The collection of 2,500 jazz, classical, and contemporary music scores is the second largest Braille music collection in the country.
The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library—the only public library in the state of the New York that is dedicated to serving patrons who are blind, visually impaired, or are otherwise physically unable to read standard print—is excited to announce that Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School (FMDG) has donated their entire Braille music catalog, the second-largest collection of Braille music in the country. Through this donation, the Heiskell Library will make the music catalog accessible to the public. On Tuesday, November 14 the Heiskell Library and FMDG hosted a reception at the Heiskell Library to celebrate the gift that included musical performances from visually-impaired students who use the collection. Faculty and students from FMDG performed a seIection of pieces from the collection: Singer Iolanta Mamatkazina performed with Dalia Sakas on piano, and Richard Thai on tenor saxophone performed with Yo Kano on piano.
The collection features more than 2,500 music scores spanning various genres, including jazz, classical, and contemporary as well as volumes on music theory and history. It stands as the second largest repository of Braille music in the nation after the Library of Congress. This gift is especially meaningful since Braille and large print music are hard to find, which results in unequal access to scores for blind, low vision and visually impaired musicians.
“Unequal access to an arts education places severe limitations on people with vision loss,” said Leslie Jones, executive director at FMDG. “Through our donation to The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book branch, we hope to expand accessibility on a local level and generate awareness on a larger scale. We are so grateful that the library has joined us in this effort by taking on our Braille music collection.”
“We deeply appreciate FMDG’s donation of music scores, which will provide New Yorkers with a remarkable new resource that supports access to the arts, self-expression, and music literacy for our community of people who are blind, low vision or print disabled,” said Jill Rothstein, chief librarian at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. “The Heiskell Library is dedicated to providing New York’s diverse communities with access to all different kinds of literacies, and we are grateful to offer this free, browseable, accessible collection to anyone interested in braille music. We look forward to seeing more of our patrons exploring the collections available at the branch and excited to support their creative endeavors.”