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Currency readers now available to eligible Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired
December 22, 2022
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has announced that Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired can now apply to receive an audible currency reader at no cost through the Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library.
The currency reader, called the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, is a small, handheld device that quickly identifies the bill’s denomination in one of three ways: a clear natural voice, a pattern of tones, or a pattern of vibrations for privacy. The currency reader identifies all U.S. currency in circulation, including $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations.
“Audible currency readers are invaluable to individuals who cannot read the denominations on paper money,” said William Robinson, Director of the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons. “Working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, we will be able to distribute currency readers to eligible citizens, expanding the services and resources we provide to support blind and visually impaired Michiganders.”
The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, within LEO’s Office of Employment and Training, assists Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired by facilitating a variety of services and resources, including the Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library. Library staff will assist eligible patrons with completing currency reader applications and provide demonstrations and answer questions on how the devices work.
The library offers many services, including braille and audio books to individuals who are unable to use standard print materials. A part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, the Braille and Talking Book Library and its network of Advisory and Outreach Centers serve people with visual and physical disabilities by offering access to more than 23,000 braille and 100,000 audio book titles.
Those interested in submitting an application for a currency reader should contact the library by calling 1-800-992-9012, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our goal is to make the application process as easy as possible for the people we serve,” said Braille and Talking Book Library Manager Scott Norris. “Our staff will answer any questions a caller may have and fill out the currency reader application for eligible library patrons while they’re on the phone – and the currency reader will go out in the mail the next business day.”
###Vocational Rehabilitation, Pre-Employment Transition and Independent Living Older Blind Services are funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education. For federal Fiscal Year 2022, the total grant funds used for these services was expected to approximate $17.9 million for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), including $2.6 million of the VR grant reserved for Pre-Employment Transition Services and $988,000 for Independent Living for Older Blind Services.