The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has honored Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 digital media platform with the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have “made outstanding contributions toward achieving the full integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality.”
Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 platform powers Blio, a free ereading app for Windows, iOS and Android devices that includes features that help visually-impaired individuals and people with reading disabilities. Both Axis 360 and Blio were developed in partnership with the NFB.
“Axis 360 will revolutionize the way in which blind readers get books,” Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said in a release. “The blind will now be able to borrow accessible books directly from the collections of their local public libraries instead of having to wait for the books to be converted to an accessible format and included in specialized collections that serve the blind. As the collection of books available through Axis 360 increases, we look forward to the day when every book available at the local library will also be available to the blind at the same time and in an accessible format.”
The award was presented during the NFB’s annual convention, which was held in Dallas earlier this month.
“We are honored to receive this award from the country’s largest and most prestigious organization representing the interests of blind and visually-impaired people,” Arnie Wight, President and Chief Operating Officer of Baker & Taylor, said in a release. “Libraries play a vital role in ensuring their communities have access to the latest and best books and digital media. With Axis 360 and Blio, libraries can more inclusively serve their whole community, by opening up a world of new content to blind and sighted people alike.”
NFB has viewed ebook accessibility as a priority as the format has continued to grow. In May, the organization helped four patrons sue the Free Library of Philadelphia over program that loaned NOOK Simple Touch e-readers to patrons over 50. The case argued that NOOKs do not include accessibility features, unlike some alternative e-readers, and that the program therefore violated section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.