Free Library Services
Disability Information & Referral Center
A Word from Our Patrons
Getting Started with the Talking Book Program
Spotlight on Texas Books
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
The Talking Book Program provides free library services to Texans who are unable to read standard print material due to visual, physical, or reading disabilities-whether permanent or temporary. In 2005, the program served more than 20,000 Texans either individually or through institutions (schools, nursing homes, hospitals) .
The Talking Book Program is available not only to Texans with visual impairments, but also to those who have physical or learning disabilities that prevent them from using standard print.
Qualified patrons include Texas residents of all ages who:
- are legally blind (vision in the better eye is 20/200 or less after correction, or the widest diameter of visual field is no greater than 20 degrees);
- have prescription glasses, yet are unable to read standard print material without additional magnification devices;
- have physical limitations that prevent them from holding books or turning pages; or
- have reading disabilities due to an organic dysfunction, as certified by a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.).
To begin using our free service, you need to complete an application and have it certified; eligibility requirements are listed above.
If you need more information or an application, please call us toll free at 1-800-252-9605 or in the Austin area at 512-463-5458. Write to us at PO Box 12927, Austin TX 78711-2927, or send an e-mail message to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Similar to a public library, we have over 80,000 titles available in a wide variety of categories, including classics, romances, science fiction, mysteries, westerns, children's selections, and more. Our books are available on digital cartridge, Braille, large print, and audiocassette.
In addition, we have magazines available through digital download, cassette, Braille and large print. You may choose from more than 80 different magazines: Reader's Digest, Newsweek, Guideposts, and Texas Monthly, to name a few. Plus, we have a special collection of books by Texas authors, books about Texas, and books in Spanish.
Best of all, books may be downloaded from the Internet or delivered right to your door through the mail free of charge. Make your selections from a variety of catalogs or let one of our reader consultants assist you. You may contact us by phone, mail, or e-mail.
We provide special playback equipment that is needed to listen to our recorded books and magazines. The equipment is on loan to you for as long as you use our service.
Machines may also be purchased from other sources. For information on purchasing machines, call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll free at 1-800-252-9605 or in the Austin area at 512-463-5458, or go to the NLS factsheet "Sources for Purchase of Cassette Players and Player-Recorders Compatible with Recorded Materials Produced by the National Library Service (NLS)" at http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/sources.html.
The Disability Information & Referral Center of the Talking Book Program is available to assist the general public with questions about disabilites: the Americans with Disabilities Act, adaptive equipment, rehabilitation services, advocacy and support groups, sources for large-print and braille reading materials, and adaptive technology. Call our toll-free number for more information.
"When my vision deteriorated much of the fun of life also disappeared. The Talking Book Program restored much of the zest of living."
"Your program has enlightened my mother's life!"
". . . I send my heartfelt thanks. I wish there was some way that I could express the love in my heart for you who give of yourselves daily to provide for those of us who see too poorly to read . . ."
For more information, call us at 1-800-252-9605
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library & Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)