Talking Books And Braille Center Closure

When will the Talking Books and Braille Center (TBBC) close for renovation?

The TBBC will be closed for onsite service starting August 15.
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Why is the Talking Books and Braille Center being renovated?

The Talking Books and Braille Center (TBBC) is closed due to a much-needed renovation. Based on input from the TBBC Advisory Committee, library staff, and architect Chris Downey, who is himself sightless, the new TBBC will be a community space for individuals who are Blind, have low vision, or are otherwise print disabled. Design features include varying floor textures and bright colored furnishings allowing patrons to orient themselves and navigate the space more easily. The space has been designed to be flexible allowing room for in-person programs as well as space for reading, listening, and connecting with others. There will still be two small rooms available with AT computers and other adaptive technology equipment as well as a new larger room for group activities and a sound treated room for braille embossing of materials and onsite recording of talking books. The new TBBC will be a gathering space for the Blind, low vision, and print disabled communities in San Francisco.
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Can I still get books from TBBC’s collection?

Yes, we will send books out by mail and answer the phone (415) 557-4253 during our open hours, which will remain the same. For people who primarily use the Library by phone, you may not notice a difference.
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 Can I still get my books at the Main Library if TBBC is closed to the public?

Yes, call us at (415) 557-4253, and a staff member can meet you at the Larkin Street entrance. Please try to call us at least 24 hours before you arrive. We will have time to process your book requests and have them ready for you for pickup.  On pickup day, you can call us once you are in the building and we will bring your cartridge to you. If you forgot your phone or do not have a mobile, please ask someone at the Information Desk to contact the TBBC on your behalf.
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Can I use the AT computers and will they have the software I need?

Yes, you can sign up at any AT computer. We hope to have a dedicated TBBC computer located on the 3rd and 5th Floor. Please note that same-day embossing may not be available.
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Can I use the AT computers other than the one on the 5th Floor?

Yes, we have AT software on Floors 3, 4 and 5 in rooms with height adjustable tables. You can call us, and we can take you to the AT room until you feel comfortable to navigate on your own. We can work with you to enter your library card number and password if this is not accessible to you. If you need to use the braille display, just call us at (415) 557-4253 and we can bring it to you. If you need something embossed, we can arrange that with you too, but please note that same-day embossing service may not be available.  
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Can I use the SARA (Scanning and Reading Appliance)? 

Yes, there is a SARA on the 3rd Floor in the AT computer room. It is a flatbed scanner, not one with an arm. Its work interface is the same; you just put the paper text down instead of text up.
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Will you be available for tech training?

Yes, we can arrange to meet you in a meeting room at the library, or work with you over the phone. Please call ahead of time to schedule an onsite appointment. The number is (415) 557-4253.
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Will you still be hosting programs?

Yes, over Zoom and by phone. We can call you in if you would like. Please access the “The Voice” or TBBC’s monthly calendar for our programs’ times and dates. During the renovation, we will be unable to host in person programs.
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Where will the TBBC staff be located during the renovation?

We are going to be working in the Main Library and will be answering the phone and responding to inquiries by email: talkingbooks@sfpl.org. We eagerly anticipate meeting you again at the newly renovated TBBC.
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Can people use the elevator?

Yes. Elevator 7, by the guard station, will be available to go to the 2nd Floor. Elevator 1 & 2 will not be in use for Floor 2 because they will open into a construction site.
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Is Maia’s art going to stay on the wall?

Maia Scott’s art is in the process of being conserved and will be reinstalled once the TBBC is renovated.
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Does the library have a magnifier reader I can use during the renovation?

Yes. Magnifier readers will be available on the 3rd and 5th Floors.
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