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Women on the Move: Leigh Anne Focareta

The wonders of life and how so many pieces can come together so perfectly never ceases to amaze me. When one has OCD tendencies you tend to want to have control of your surroundings so when placed in a situation where there is no control you can feel helpless and lost.

Shelves containing books Photo credit: xandert from morguefile.com
Photo credit: xandert from morguefile.com

A good example of this lost feeling is when I began losing my vision and I had to learn how to focus only on what I could still see. When I allowed myself to think “I wish I could see further ahead” that was when the fear, helpless and hopelessness would set in. Looking at just the point where I was became so much more manageable. This learning process hasn’t been easy and it is ongoing.

While I am not capable of understanding why I lost my sight I do believe that it happened in part to bring me where I am at this moment. I’ve talked previously about some of the remarkable people I have met out here in the blogosphere so it was a welcome surprise that when my friend Marcel did my photo shoot he mentioned that he needed to introduce me to Leigh Anne, a friend of his. He said that she might appreciate my blog since she is also vision impaired. I immediately told him “yes” to get us (her and I) connected. And then I forgot the conversation.

Later that evening when I was looking over comments on my blog I came across one from a woman named Leigh Anne with whom I previously exchanged comments with on her blog. I thought “hmmm, could it be?” Having nothing else to go on but her name and location I sent her a comment asking if she knew Marcel. She did.

I must mention that when Marcel was talking about Leigh Anne he said she is just a wonderful person and one of his favorite people. There aren’t enough words to express how delighted I was to know that Leigh Anne was the same person Marcel spoke of so highly earlier in the day.

Leigh Anne and I talked via email and of course I asked her if I could profile her on Bold Blind Beauty because I love the way she writes. And the rest as they say is history.

Leigh Anne is a Senior Librarian in the Reference Services department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She and her coworkers collaborate to provide accurate information to the over 13,000 inquiries a year that are received via in-person, e-mail, virtual chat, telephone, and regular mail.

As one of the book buyers for the current events collection, if you heard about a book on the radio, saw it featured on television, or read about it in print or online, Leigh Anne is probably one of the people who purchased it for the library.

Leigh Anne is also the lead editor for the library’s adult reading blog, Eleventh Stack eleventhstackwordpress.com – every weekday that the library is open, they publish news and information about great books, music and movies to check out, as well as other library programs and services.

In addition, Leigh Anne is part of the team who produces the monthly Reference Department newsletter, “Just the Facts,” which you can sign up for here www.carnegielibrary.org/locations/reference and which provides the inside scoop on the many different kinds of tools you can use to help get your questions answered. Her most recent special assignment is to serve on a work group that will investigate ways to make the library even more accessible for people with disabilities in the Southwestern PA region.

Offline, Leigh Anne is a playwright who has had work produced at Duquesne University, The Pittsburgh New Works Festival, and Pittsburgh Technical Institute. Occasionally her work touches on her experiences with congenital nystagmus. An extremely gifted writer, she also has two blogs at Be Less Amazing belessamazing.wordpress.com and Reading Challenged readingchallenged.wordpress.com.

Congenital nystagmus, a condition present at birth, is the cause of Leigh Anne’s vision impairment. With this condition, the eyes move together as they oscillate (swing like a pendulum). Leigh Anne’s nystagmus has rendered her legally blind in her right eye, and severely restricts her peripheral vision on that side. But as you can clearly see Leigh Anne’s vision impairment has not deterred her from being a person who goes above and beyond. I love what she posted on April 8 and wanted to share it with you. This was a writing challenge of 50 words:

Reading for Beginners
By libraryalchemy

Begin with the Bible, even if,
Later, you put it aside, because
In the beginning Was the word.

Next, pick texts lexiles ahead.
Show potential: Harriet the Spy.

For adolescence, shake up school:
Saga, Watchmen.

Graduate. Go gonzo.
Take this show On the Road.

Grow up. Read. Read more.
Repeat.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

One thought on “Women on the Move: Leigh Anne Focareta

  1. […] Stephanae V. McCoy graciously did a feature on me in her spirited, inspiring blog, Bold Blind Beauty. It’s definitely a compliment to be […]

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