Braille Institute Santa Barbara welcomes the community to celebrate National Library Week with an afternoon of discovery of the power of books, with activities, storytelling, authors and hands-on demonstrations, 1:30-5 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the Braille Institute, 2031 De La Vina St.

Attendees also can explore a showcase of Braille Institute’s state-of-the-art library and library services.

The open house event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged. Visit, or call 682-6222.

Braille Institute’s Library Services fill a role in the community as the only regional library partnered with the National Library Service to provide reading materials in formats accessible to people who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped or reading disabled.

Braille Institute Santa Barbara empowers people of all ages who otherwise would be unable to access books, magazines and other traditional print publications.

“We welcome our entire community to come enjoy a great afternoon with our special guests, and appreciate the joy of reading,” said Michael Lazarovits, executive director, Braille Institute Santa Barbara.

“We hope this warm welcome will also encourage people to learn about our library services and other free programs that benefit people of all ages with no to low vision,” he said.

The Braille Institute Santa Barbara Library serves more than 3,000 library patrons of all ages throughout the Tri-County area.

Staff circulate nearly 1,600 books, magazines and more each month through the mail, in person, or by downloads. More than 100,000 titles and 1.2 million volumes are accessible from the library’s collection.

Visitors to the open house will meet such local literary figures as author Lee Wardlow, book narrator Yvette Keller, and storyteller Michael Katz. Guests can also talk to reader advisors, who help patrons select just the right book.

Katz, a storyteller since 1984, has been featured at the openings of both the Los Angeles Getty Center and the Disney Concert Hall. He hosts the radio storytelling program Katz Pajamas on NPR station KCBX FM.

He is one of the founding members of the national touring theater company BOXTALES, and was the founding artistic director for the Flying Leap Storytelling Festival in Solvang. Katz has performed at theaters, concert halls, festivals, school assemblies, and libraries throughout the U.S.

Keller is the voice actor and producer of two audiobooks in the Viola Roberts Cozy Mysteries Series, with other projects slated for production this year. Studying literature and psychology at UC Santa Cruz prepared her for a professional career in corporate training and education.

She also studied at Voice One in San Francisco. She currently works in her home studio to produce technical VO industrials and audiobooks for clients and makes books accessible and engaging through Audiobook Creation Exchange.

Wardlaw is the author of some 30 award-winning titles for young readers, ranging from picture books to teen novels. She grew up in Santa Barbara and wrote her first book in second grade. She graduated with from Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, with a B.A. in education.

Wardlaw was a teacher for five years before deciding to write full-time. She has 30-plus years’ experience presenting interactive programs in grades K-8, and has taught classes and workshops for teachers, librarians, parents and aspiring writers.

For more on Braille Institute Santa Barbara, visit

— Angel Pacheco/Juliana Minsky for Braille Institute Santa Barbara.