Founded in 1858, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH) is the world’s largest non-profit organization to create educational, workplace, and independent living products for people who are blind and visually impaired. Created by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a group of other Midwestern and Southern state governments, for over 130 years the APH has been the instrumentality through which the U.S. Government provided books and other educational materials for students in schools for the blind, as well as individual blind students in public and private schools and rehabilitation centers.
Originally, the APH embossed books with raised type so blind students could feel the letters. Today, the APH embosses textbooks, cookbooks, dictionaries and other materials in braille and publishes large-print books and other materials. The APH also produces audio-books; products, tools, and supplies for the blind such as braillewriters and talking computer software; and the Louis database that helps teachers, parents, and students find braille and large print textbooks.
The APH Accessible Textbook Department (formerly called Project ATIC) produces braille and large-print textbooks, as well as large-print digital textbooks for E-Readers. APH’s Tactile Graphic Image Library (TGIL) contains a pool of templates to aid with the creation of tactile graphics. APH Custom Media Production produces braille plaques and custom orders of large-print books.
Accessible Magazines from APH are Reader’s Digest®, Newsweek®, and Scholastic News® (formerly Weekly Reader®) to eligible readers who are blind and visually impaired. Subscriptions to Reader’s Digest® and Newsweek® are free to eligible U.S. citizens, although APH appreciates donations to help defray costs.
The annual cost for each magazine are $152 per person for Reader’s Digest® Braille, $17 per person for one year of Reader’s Digest® Talking Magazine, and $51 per person for Newsweek® Talking Magazine. The options are Readers Digest® Braille, Readers Digest® Digital Talking Book Download, Readers Digest® Cassette Tape, and Readers Digest® Large Print; Newsweek® Digital Talking Book Download and Newsweek® Cassette Tape; and Scholastic News® Large Print & Braille. Note that Scholastic News is not offered free of charge.
One can tour the APH plant and museum in Louisville’s Clifton neighborhood. The Museum of the APH covers tactile alphabets, braillewriters, and Talking Books.
In 2008, an exhibit opened that celebrated the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the APH. There is also the APH Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends in the Blindness Field includes Helen Keller and others who devoted their lives to the cause of education and rehabilitation for the blind.