Bell Atlantic and The New York Public Library Make Communicating Easier for Deaf Customers

Bell Atlantic and The New York Public Library
Make Communicating Easier for Deaf Customers

TTY Devices Now Available on Loan Throughout the
Five Boroughs

April 19, 1999


John Bonomo,

Jennifer Bertrand,

NEW YORK -- New Yorkers 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 their

The special telephone equipment may be borrowed by all New York
Public 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 New York
Public Library, residents will be able to check out -- at no charge -- a text
telephone, also known as a Teletypewriter (TTY), 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

(Note to editors: A kick-off of the TTY Loan Program, including a
demonstration of how to use a TTY, will be held Thursday, April 22, at
9:30 a.m. at the Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave./6 E. 40th St., 2nd
floor, Manhattan.)

Under the program, Bell Atlantic will provide three TTY kits to each of
five library branches -- three in Manhattan, one in the Bronx, and one in
Staten Island. (Addresses of the branches are included at end of this
The company has previously established programs with the
Brooklyn and Queens library systems.

"This loaner program covering Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island is
similar to very successful programs we've established with libraries in the
other boroughs, on Long Island and in other areas across the state," said
John Rollo, Bell Atlantic executive director for Community Affairs and
Customer Outreach. "By expanding this program to the other boroughs,
any New Yorker, virtually anywhere in the city can have access to a TTY.
The deaf community has asked for a loaner TTY program, and Bell
Atlantic is happy to assist these important customers."

With a TTY, a person can type and read messages -- much like on a
computer -- 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, those who borrow from a library will also get a Call
Alert signaler, a separate piece of equipment that uses a visual signal to
alert deaf persons that they have an incoming call, and a close-captioned
instructional video. They also will receive information about services
offered by the Bell Atlantic Center for Customers with Disabilities.

To borrow a TTY, individuals need only show their library card at one of
the five participating branches. A TTY can be checked out for three

"Being able to borrow a TTY unit is a very valuable advantage for a deaf
person," said Ismael Alicea, The New York Public Library's Coordinator
for the Office of Special Services. "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 New York Public Library's commitment to
serve all members of the community."

For more information about the TTY Loan Program, New Yorkers may
call The New York Public Library at 212-340-0918.

Addresses of five participating New York Public Library branches:

  • Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Ave. (at 40th St.), Manhattan
  • Countee Cullen Regional Library, 104 W. 136th St. (near
    Malcolm X Blvd.), Manhattan
  • Jefferson Market Regional Library, 425 Avenue of the Americas
    (at 10th St.), Manhattan
  • Fordham Library Center, 2556 Bainbridge Ave., the Bronx
  • St. George Library Center, 5 Central Ave., Staten Island

The New York Public Library's 85 Branch Libraries, located throughout
Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, offer a wide range of free services.
Books, films, CDs, audio and video cassettes, as well as recorded and braille
materials for the blind and physically handicapped are available to anyone
who lives, works, or studies in New York with their free library card. The
Branch Libraries provide free literacy tutoring, English for Speakers of
Other Languages (ESOL) instruction, and more than 20,000 free programs
each year to children, teenagers and adults. Visit the Library's web site at
www.nypl.org for further information.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 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.