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A Brief History

The only facility of its kind in Minnesota, the Communication Center began in 1953 as a public/private partnership with the State of Minnesota providing braille and audio transcription services.

Initial funding came from the Hamm Foundation of St. Paul, and services were extended by grants from other family and corporate foundations, public funds and individual gifts. The Minnesota Legislature passed legislation in 1979 that made the Communication Center part of Minnesota State Services for the Blind. The change allowed the Communication Center to receive additional state and federal funding.

The Radio Talking Book went on the air in 1969 through the continuing support of the Hamm Foundation and cooperative agreements with Minnesota Public Radio, providing a radio reading service of books, magazines and daily newspapers. Daily newspapers have been available by telephone since 1980. More recently, the Newsline Services (through the National Federation of the Blind) makes national and international news sources available by phone, web and smartphone app.

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