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LOC Salutes Pioneers

Talking book volunteers keep the machines going

The Pioneers is a telecom industry volunteer charity group that is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

One of its long-running missions has been to maintain and repair machinery used by the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

A proclamation signed by Ruth Scovill, NLS acting director, and by Robert Fistick, deputy director, said: “Talented and dedicated Pioneers volunteers have repaired more than 3.6 million audiobook machines for NLS since 1960, keeping books talking for blind and physically handicapped people.”

Starting in the 1960s, the Pioneers have adapted to technology maintaining everything from phonographs to cassette players to modern digital talking book machines.

The group was started in 1911 by Alexander Graham Bell and consists of active and retired telecom workers from companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Sasktel.

Read about them here.