Gardner, J. A. (2019). Access to the Past and the Present: A History of the M. C. Migel Memorial Collection, American Printing House for the Blind. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 113(4), 381–386. https://doi.org/10.1177/0145482X19868347
This month’s Barr Library highlight comes from the most recent issue of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. It is especially noteworthy for it not only features the American Printing House for the Blind, but also that it was authored by our own librarian and Resource Services colleague Justin Gardner. For those not familiar, JVIB is an international peer-reviewed journal of record in the field of visual impairment and blindness; it delivers current research and best practice information, commentary from experts on critical topics, news, and events.
In the article, Justin chronicles the modest beginnings of the M.C. Migel Memorial Collection in 1926, its growth, the importance of individuals like Robert B. Irwin, Helga Lende, and its namesake M.C. Migel to that growth, its journey from AFB to APH, and APH’s own efforts to continue its legacy and expand access through digitization and research services. Today, the M.C. Migel Memorial Collection is the largest known non-medical library of materials related to blindness and visual impairment in the world. The M.C. Migel Library promotes research, education, and social and cultural awareness by collecting and providing access to non-medical materials related to blindness and visual impairment. The collection is a true historical sociocultural record on blindness and visual impairment. The collection currently houses approximately 22,000 print and audio/visual items. The material ranges in scope from manuscripts to published fiction materials and includes the Blind Musicians Collections, which is also chronicled in the article. The digitization of the collection, which numbers over 8,800 unique items, is prominently displayed with Internet Archive and Open Library and has been accessed globally.
It is with great pleasure to share the story of the M.C. Collection and Library and recognize Justin’s work to develop and preserve this one-of-a-kind collection.
The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Collection is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to visual impairment in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will make materials available online at https://archive.org/details/aphmigelOpens a new window. The digitized texts are available in a variety of accessible formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, and read-aloud. Contact Library staff: firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-223-1839, ext. 705