COLUMBUS, Ga — Every Monday at the Columbus Public Library, you’ll find three high tech helpers working to provide service to disabled readers.
The three roll up their sleeves once a week and work to fix audio machines used to play book recordings to the blind and others who need the help.
Charles Batastini, Ralph Mitchell, and Charles Hancock say they spend between anywhere between four and eight hours a week repairing the machines which come shipped to Columbus from all around Georgia.
The machines are provided for use at the library free of charge to anyone with disabilities.
“This is a great addition to their life I think,” Batastini says. “Being able to get any books they want and play them, and at no cost to them.”
Batastini, Mitchell, and Hancock started their volunteer work with the library back in 1990 when they used to work at Bell South.
They say they used their technical training to work the repairs on the audio books.
“We’d work during our lunch hour a lot of times and then we’d come back after work a couple of nights a week and work on the machines,” Batastini says.
They continue their volunteer work 26 years later because they feel they are making a difference for anyone who just needs a little help reading books.
Priscilla Williams is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Chattahoochee Valley libraries. She says these men are just three of the 300 volunteers who donate their time to the libraries – and every minute counts.
“It’s just amazing to see so many people that do things out of their free time … give of themselves without expecting anything in return,” Williams says.