In June, the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind released a new audio Bible compatible with the National Library Service (NLS) digital cartridge players for the blind.
The project, which took
three years to complete, allowed the New Living Translation of the Bible to be
produced on NLS-type cartridges. "Until now, the only Bible compatible with the NLS
players was a KJV recorded in 1953 by Alexander Scourby," says Paul
Weingartner, director of the Assemblies of God Center for the Blind. "The
Scourby recording was originally made for distribution on vinyl records ... in
the 1960s it was reformatted by NLS for cassettes, and a few years ago it was reformatted
again by NLS for digital cartridges."
While most audio Bibles are hard or often impossible to access and navigate without vision, the specialized digital Bible is "truly blind-friendly," Weingartner explains. A convenient feature of the new Bible cartridge is that it can be copied to most book readers designed for the blind, which allows it to be portable.
The Center for the Blind partnered with Braille Bibles International (BBI) to have the Bible professionally recorded and formatted for the NLS digital cartridge system. BBI has extensive experience working with publishers on Blind accessibility issues.
With the help of BBI and Tyndale House Publishers, the Bible was ready for distribution in four weeks. A reduced production cost and shorter production time enabled the Center for the Blind and BBI to produce more cartridge Bibles than originally anticipated and have them ready for the National Federation of the Blind convention in June.
While Weingartner helped with the BBI booth at the convention, he was able to personally introduce the new Bible cartridge to the Blind. "Approximately 150 people came by the booth for a Bible cartridge. People were thrilled to have a Bible in a modern format specialized just for the Blind," Weingartner says.
A lady named Wanda, attending the convention from Michigan, was able to receive a Bible cartridge. "I didn't know why the Lord wanted me to come here to Dallas. I know what He wanted, but it didn't make sense. Now I know - this is why," she explained, as she held up the Bible.
Charles, an AGTS graduate, was thrilled to have the Bible cartridge loaded on his portable book reader during the convention. "He jumped for joy. He gave me a big hug and told me thanks," Weingartner says.
The Center for the Blind is offering these Bible cartridges for free to all blind who request them.
For more information about the AG Center for the Blind or to request a free Bible cartridge, click here.