AFB to Close its Audio Production Division in October 2009
New York (November 17, 2008)—After 75 years of participating in the National Library Service (NLS) Talking Book Program, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is closing its audio book division in October 2009 with the expiration of AFB's New York headquarters' lease. Fans of talking books will continue to have access to high quality audio books from the many other accomplished audio book producers participating in the NLS program, as well as through increasingly popular, accessible, and affordable commercially produced books and internet downloads.
Since pioneering the development of recorded books in the 1930s, AFB has produced tens of thousands of Talking Books for the Library of Congress—a program championed by Helen Keller during her tenure at AFB. AFB expects to continue producing audio material for NLS and our other customers until AFB leaves its present facility.
"As a Talking Book user myself, I take enormous pride in the role AFB has played in providing high-quality audio books to people who are blind or visually impaired," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB President & CEO. "While we are saddened to be exiting the Talking Book business, we are confident that other audio book producers have sufficient studio production capacity to handle NLS requirements and that blind and visually impaired consumers will continue to have access to audio material through the NLS program and other avenues."
AFB's decision to exit the Talking Book program was based on a number of factors, including the financial costs that AFB incurs by participating in the government-funded NLS program and the need to apply donor funds to those programs that AFB is in a unique position to deliver.
"AFB is proud to have produced so many amazing audio books, and we owe a huge thank you to AFB's audio book production staff and to the actors and narrators whose much-loved voices have created wonderful and enduring recordings," added Augusto.
# # #
The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org