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Voice of the Blue Ridge logo, blue mountain range

Voice of the Blue Ridge

3435 Melrose Avenue

Roanoke, Virginia 24017     


540-985-8992 (fax)

Enriching the lives of those with vision impairments

 Resources for the blind and low vision



Dial-In News Service

Most people read newspapers whenever and wherever they can find time to do so. They may scan headlines early in the morning before work, glance at cartoons during breaks and read lengthy features late in the evening. People with print-impairments, however, rarely have those choices.

The fortunate ones in this area who use the WVTF Radio Reading Service can hear their newspapers read to them, but they must follow a broadcast schedule to do so. If these listeners work, however, they may not be able to listen at the scheduled hour, and they may miss their papers altogether.

Dial-In News, a completely independent project of Voice of the Blue Ridge, now gives these people their daily paper in an automated format available to them on their personal schedules twenty-four hours every day. And along with their newspapers, Dial-In offers a kind of literary freedom rare to people with print-impairments.

Begun in 1995, the project teams a powerful computer with local newspapers, regional volunteers and people who cannot see to read their own papers. Through this very special blend of electronics, volunteerism and genuine needs, newspapers are now available to a growing audience with widely varied schedules and interests.

Begun with the assistance of a grant from the Virginia Assistive Technology office in Richmond, Voice of the Blue Ridge has pledged to serve all eligible people in the Commonwealth with free services over toll-free telephone lines. Utilizing the power of the computer, Voice of the Blue Ridge also plans to add other newspapers in the future to meet that original commitment and to fulfill the realistic needs of a growing number of working clients. Apply for the Dial-In News Service

Lending Library

We offer a library of over 400 books to our consumers. The books are in a variety of formats ranging from cassette, CD and Braille. All persons eligible for the Dial in News Service are allowed access to this library. You can call us to have the materials sent to you or e-mail us at Click here to see a list of books.


Assistive Technology Center

Our Assistive Technology Center is currently equipped with five computer workstations. We offer training in computer technology in a classroom setting by an experienced trainer. Classes are ongoing and new classes are always forming. Contact our office for more information. It is available for use to all who are visually/print impaired. Using special assistive technologies people with these disabilities can gain or regain access to the benefits offered by computer.

Our center is equipped with a scanner, printer, braille embosser, and internet access. Using programs such as Jaws for Windows, Open Book, Zoom Text, and Duxbury, sight/print impaired persons can gain access to a new level of independence and information. Center users gain access to, or are able to do things, such as:

Radio Reading Services

When people can no longer read newspapers and magazines because of vision or other physical problems, those people can often use radio reading services, a network of radio stations that broadcast printed materials through closed circuit radio stations throughout the United States. In the Roanoke area, including southwest and central Virginia, Voice of the Blue Ridge has partnered with WVTF Public Radio's reading service since 1981.

In this area, Voice of the Blue Ridge provides eligible clients with free radios tuned to WVTF's Radio Reading Service frequency.

Click here to see the current Radio Reading Service Schedule

Apply for the Radio Reading Service

Radio Reading Service Web Site

wvtf log

Audio Description Services

In essence the audio description system is a small radio station in essence, with a trained narrator located backstage talking into cordless headsets worn by low-vision or blind audience members. The narrator describes sets, costumes and the all-important action that occurs between and among dialogue and music. The narrator acts as the eyes of the audience to bring the complete magic of the theater to those people who can no longer see.

Large-Print Calendars

The Voice of the Blue Ridge provides large print calendars for the blind and visually impaired in Virginia. The calendars are 17 inches wide, by 11 inches deep. The numbers in the calendar are 3/4-inch high. There is no charge for calendars sent to Virginia residents. There is a minimal $5.00 fee for calendars shipped out of state. On large orders, there will be a freight charge; otherwise, shipment is free.
The annual calendars are usually ready for shipment November 1.

To order a calendar send an email request to Sherrie Oliver at, call toll free 1-866-985-8900 or mail a letter request to Voice of the Blue Ridge, 3435 Melrose Avenue, Roanoke, VA  24017.