What we do
The Recording Library of West Texas
Visually Impaired Services, Senior Services, Learning Disability Services & More in Midland, TX
Independence through equal access to information.
The Recording Library’s mission is to produce high quality recordings in order to enrich the lives of those with impairments.
As an organization we are committed to expanding our outreach, maintaining the transparency of our financial and operational practices, and utilizing the latest technology in all of our programs.
Dedicated to improving the lives of people who cannot access the printed word, the Recording Library of West Texas offers audio versions of different forms of media to the visually impaired. From audio version books and audio version magazines to audio versions newspapers and newsletters, we help our community stay connected and better their lives.
We are committed to remaining at the forefront of technological developments in order to deliver our services to all. Our RLWT radio station is available for listening on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Click to listen to live RLWT radio today!
We offer our works in a number of formats to reach the widest possible audience. Our work doesn’t just offer visually impaired services. The Recording Library of West Texas has dyslexia services & other learning disabilities services. We also offer senior services in Midland, TX.
Our services are free of charge, regardless of age, gender, race, religious affiliation or socio-economic level.
Special Feature: Meet The Neighborhood Crock-pot Queen
Norma Lewis, 73, is no stranger to coping with blindness. Diagnosed on her 50th birthday as legally blind, she doesn’t let her lack of sight stop her from doing the things she loves, as a matter of fact, she and her best friend are known as a local Thelma and Louise.
“I love to cook just like my father did. I am known as the Crock-pot Queen,” Lewis said. “I burned myself the other day on a coffee pot, I wasn’t even cooking!” she joked. “I can do everything you can do, but better,” Lewis said. Lewis was diagnosed with diabetes in 1986, the same diagnosis as her mother who had diabetes and was blind most of her life. “It runs in our family, just like our love for music does,” Lewis said.
“I remember the nurses showing me how to give myself a shot using a lemon. Before I knew it I was poking myself with a needle,” she said. Lewis remembers walking to the park near her Midland home. “Before I became blind, I would walk really early in the morning because I love to see the sunrise. I remember the sun coming up winking at me like it was saying, “Good Morning Norma!” Lewis said.
Lewis remembers hearing the doctor talk to the nurse in another room the day she received her diagnosis. “I heard him tell her that he thought I was going blind. I didn’t know if I was supposed to hear him, but I did. I had been seeing a few blurry spots. He came back in, and I asked if I was going blind. He said it was a possibility but we were going to take it day-by-day,” Lewis said.
Lewis is a jack-of-all-trades and plays Piano, Organ, Flute and the Piccolo. She enjoys playing for her church, Macedonia Baptist. “My dad was a musician, he played the Trombone,” Lewis said. Her best friend Verine Franklin drives her around town when she is not taking the E-Z Rider bus.
“She is my age and uses a walker. We still drive around, and I can tell you a lot of tricks we did. My son says we will end up stuck in the middle of the street one day,” she laughs.
Lewis has three sons, Darrell, who is her care-giver, Deric who attends college in Austin for Music Education, and Maurice who passed away from cancer at 28. Lewis was a school teacher for 15 years at Pease Elementary, and has received many awards from the community and her church.
“I used to volunteer a lot, but I am focusing on my mind right now,” Lewis said. Lewis goes to dialysis three times a week. “God is going to help me anyhow. I am like the Little Engine That Could, I always tell myself I can, I can, I can. With God’s help in leading me, I won’t turn back.”
Lewis moved from Austin to Midland with her mother, father, brother and uncle Norman (whom she is named after) in 1956. “I thought we would never make it to Midland. It was a long drive for a 12 year old, and being as black as we were you couldn’t just stop on the side of the road and get a hamburger. Momma had us covered, though. She had made up a bunch of fried chicken, and my brother and I had all we wanted to eat in the back seat,” Lewis said with a smile. “Midland didn’t even have pavement; it was just grass and weeds, but I thought it was still pretty though.”
Lewis attended Huston–Tillotson University in Austin, mostly against her will. “I had no intentions to go to college, and one day my dad told me to pack my bags to go visit Grandma. Next thing I knew, he was dropping me off in front of Huston–Tillotson College,” she laughed. Lewis, who is a jack-of-all-trades, plays Piano, Oregon, Flute and the Piccolo. She enjoys playing for her church, Macedonia Baptist. “My dad was a musician. He played the Trombone,” Lewis said. Lewis’s father, who recently passed away a year ago, was her cushion, she recalls. “I had my daddy for 72 years, and we had a lot of great memories,” Lewis said. ‘I remember as a child he took me to the traveling circus one day in town. I remember riding on his shoulders. The circus came in on a train back then. I didn’t really like those type of people but I loved seeing those elephants,” Lewis said. Yellow and red rose bushes sit outside of Lewis’s home, some bushes were uprooted from her father’s house across the street and planted in her yard in remembrance of her father. Lewis has friends who visit, including her best friend Verine Franklin who will drive her around town and to dialysis when she is not riding the E Z Rider bus. “Verine (pronounced VerNEE), yes, it is spelled that way, her mom spelled it wrong when she was born,” Lewis said. “She is my age and uses a walker. We still drive around, and I can tell you a lot of tricks we did. My son says we will end up stuck in the middle of the street one day,” she laughs. Lewis has three sons: Darrell, who is her care-giver, Deric, who attends college in Austin for Music Education, and Maurice, who passed away from cancer at 28.
“I love to cook just like my father did. I am known as the Crock-Pot Queen,” Lewis said. “I burned myself the other day on a coffee pot. I wasn’t even cooking!” she joked. Lewis uses her sense of smell to choose between seasonings to make her Crock-Pot specialties. “My son will come in every now and then and make sure I am using the right seasoning. Sometimes if I use too much Cayenne, I just won’t say anything,” Lewis joked.
Lewis was a school teacher for 15 years at Pease Elementary, and has received many awards from the community and her church. “I used to volunteer a lot, but I am focusing on my mind right now,” Lewis said. Lewis goes to dialysis three times a week. “God is going to help me anyhow. I am like the Little Engine That Could; I always tell myself I can, I can, I can. With God’s help in leading me, I won’t turn back, “Lewis said.
We are always looking for dedicated supporters of our mission. If you’d like to help us provide learning disabilities services, visually impaired services, and senior services to Midland, TX, here’s how you can get involved:
Become a Reader: Without our readers, we’d have a hard time delivering our audio version books, audio version newspapers, audio version magazines and more to our clients! We provide thorough training and help you throughout every step to become a skilled digital reader.
Volunteer: Maybe reading out loud isn’t your thing. There are plenty of other opportunities for you to help out. Call our office today to learn about other volunteer opportunities.
Donate: Every donation helps us achieve our mission of helping those who must read by listening. We thank you for your support! Whether you’d like to become a reader or donate to our cause, we are grateful for every bit of support we receive. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities Services
Podcasting, Audio Version Books & Other Audio Recording Services in Midland, TX
The Recording Library of West Texas opened in 1963 with the goal of providing equal access to the printed word for students and adults living with dyslexia, learning disabilities or visual impairment. We serve communities in the Odessa and Midland, TX areas.