more libraries join the service that hours can be extended. If customers want service outside of those hours, they can schedule an appointment or a reference session.

As the project develops, more information will be posted on the website. Tom Peters of TAP Information Services is the project evaluator and will write an evaluation of the project which will be made available when the project ends. If you have questions on the service, please contact Lori Bell ([email protected]) of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center or Diana Brawley Sussman ([email protected]) of the Southern Illinois Talking Book Center.


Perfect example of how the library system continues to service all members of the public. Let's hope there's plenty of participation on both sides with this, and that the national news media picks up on it.