The Palm Coast Lions Club helps more than 42,000 print disabled and physically handicapped residents in Florida. They maintain a collection of more than 2 million books and circulate more than 1 million books annually by repairing special playback machines and recording print materials into cassette tapes and Braille. They also pull, mail, inspect and reshelf the books, which go and come on a semi-truck each day, perform duties in the Technical Services Section and help maintain a professional collection. In addition they perform public relations for the Library for the Blind.
The Lion Club’s volunteering at and for the Library helps to fulfill their purpose and mission in helping the blind, hard of hearing and Florida citizens with other disabilities to be able to take their own place in the community. These patrons receive educational and recreational materials and periodicals in a timely manner in a medium they can use other than print.
This Lions Club chose to volunteer at this Library in 1981 after a patron spoke to their club about the needs of this Library. After volunteering and seeing the Library’s needs they have recruited Lion members to fill these positions. They do their own recruiting and teaching others as they bring them in to volunteer. They have all worked, recruited and trained others in every section of the Library. Through their dedication they have helped to make it the largest library of its kind in the world. They have even been recognized in Update, the national newsletter of National Library Service, the section of the Library of Congress for the blind and physically handicapped, in both print and picture.
The Palm Coast Lions Club has a program for eye screening of pre-schoolers and school children at schools and elsewhere using special photographic equipment and an analysis by a doctor to determine potential eye problems. The Club supports student scholarships, high school Leo Club, training of guide dogs and takes a blind patron to schools to read stories to children in Braille. They also support the Florida Lions Conklin Centers for the Blind, Inc. and is often recognized by the Council on Aging for more than 20 years of volunteer service.
The quality of life of library customers/patrons is enhanced through the efforts of valuable volunteers such as the members of the Palm Coast Lions Club. They are so attuned to the library’s needs for volunteers they each travel 80 miles round trip to perform this hands on work. In the year of 2001, the number of volunteers has increased from 10 to 20 members from this Club. They have recognized the lack of sufficient funding for the Library and have helped in this area; two pieces of equipment are in the process of being donated now. They volunteer additional time on special workdays and bring others to volunteer when special workdays and special projects demand extra help.