Bell Atlantic and Nassau Library System Make Communicating Easier for Deaf Customers

Bell Atlantic and Nassau Library System
Make Communicating Easier for Deaf Customers

TTY Devices Now on Loan at Nassau County Libraries

December 7, 1998


John Bonomo, Bell Atlantic,

Dorothy Puryear, Nassau Library System,

NEW YORK -- Nassau County residents can now visit their local library to "kick
the tires" on a text telephone -- a device that helps deaf, hard of hearing or speech-
impaired people to communicate over the phone by typing.

The special telephone equipment may be borrowed by all library-card holders, not
just those who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired.

Through a program jointly sponsored by Bell Atlantic and the Nassau Library
System, residents will be able to check out -- at no charge -- a text telephone, also
known as a TTY or TeleTypewriter, with the same ease as borrowing a book or
tape. The program enables people to try a TTY to see if they would like to buy
one for themselves or a child, parent or employee.

(Note to editors: A kick-off of the TTY Loan Program will be held tomorrow,
Dec. 8, at 9:30 a.m. at the Nassau Library, 900 Jerusalem Ave., Uniondale, NY

"The Nassau loaner program is similar to a very successful program we've
established with the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and in other areas across
the state," said Judi Schillaci, Bell Atlantic's Long Island Community Affairs
director. "Initially, we will be providing six TTY kits to the Nassau Library
System. The deaf community has been advocating for a loaner TTY program, and
Bell Atlantic is happy to answer the call of these important customers."

With a TTY, a person can type and read messages -- much like a typewriter - to
communicate, instead of speaking over a telephone. Those who use a TTY can
communicate with other TTY users, or with people who use a regular telephone
with the help of the New York Relay Center for the Deaf. The communications
assistants at the center serve as interpreters by relaying voice and text messages
between TTY users and people who use a standard telephone.

In addition to a TTY, borrowers will also get a Call Alert signaler, which alerts a
deaf person that they have an incoming call with a visual signal, and a captioned
instructional video. They will also receive information about the services offered
by the Bell Atlantic Center for Customers with Disabilities.

To borrow a TTY, individuals need only show their library card at their local
library. A TTY should be available for pick-up the next business day, and can be
checked out for two weeks.

"Being able to borrow a TTY unit is a very valuable advantage for a deaf person,"
said Dorothy Puryear, chief of the Nassau Library's Special Library Services
division. "A 'test drive' will answer questions about how to use one, whether to
buy one, and who should have one. This program is in keeping with the Nassau
Library System's commitment to serve all members of the community."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and eight million wireless
customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced
wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the
world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are
also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.