CNIB awards Donna Christensen for advancing library services for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted

CNIB awarded Donna Christensen the 2012 Dr. Dayton M. Forman Memorial Award on Friday, October 26th for her outstanding leadership in the advancement of library and information services for Canadians with vision loss or a print disability.

Accepting the award Ms. Donna Christensen             

Photo caption from left to right: Ms. Paula Harris, Chair, Didsbury Municipal Library, Ms. Pamela Marzolini, Braille Volunteer, Friend of the Forman Family, accepting the award Ms. Donna Christensen, Ms. Jane Beaumont, Chair, National Board of Directors, CNIB. 

The award was presented at a luncheon held in conjunction with the 2012 CNIB Braille Conference in Toronto, Ontario. The selection committee unanimously chose Donna as this year’s recipient.

Since 2007, Donna has worked for the Didsbury Municipal Library where she began to oversee the CNIB Library Partner Program– a service that offers public libraries access to the CNIB Library’s entire collection for their patrons with print disabilities.

“A driving motivation for me has always been to ensure all citizens have equal access to the written word. It quickly became apparent to me that this service was grossly underused, and given that Didsbury is a small town with a population of under 5,000, we’re in a position to provide a high level of personalized service for those who can benefit from accessing library materials in alternative formats,” says Donna.

She also secured funding to purchase additional audio book players and interviewed patrons with print disabilities to build a customized service approach that matched books to their individual interests.

In addition to improving the Partners Program in Didsbury, Donna created a number of outreach programs for seniors, implemented an innovative multimedia story-time for pre-schoolers and initiated eBook services for library patrons.

“Thanks to Donna’s remarkable dedication, the Didsbury Municipal Library usage of the CNIB Library collection rivals that of other libraries many times its size,” says Margaret McGrory, Vice President, Executive Director, CNIB Library. “It’s the exemplary work of people like Donna that helps to ensure the three million Canadians with print disabilities are aware of, and have access to, library services, just like any other citizen.”

About The Dayton Forman Memorial Award

Dr. Dayton M. Forman was an exceptional humanitarian and longstanding CNIB volunteer. He exemplified the leadership skills required to make a difference in the lives of Canadians who cannot easily access printed material. In 1996, the CNIB Library Board established The Dayton Forman Memorial Award in his honour.

About the CNIBLibrary

The CNIB Library offers the largest accessible public library-type collection in Canada providing comprehensive services and equitable access to information for Canadians with print disabilities. Today, the CNIB Library circulates 2.6 million books, magazines and newspapers every year to people with print disabilities across Canada, in a range of formats including digital audio, braille and DAISY.

For more information, please contact:

Joy Charlton
Executive Assistant, Recording Secretary and
Manager, Library Administration
CNIB Library
Tel: 416-486-2500 ext. 7522