Braille & Talking Book Library
Kim Charlson was appointed director of the Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library in 2001 following 16 years as the Service Management Librarian and Assistant Director. She has distinguished herself as a recognized national and international expert on library and information services for people with disabilities, braille literacy, adaptive technology in libraries, and information access.
Ms. Charlson serves on a number of committees for the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and as a national member of the Braille Authority of North America, the standard-setting body for braille in the United States and Canada. She is chair of the Massachusetts Braille Literacy Advisory Council, past treasurer of the international Council on English Braille, and has served as an appointed member of both the Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Policy and the Secretary of State’s Help America Vote Act Advisory Committee. She was unanimously elected as the first woman president of the American Council of the Blind in 2013.
She is also active in a wide range of consumer advocacy arenas including arts access and audio description, accessible currency, civil rights, guide dog access issues and special education.
In addition to her many other responsibilities, Ms. Charlson has published Establishing a Braille Literacy Program in Your Community: A Handbook for Libraries and Other Community Organizations. She has contributed to numerous other publications including a chapter on braille library services in the book, Braille: Into the Next Millennium, which was published by the Library of Congress. She is a contributing author to the book, Making Theatre Accessible: A Guide to Audio Description in the Performing Arts, published by Northeastern University Press. Recently, she has published Drawing with Your Perkins Brailler, an instructional book for using Braille to create tactile pictures that blind children and adults can share with sighted people.
In 2004, she was inducted into the Massachusetts Library Association Hall of Fame. In spring 2005, she was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker, in spring 2006, she was honored as the Alumni of the Year by the University of North Texas, School of Library & Information Science, Denton, Texas. In the fall of 2008, she was honored with a Special Recognition Award for outstanding community service by the Watertown-Belmont Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Charlson has a master’s in library science, summa cum laude, from the University of North Texas.