ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A new resource is available at the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library for people who are colorblind.
A group called EnChroma provided the library with glasses that allow those who are colorblind the ability to see color. It’s part of a statewide initiative to have these glasses at all Tennessee public libraries.
Sullivan County native 9-year-old Derek Franklin is one of 13 million Americans who are colorblind. He was one of the first to try on the glasses to experience color.
His mother, Cassie, said that this was an emotional experience for the family as this is something that Derek has dealt with his whole life.
“He has some uncles that are legally blind,” Cassie Franklin said. “We know that we’d be facing battles with him a [being] male, but we didn’t know exactly what we’d be facing.”
One in every 12 men experience some form of colorblindness, according to the National Eye Institute.
Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library Cataloger Rebecca Duggar said that she loved the idea of bringing the glasses to the library. There’s special significance for her and the library due to a few employees there being colorblind.
She said that there will be four glasses available at the library for checkout. All that’s needed to get a pair is to have a library card.
“It’s very exciting for me to be able to give this gift of color to people in our community,” Duggar said.
It hasn’t always been easy for Derek due to the fact that he experienced bullying in the past for his colorblindness. His mother said that he’s always remained positive.
“Kids would bully him perhaps if he didn’t know the right colors,” Cassie Franklin said. “My son’s not stupid; he was just challenged. Now, he gets to see more of the world.”
As the area starts the transition to the fall season, Derek said that he’s excited to see the pumpkins in their orange color.
Derek’s father, Charlie, said that it’s special to see his son get to see the world in color.
“The sheer joy you see on his face when he’s able to see the colors, for lack of a better word, it’s amazing,” Charlie Franklin said.
The glasses will rotate amongst local libraries in regional groups. Duggar said the glasses will rotate to Johnson City next.