Release Date: July 14, 2014
Contact: Darlene Anderson
Las Vegas, NV – As part of its launch of the U.S. Currency Reader Program, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) distributed currency reader devices today to eligible American Council of the Blind (ACB) members attending the annual summer convention here this week.
Providing currency readers to blind and visually impaired U.S. citizens is one component of the BEP’s initiative to provide meaningful access to Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency).
“We are excited to get currency readers in the hands of ACB convention attendees as part of the BEP’s launch of the U.S. Currency Reader Program,” said Dawn Haley, Senior Advisor to the BEP’s Director, in her remarks at the ACB general session meeting. Haley outlined details of the currency reader program launch, which begins with an initial distribution of readers at the ACB Convention and at similar annual events of the National Federation of the Blind and the Blinded Veterans Association, followed by a broader launch of the program in two phases:
Pilot: Beginning September 2, 2014, in partnership with the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) the BEP will initiate a four-month pilot where NLS patrons can pre-order a currency reader. The pilot program allows the government to test its ordering and distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers.
National Rollout: Currency readers will be widely available to all U.S. citizens, or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, starting January 2, 2015. Individuals who are not NLS patrons must submit an application, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility, to request a currency reader.
Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program that circulates braille and audio materials to approximately 400,000 eligible borrowers in the United States. “The fact that we already have a process in place to provide reading materials to individuals who are blind or visually impaired made our partnership with the BEP a natural fit,” explained Isabella Marques de Castilla, NLS Deputy Director. “Our role in the U.S. Currency Reader Program will be to process orders and distribute currency reader devices to eligible individuals.”
In 2011, the BEP introduced EyeNote®, an app that scans and identifies note images on mobile devices operating on the Apple iOS platform. A similar app for Android phones, the IDEAL Currency Reader® was developed through collaboration with the Department of Education.
Individuals interested in applying for a currency reader device or learning more about BEP’s meaningful access program can visit https://www.bep.gov/services/currency-accessibility/us-currency-reader-program.