oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

School for the Deaf expands video library services, houses national collection

A woman stands in front of shelves of DVDs.

The Oklahoma School for the Deaf (OSD) in Sulphur now hosts the only educational video library of its kind in the U.S. OSD’s National Accessible Learning Center, which operates in collaboration with the Oklahoma School for the Blind, houses approximately 70,000 educational videos specially formatted for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired.

Since the early 1960s, OSD’s lending library has distributed films and videos free of charge with onscreen text that translates spoken words and sounds. Now, the program also offers audio descriptions of images and actions for students with vision disabilities.

“Our video library program is better for parents and students than a mail order system like Netflix because it’s free and educational,” Larry Hawkins, OSD superintendent. “Even better, this program is funded by a grant rather than state tax dollars.”

The center is the only video library in the United States with the sole purpose of providing described and captioned videos to students who need assistance because they have hearing or visual disabilities. It is currently performing the operations once shared by more than 60 libraries across the country.

“Now that we’re the only depository in the nation, we expect to send out 5,000 videos per month during the school year,” Max Martin, NALC director, said.

In a progressive move, the OSD video library will begin phasing out all VHS videos by only adding new DVD’s that contain both captioned and described programming making the mailings more cost effective and storage feasible. Each year the program is projected to receive 300 new pieces of dual media for distribution.

“When the center receives a video order and mails out a DVD in its special DVD envelope, the mailing cost drops from $1.51 for VHS mail outs to .32 cents,” Martin said. “This savings is especially important due to the fact that the program pays the postage to and from the customers. By moving in this direction, we can save more than $2,300 per 1,000 videos distributed.”

The OSD gets its inventory through the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), which is funded by a $7.5 million agreement between the National Association for the Deaf and U.S. Department of Education.

To order a video, school personnel or parents sign on to the DCMP website at www.dcmp.org, view the movie catalogue, make a selection and submit the order. If they have any problems or questions, they can call the Oklahoma School for the Deaf at 1-888-685-3323 and ask for Starla Allen.

The DCMP benefits 80,000 registered users with an annual audience of more than three million. Many of them will take advantage of OSD’s NALC video collection to advance the education of a deserving student.

The Oklahoma School for the Deaf provides residential, satellite pre-school, early intervention and outreach education services at no charge to families of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. For more information call (888) 685-3323, toll free phone/TTY/TDD.