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. 

BTBL Summer Reading Program

Posted 4/29/2019

Registration is now open. Mark your calendars for June 24th- August 4th! All contests are designed to be completed at home.

  1. Create a Space Creature!
  2. Form a fictitious (made-up) constellation
  3. Read 2 books

Additional details and registration instructions can be found here.

Summer Camps

Posted 03/01/2019

Summer Camp registrations at various organizations are starting to open. Keep an eye out for the deadlines!

Braille Challenge

Posted 1/10/2019

Registration for the Michigan Braille Challenge is still open to students in 1st-12th grades. Register online before February 23rd at:

Santa Letters

Posted 11/19/2018

Every December, the National Federation of the Blind helps Santa send letters in Braille to young blind children across the country. Along with the Braille letter, Santa includes a print letter so that parents who might not read Braille can follow along. He also includes a fun tactile coloring sheet. Requests can be made using the form from November 12, 2018, through December 14, 2018 at

Lions White Cane Scholarship

Posted 11/5/2018

Three $3000 scholarships are available from the Lions Clubs of Michigan. Applicants must be a resident of Michigan and legally blind. Applications are due by December 31st, 2018. To apply download the application from:

Inspiration for Summer Reading!

Posted 7/13/2018

The Summer Reading Program at BTBL is well underway, and we've already seen some amazing submissions from the youth participants! As inspiration to those still brainstorming, listen to this MP3 submission "It's Summer Time" by Acer for the This is your Jam lyric writing contest. Acer went above and beyond – not only did he write his own lyrics, but he also composed music, performed it on a midi controller, and recorded it. Enjoy and happy summer!

Tools for Transition Pre-ETS Event coming to BTBL

Posted 6/14/2018, Updated 7/10/2018

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) services are available statewide to students with visual impairments age 14 to 26. The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, with BTBL and the Michigan Department of Education – Low Incidence Outreach have been teaming up on a series of events called Tools for Transition. The next scheduled event will take place on Saturday, August 11th at BTBL. View the agenda for the event. Register at:

Pre-ETS Opportunity on Mackinac Island!

Posted 5/14/2018

Summer Work Opportunity available for qualifying Pre-ETS students (18-26 years old) at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island! Student would participate in a 4 week work evaluation at the Grand Hotel in the kitchen. If successful, they may have the opportunity to be hired on for a longer period with additional job duties.  For more information, contact the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) at 800-292-4200.

Libraries Rock - Summer Reading Program 2018

April 23, 2018

Summer Reading Program registration is now officially open! All programming is done at home, so youth from all over Michigan can participate in our exciting contests anytime between June 24th- August 5th! The theme is Libraries Rock, so turn up your favorite music and get creative this summer with one (or all) of our contests:

● Create Your Own Sound - In this construction contest, participants will be challenged to build their own instrument from products provided!

● This is Your Jam - In this lyric writing contest, participants will be challenged to come up with a verse for their very own song!

● Reading Rocks - In this reading contest, participants will be challenged to read at least 3 books with a music theme during the program!

The Michigan Department of Education - Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) in collaboration with the Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) are happy to bring these exciting opportunities to kids in Michigan. Please register by emailing Youth Librarian Stephanie Wambaugh at or calling BTBL at 1-800-992-9012. Advance registration is not required but will guarantee the participant will have supplies provided for the above-mentioned programming. Don't wait - call or email now!

Braille Enhanced StoryWalk® Program Offered at 32 Local Michigan Libraries

April 13, 2018

LANSING – Thirty-two public libraries statewide are blending indoor and outdoor activities in a literacy enrichment program called the Braille Enhanced StoryWalk®, the Library of Michigan (LM) announced today.

The second-annual StoryWalk, a collaboration of the LM, Michigan Department of Education’s (MDE) Low-Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO), and Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL), is a fun, educational activity designed to inspire parents and caregivers to take young children outdoors to engage in literacy and physical activities.

“By including braille, local libraries help embrace accessibility and equal access to information,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “We encourage families to explore these stories by touch and reading aloud.”

He said the 32 libraries offering this year’s StoryWalk are encouraged to collaborate with local parks and recreation departments on where to display it.

The hosting libraries are:

  • Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library
  • Bay County Library System - Auburn Branch
  • Bloomfield Township Public Library
  • Canton Public Library
  • Capitol Area District Libraries
  • Charlotte Community Library
  • Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Cromaine District Library
  • Croton Township Library
  • Detroit Public Library – Main Library
  • Detroit Public Library - Douglass Branch LBPH
  • Dickinson County Library - Main Branch
  • East Lansing Public Library
  • Farmington Community Library Downtown Branch
  • Ferndale Area District Library
  • Frankenmuth Wickson District Library
  • Grace A. Dow Memorial Library
  • Interlochen Public Library
  • Kent District Library - Englehardt Branch
  • Lyons Township District Library
  • Marshall District Library
  • Norton Shores Library
  • Portage District Library
  • Public Libraries of Saginaw - Butman-Fish Library Branch
  • Salem-South Lyon District Library
  • Saline District Library
  • Tamarack District Library
  • Taylor Community Library
  • Three Rivers Public Library
  • Troy Public Library
  • Warren Public Library - Arthur J. Miller Branch
  • West Branch District Library

Anyone interested in these programs are asked to check directly with the library for dates and locations.

The StoryWalk Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ferguson. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services funds, administered by the LM.

For more information on the Braille Enhanced StoryWalk, please contact Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Coordinator at the Library of Michigan, at 517-335-8129 or at

Summer Camp Information

Posted 2/16/2018, Updated 3/30/2018

Summer may seem like a long way off yet, but it's never too early to get signed up for an exciting summer camp experience. Below are just a few camps that have already opened registration!

  • Leader Dog’s Summer Experience Camp – Making Teens Unstoppable! The 2018 camp dates are June 23—June 30. Applications are due by March 31, 2018.  For more information and to download an application, go to or call the Leader Dogs for the Blind client services department at 888-777-5332.

  • Western Michigan University sports education camps for students with visual impairments.

    Dates:         Junior Camp: Sunday, May 6 to Tuesday, May 8, 2018

                        Senior Camp: Wednesday, May 9 to Saturday, May 12, 2018

                        Michigan State Games: Friday, May 11 to Saturday, May 12, 2018

    Deadline:    March 15, but applications will be accepted until camp is filled                 To apply:    Go to

  • BTBL's Summer Reading Program! June 24th - August 5th.  Register now by calling 1-800-992-9012 or emailing

  • The National Federation of the Blind Engineering Quotient (EQ) program is a weeklong summer engineering program for blind and low-vision teens from around the country. The application deadline is Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Apply to attend NFB EQ. Submit your application via:

  • Camp T Opportunities! Camp T exists to be an outdoor learning environment dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and youth who are blind or visually impaired. Multiple events are coming up, including Family Nature Clubs, Outdoor Education Workshops, and Expanded Core Curriculum Camp. Visit the following link ( to learn more and to sign up today!

  • Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) Summer Camps. Multiple Camps for different ages available. Spots are already filling up so get registered soon! Registration forms can be found on the website:

Space Camp Essay Contest

Posted 3/22/2018

The Michigan Department for Education - Low Incidence Outreach (MDE-LIO) has announced the 3rd Annual Space Camp Essay Contest! Complete an essay and submit it to MDE-LIO by April 30 to be in the running for an all-expense paid trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center!  Michigan candidates in grades 7-12 who are blind/visually impaired are welcome to submit an essay.  One male and one female candidate will be chosen for the camp.  A MDE-LIO staff will be escorting and chaperoning the winning candidates throughout their stay at Space Camp.  Follow this link ( to learn more about the contest and about 2018 Space Camp!

Upcoming Pre-ETS Programs Offered through BSBP

Posted 2/6/2018

  1. The Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is inviting high school students who are blind or visually impaired to shoot for the stars and explore the space industry with a SPACE EXPLORATION OVERNIGHT LOCK-IN at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan! Take off Friday, March 2 at 6 PM and touch down Saturday, March 3 at 10 AM. For more information contact Shannon McVoy, Transition Services Manager at 269-337-3449.
  2. ENCOUNTER CAREER OPPORTUNITIES for high school students 14 and older that are blind or visually impaired. Join BSBP for a career exploration weekend showcasing careers that don’t require a 4-year college degree. Students will explore careers in several areas including: the culinary arts, computer assembly, and computer numeric control (CNC) machining. Register at: Have questions? Contact Jaclyn Tollas at or (269) 337-7897.
  3. STEM TRACK 2018. Thinking about planning your education and career journey?  Check out the STEM Track to see where science, technology, engineering, and mathematics might take you! Students will be introduced to 3D printing technology while learning about careers in the STEM field and exploring characteristics of the universe.  Students will also hear from blind professionals about how to pursue an education and career in STEM. Register at For more information, contact your local BSBP counselor or Jaclyn Tollas at or (269) 337-7897. 

2018 United States Association of Blind Athletes Scholarship Program

Posted 1/30/2018

USABA is pleased to announce the 2018 USABA Scholarship Program, including the I C You Foundation Valor Achievement Award and the Arthur E. and Helen Copeland Scholarships. Both the Valor Achievement Award and the Copeland Scholarships will be awarded to one male and one female athlete, each in the amount of five hundred dollars. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2018. To apply, visit the USABA website.

Phone Conference on How Students Can Do Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Posted 1/22/2018

The Science and Engineering Division of the National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of Blind Students present a joint phone conference on how blind professionals, and blind college and graduate students are succeeding in courses to do with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  The call-in number is the NABS conference line 712-770-5197, Participant Access Code: 265669.  The call will occur at 9PM EST through 10PM EST on Monday, February 12, 2018. Topics will be of interest for blind students in middle school, high school, college and graduate school. Parents of blind school-aged children and educators are also welcome.  Topics will include succeeding as a blind person in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering.  Some portion of the presentation will address how to succeed in a laboratory setting. Contact person: Louis Maher, Phone: 713-444-7838, E-mail

Scholarships Available!

Posted 1/22/2018

1. 2018 Lions Clubs of Michigan Scholarship for the Visually Impaired: Scholarship applications are now being accepted for THREE $3,000.00 scholarships through the Lions Clubs of Michigan for 2018. Visit their website for more information.

2. Anne Lowe Scholarship offered by Christian Record Services for the Blind: For more information regarding the application process and to access the online form, visit

Upcoming Camps and Experiences

Posted 1/11/2018

  1. Camp T Family Nature Club: Snow Adventures - Jan 19-21, 2018. Click on this link ( to learn more and to download an event flyer.
  2. Space Exploration Overnight Lock-In - March 2-3, 2018. The Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is inviting high school students who are blind or visually impaired to shoot for the stars and explore the space industry. For more information contact Shannon McVoy, Transition Services Manager at 269-337-3449. Here is the link for the registration:
  3. OUB Camps - All camp information for 2018 has been posted on their website at Visit the site for more information on individual camp experiences.

Braille Challenge

Posted 01/05/2018

It’s not too late to sign up for the Braille Challenge 2018! Any questions about whether this is a good fit for you or your student/child that reads braille, please contact Johanna Anand at the Michigan Department of Education- Low Incidence Outreach at 517-241-4045. Go to the MDE-LIO website for more information:

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