Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, March 05, 2012

Two APH Library Treasures!

The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Library is the largest collection of nonmedical information related to blindness in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, arrangements can be made to use the materials on site. In addition, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will continue to make materials available through the online catalog at http://migel.aph.org.

Two of the many "Treasures from the APH Libraries" are described below.

Migel Library Treasure

James Holman, A Voyage Round the World: Including Travels in Africa, Asia, Australia, America etc. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1834.

Beginning in 1819, James Holman, also known as the “Blind Traveler,” set out on a series of unprecedented adventures, the accounts of which are published in this multi-volume set. While serving in the British Royal Navy, Holman contracted an illness that rendered him blind at the age of 25. Although the illness additionally caused him to suffer from debilitating pain and limited mobility, he refused to accept the sedentary life prescribed for him with the lifetime grant of care at Windsor Castle. Holman proceeded to request leaves of absence to study medicine and literature, and began to undertake tours of Europe, eventually aiming to make a circuit of the world from west to east, an incredible feat at the time for any solo traveler. This expedition was foiled in Russia where he was suspected by the Czar of being a spy. Not one to be discouraged, Holman regrouped and set out again, eventually achieving his goals and publishing this series that describes his ground breaking travels and method of “human echolocation.”

Online versions of several of the volumes may be found at the Internet Archive, as well as at Project Gutenberg. A Wikipedia article found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Holman has links to further information. Additionally, many public libraries carry A Sense of the World, How a Blind Man Became History’s Greatest Traveler, a 2006 biography by Jason Roberts, also available through NLS in braille and as a downloadable Talking Book.

Barr Library Treasure

Jean Piaget and Barbel Inhelder, The Psychology of the Child. New York: Basic Books, 1969.

Which of the following two lies does a young child consider “naughty”: telling your family you got a good mark in school when you weren’t called on to recite, or saying that a dog that frightened you was as big as a horse or a cow? Why do many children between the ages of four and six believe the moon follows them, or even that they force it to follow them? When does the need to have definitive, final answers to our perpetual “why” questions abate? In The Psychology of the Child, Jean Piaget and Barbel Inhelder offer an accessible summary of the developmental psychology Piaget elaborated over forty years, offering anecdotal stories along the way.

Described in Wikipedia as a “super-classic,” this work is a concise overview of Piaget’s key ideas and the stages he believed children to progress through as they interact with the world around them. What really shines through are the many examples of children’s behavior along the way, such as the girl who translates her interest in the mechanics of church bells while on vacation to making deafening noises next to her father’s desk. Her response when told she’s bothering him? “Don’t talk to me. I’m a church.” Or the same girl being so impressed by a plucked duck on the kitchen table that she imitates it on the sofa, causing her family to believe her to be sick until she says in a far away voice, “I’m the dead duck!” Although many of Piaget’s ideas have been improved upon in subsequent years, he remains one of the most influential developmental psychologists and The Psychology of the Child is an excellent starting place for researchers and lay readers alike.

In addition to holdings in both the Barr and Migel Libraries, The Psychology of the Child is available at many public libraries as well as Learning Ally.

Contact Library staff: library@aph.org, 800/223-1839, ext. 705

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