Bell Atlantic and The Queens Borough Public Library Make Communicating Easier for Deaf Customers

Bell Atlantic and The Queens Borough Public
Library Make Communicating Easier for Deaf

TTY Devices Now Available on Loan Throughout the
Five Boroughs

October 5, 1999


John Bonomo,

Joanne King,

NEW YORK -- Queens 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 their messages.

The special telephone equipment may be borrowed by all Queens Borough
Public Library card holders, not just those who are deaf, hard of hearing or

Through a program jointly sponsored by Bell Atlantic and The Queens
Borough 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 employee.

Under the program, Bell Atlantic will provide 10 TTY kits to be used by
library branches throughout the borough. The company had previously
established programs with the Brooklyn and New York Public Library

"This loaner program for Queens 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 all the 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."

"This program is in keeping with The Queens Borough Public
Library's commitment to serve all members of the community," said
Gary E. Strong, library director. "We are pleased to partner with
Bell Atlantic on this valuable service."

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 10 Queens Library branches. A TTY can be checked out for three

For more information about the TTY Loan Program, New Yorkers may
call The Queens Borough Public Library at 718-990-0746 (voice) or
718-990-0809 (TTY).

The Queens Borough Public Library serves a population of two million in
the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. With 17.5 million
items in circulation for Fiscal Year 1999, the Library has the highest
circulation of any library system in the country. For more information
about Library programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the
Queens Library web site, at www.queenslibrary.org or phone

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines
and nearly 10 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.