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WILMINGTON, DE - The Delaware Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will receive a boost in funding with the help of almost $700,000 in federal aid, Senator Tom Carper announced today. State libraries will be able to provide increased services to the community with a grant provided by the (IMLS). The award is designed to enhance telephone reference services and help provide library services to those with disabilities. "At the heart of every school and community is a library," Carper said. "Our libraries put knowledge at our fingertips as we turn the pages and search the Internet. These funds reward their innovation and provide the resources to further increase their accessibility." The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) supports library services through technology and outreach to special populations and matches federal funds with state money. With the state contributing, the LSTA allows states to use the funds to address their own unique library needs. The Delaware Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides book and newspaper services to persons unable to read standard print, and talking books to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to enjoy them. Thousands of volumes in Braille and on recorded discs and cassettes are accessed each year. Money from the grant will help fund the library, which serves disabled persons statewide. "For many, neighborhood libraries are the first interaction they have with books and computers. Not only do they teach children to read and discover beyond their backyard, libraries provide the community with research tools and computer access," Carper said. "People previously underserved will be able to access health and parenting information, and many who are disabled will be able to read books previously inaccessible. This grant will promote access to learning." The funding will also enable low-income families to locate assistance with questions on consumer health and daily living through a new telephone and email reference service. Modeled after county reference services in Kent and Sussex previously established with the support of the LSTA, the Newark Free Library will use funds from the new grant to set up services for New Castle County. "Delaware's IMLS Library Services and Technology funds contribute to almost every program conducted by the Delaware Division of Libraries. In addition to paying for specific highlighted initiatives, this funding pays some of the agency salaries and supports virtually everything we do," said Mary Chute, State Librarian.