Youth @ BTBL

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Welcome! This is a resource for youth to view news pertaining directly to them. Review book lists, read news stories, learn about scholarships, and more. 

On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! - BTBL Summer Reading ProgramVarious sports equipment and three books in a pile.

Posted 5/3/2016

Registration is now open for the BTBL 2016 Summer Reading Program. The theme this year is Wellness, Fitness, Sports. The program runs from July 11- August 19 and is open to patrons 0-18 years old. As always, the program is done completely through the mail so kids all across Michigan can participate. Contact Youth Librarian, Stephanie Wambaugh, at 800-992-9012 or to register today!

Also, please save the date for our first ever Summer Reading Event to be held on Thursday, August 18th, 2016 from 1-3pm in the BTBL lobby. Patrons of all ages are welcomed to bring family and friends to this Sports themed event! More details to follow.

VI Sports Day

Posted 5/3/2016

16th Annual Visually Impaired Sports Day will be held on June 11, 2016 at Wealthy Elementary School, 1961 Lake Drive in East Grand Rapids from 8:30 to 2 PM.  To register online, go to  For more information, contact Dr. Droste at or call 616-957-0866.

FREE Seedlings Braille Books for Teachers

Posted 4/18/2016

Seedlings Braille Books for Children is offering $100 worth of free books to each of 100 Certified Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments in Michigan thanks to a grant from the Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund!  April 30 is the deadline for all orders. Order online at or call 800-777-8552. Use APR16 as your Purchase Order number and you will not be charged for these free books.

Transitional Age Youth Programs

Posted 4/18/2016

World Services for the Blind continues to expand its services to include young people who are blind or visually impaired. Current programs include College Prep, ACT Prep and the Essential Workplace Skills Series. For more information or to begin the application process, please contact Rebecca Reid, director of recruiting and retention, at or call 800-248-0734.

Paths to Technology

Posted 3/31/2016

Perkins School for the Blind announced the Paths to Technology website designed to assist educators and families in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology for students with visual impairments and blindness. This website has a student page where kids can get involved. Join the conversation by visiting the website!

SENSEsational Alphabet book available through Seedlings!

Posted 3/31/2016

These interactive ABC picture books allow blind and sighted family members to learn the alphabet and beginning words in sign language and uncontracted braille together! The book incorporates visual stimuli, movement, touch, smell and sound. To order a book or check out other promotions through Seedlings, visit their website at

Resources for College Bound Students

Posted 2/9/2016, updated 3/4/2016

Helpful resources for soon-to-be college students:

Americans with Disabilities Act:

National Federation of the Blind:

Organizations with Scholarship Opportunities:

American Council of the Blind (ACB) 
American Foundation for the Blind 
Learning Ally
Lighthouse Guild
National Federation of the Blind

NFB EQ: Embrace your Engineering Quotient Summer Program

Posted 2/9/2015

Are you interested or know someone who might be interested in pursuing work in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) after high school? Do you enjoy investing your talent and energy in solving real-world problems? Join the National Federation of the Blind for NFB EQ, a FREE week-long engineering program for blind and low-vision high school students. To learn more and to apply, visit

Leader Dogs for the Blind 2016 Summer Experience Camp

Posted 2/5/2016

Summer Experience Camp is for boys and girls ages 16 and 17 who are legally blind. The program is completely free and everyone receives a free HumanWare Trekker Breeze+ audible pedestrian GPS device to keep. Summer Experience Camp is scheduled for June 25—July 2, 2016. Applications are due by April 1, 2016.

For more information and to download an application, go to the Leader Dogs website or call the Leader Dogs for the Blind client services department at 888-777-5332.

Blindfold Games - Audio Games for the Blind Community

Posted 1/21/2016

Almost every game in the App Store is a video game – you watch the screen and press buttons. In contrast, Blindfold Games are audio based games that people can download to their phones. Blindfold Racer is one example– you play by listening to the road, and hold your iPhone like a steering wheel. And you hear music in your ears. Turn the phone to the right, you go right. Rotate to the left, you go left. It is a multi-level game: each time you complete a level – a track – you move to the next, slightly harder level. Blind people complete first 5 levels fairly quickly, and like to play the game for hours. Sighted people have a much harder time – most need to close their eyes while playing. Download Blindfold Racer from the App Store or visit to download any of the games for free.

Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind's NEW SUMMER CAMP PLAN

Posted 1/15/2016

OUB is changing the way Summer Camp is run. A registration fee of $25 per family is the only fee required.  OUB is not charging a tuition fee for camps, making OUB camps almost FREE. Only 6 campers will be accepted at each camp on a first-come, first-served basis.  This ensures your child gets the VERY BEST OUB has to offer!  To reserve your child’s spot, you must send in your $25 non-refundable registration fee with your camp registration form, available in January online at

Family Adventure Day at Camp Tuhsmeheta

Posted 1/15/2016

Registration is still open for the January 30, 2016 Family Adventure Day at Camp Tuhsmeheta.  All the information can be found at the following link: It promises to be a great day to warm up with friends and family! Sign up today!

Seedlings Braille Book Angel Program

Posted 1/15/2016

Every blind or visually impaired child (ages 0-21) in the U.S. and Canada may now get 3 FREE books from Seedlings Braille Books for Children!  Just register your child or student by going to

Beyond Batty: A weekend for friends and family!

Posted 10/13/2015

Beyond Batty begins with a Pumpkin Patch Party for friends and family October 23-25th, 2015. After selecting pumpkins near Camp Tuhsmeheta, participants will carve and carefully cut character creations. There will be many additional activities, including exploring bat behavior by walking in the woods. For more information or to register contact Donna Posont: 313-220-8140 or

Letters About Literature 2016

Posted 10/6/2015

The Library of Michigan is announcing the 2016 Letters About Literature program. They are the Michigan host for this national program from the Library of Congress. It is a reading-writing contest that invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors of books that have changed their lives. This program gives students the opportunity to reflect deeply on a book.


Participants in grades 9-12 have a deadline of December 4, 2015.

Participants in grades 4-8 have a deadline of January 11, 2016.

The state and national winners will be announced in May 2016. You can find more information about the national program at and the Michigan program at

NASA Student Intern Opportunities

Posted 9/17/2015

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through their regular internship programs. Students can apply for Summer 2016 internships starting in early November! The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2016. They will begin extending offers to students in early 2016 and will continue until all positions are filled. Students can register for an account anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at All student interns get paid!

ADA Live! WADA - Episode 23: Back to School

Posted 9/3/2015

ADA Live! (WADA) is a free monthly show broadcast nationally on the Internet. Ask questions and learn about your rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Episode 23, "Back to School", recently aired and may be of interest to our parents and students. Visit the ADA Live! website for more information and to listen to an archive of the episode.

Learning Ally's College Success Program

Posted 9/3/2015

This new research-based program is designed to give students support throughout college. For more information, visit Learning Ally's website.

Summer Reading Comes to an End

Posted 8/3/2015

Thank you to everyone that participated in the Summer Reading Program this year! Drawings for the winners of the reading and essay challenges will take place this week, and the prizes and certificates will be mailed out to all participants by the end of next week.

ONLY 10 Days Left of Summer Reading

Posted 7/21/2015
Don't forget to submit your Reading and Essay Challenges before July 31st. Everyone that enters a challenge will be in the grand prize drawing for a $25 gift card. View directions on how to complete a challenge below.
Reading Challenge
Essay Challenge

Summer Reading Program: "Every Hero Has a Story!"

Posted 4/2/2015, Updated 6/1/2015
Register now for the Summer Reading Program, and win prizes just for signing up! This year, the program will take place from June 22 - July 31. Participate in the Reading Challenge or the Essay Challenge to be entered into drawings to win gift cards!

Learn what's offered during the program and how to register by viewing the registration form! Remember, everything is done via the mail, so you do not have to come to the library in order to join us. Need suggestions for summer reading fun? View the links below for theme related activities and suggested reading lists for kids of various ages. 

* Obstacle Course
* Boxy Bus
* Five Little Monkeys
* Paper Plate Hats
* Power Planes
* Sticky Spider Web
* Superhero Cape

Reading Lists
* Early Literacy Bibliography
* Children's Bibliography
* Teen Bibliography

Summer is Almost Here!

Posted 5/6/2015
Are you looking for something fun to do this summer? Below is a list of Summer Camp experiences that may interest you. 
*2015 Summer Experience Camp offered by Leader Dogs for the Blind: June 26-July 3. Contact the client services department at 888-777-5332.
*Sensational Adventures in Summer Science offered by the National Federation of the Blind: July 26- August 1. Contact Fred Wurtzel at 517-256-5575.
*Camp Abilities Michigan Sports for All: June 22 - June 25. Contact the camp at 586-945-6597.
*Summer Camps offered by Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind: Varying dates available. Contact Gwen Botting at 989-855-2430.

Bear Lake Camp Sessions

Posted 3/20/2015

Bear Lake Camp offers two separate one week sessions for blind and visually impaired youth. The sessions are developed and coordinated by a teacher of the blind and visually impaired.  It focuses on having fun while developing self-concepts, relationship learning, independence with daily living skills and acquiring outdoor skills. If interested in learning more about this opportunity, consider attending the informational Open House on June 28, 2015 from 12:00- 3:00 p.m., or visit the Bear Lake website to register now!

Michigan Department of Education Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO)

Posted 2/19/2015
MDE-LIO provides educational materials, supports, and services to families, local school districts, and intermediate school districts to support students who are blind/visually impaired (BVI) and students who are Deaf/hard of hearing (DHH). They are proud to announce their new website! You can check out the MDE-LIO website.

MSU's Project Venture

Posted 2/4/2015
Michigan State University is proud to present a transition program for college-bound high school students with disabilities. The Project Venture program invites students ages 16-18 to join us for a unique on-campus pre-college experience. Venture offers students the chance to “try on” university life through an interactive experience at MSU. This experience will benefit students with various disabilities (learning disabilities, blindness/visual impairment, chronic health conditions, mobility, autism spectrum, deaf/hard of hearing, mental health conditions, etc.), and those planning on attending a 2 or 4 year college. Learn more and apply now at!

Michigan Braille Challenge

Posted 12/17/2014
The event will be held on February 28, 2015 in Waterford, MI from 8:30 am-12 pm.

The Michigan Department of Education-Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) in partnership with Oakland Schools is pleased to announce the Michigan Braille Challenge on February 28, 2015. The Braille Challenge is a two-stage contest that is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging, local and national events. Any visually impaired student who reads braille is eligible to participate. For more information please contact Johanna Anand at MDE-LIO:, or visit the MDE-LIO website.

Winter Holiday Book list

Posted 12/10/2014
View this Holiday book list to help you find your next winter holiday themed book. Call the library to order, or download yourself by clicking on the BARD link within the document.

Lions of Michigan White Cane Scholarships

Posted 12/09/2014
Each year the White Cane Committee awards three $3,000 scholarships to visually impaired individuals. The committee reviews applications and selects winners in January.  Scholarship checks are presented during the Michigan Lions Forum in February or March. Visit the Lions of Michigan website to view the scholarship criteria.

Thanksgiving Book list

Posted 11/19/2014
View this Thanksgiving book list to help you find your next holiday themed book! Call the library to order, or download yourself by clicking on the BARD link within the document. Books have been separated by grade level for ease of selection.

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program

Posted 11/12/2014
Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers 30 scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. Visit the NFB website for more information on this scholarship program.

Letters About Literature

Posted 10/29/2014
The Library of Michigan is announcing the 2015 Letters about Literature program. They are the Michigan host for this national program from the Library of Congress. It is reading-writing contest that invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to write letters to authors of books that have changed their lives. This program gives students the opportunity to reflect deeply on a book. Children and teens can participate on their own or as part of a library or class project.
For more information about this program, visit the Library of Michigan youth services page.

Sheryl Anderson Gordon Foundation Educational Scholarship

Posted 10/29/2014
Educational Criteria: Applicant must be enrolled as a full time student (12 credit hours or more). Applicants must meet the following Vision Loss Criteria:
20/70 or less, central vision, best corrected, in better eye, and/or 20 degree peripheral field or less in better eye or 20/40 or less, best corrected, in better eye, and associated field loss with a prognosis of further vision loss secondary to underlying disease process.

View this scholarship form for complete eligibility criteria.