Talking Book Program Loan Policy

Internal Links

Books & Magazines
Loan Period
Playback Equipment
Changes in Address or Service
Use of U.S. Mail
Misuse of Service/Suspension

Related Links

Getting Started with the Talking Book Program
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

Helpful Borrowing Hints for Patrons of the Talking Book Program

Checking out books, magazines, and playback equipment and accessories from the Texas State Library and Archive Commission's Talking Book Program is quick and easy to do. Just like most libraries, we do have a few rules and policies that we'd like you to know about.

We are serving more and more Texans every day. You can help your program to run smoothly and efficiently by following these rules. We've listed them below so that you'll have your own copy to refer back to at any time.

To remain active in our service, you must order one book or magazine per year, or download one item from BARD. If your service becomes inactive, you must return all materials and playback equipment to the library.


In accordance with federal law, the Talking Book Program gives preference in the lending of books and equipment to patrons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.

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Books and Magazines

A.     All books must be returned at the end of the loan period.

  1. This includes recorded, large print, and Braille books. Remember, others are waiting for these books, so please show consideration by returning materials on time.
  2. Refer to Loan Periods and Quotas section of this policy for more information.                

B.     If you decide to cancel service or if you become ineligible for any reason, all materials that you have checked out must be returned.

C.     Do not lend TBP materials to other people.

D.     Return all defective materials to TBP.

E.     If you receive a broken book or if one breaks while you are reading it, please do the following:

  1. Flip the mailing card over so that the State Library’s return address appears.
  2. Place an “X” on the UPPER LEFT-HAND CORNER of the mailing card.  Use a colored pen or marker if possible. This “X” will alert our staff that something is wrong with the book.
  3. Do not attach string, bread ties, rubber bands, or other objects to the outside of the mailing container.
  4. Contact us at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 if you would like a replacement for the damaged book.  Replacements are not automatically sent when broken books are returned.

F.     If you receive an empty digital book container, treat it as a broken book. Contact TBP at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 so that the book will not be counted against your quota.

G.     If you lose the container that came with a digital book cartridge, you must still return the cartridge. Mail it back in a padded envelope, or contact TBP at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605. We will send you a label and cardboard envelope with which to return the cartridge.

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Loan Periods

A.    General Information

Loan periods start when the book leaves the library. Mail your books in time for them to arrive at the library by their due dates.

Each book’s due date can be found on its mailing card.

TBP may impose quotas on materials due to supply and budgetary or other issues. Currently, patrons may check out no more than 5 digital books at one time.

B.     Books

  1. Individuals must return borrowed books by the end of the 45 day loan period.
  2. Schools must return borrowed books by the end of the 90 day loan period.
  3. Other institutions must return borrowed books by the end of 120 days.

C.     Magazines

  1. Individuals must return shared (loaned) cassette magazines (circulated in hard plastic mailing containers) by the end of the 21 day loan period.
  2. Direct cassette magazines (usually shipped in cardboard mailing containers) are yours to keep.
  3. Schools and other institutions may keep shared cassette magazines for 45 days.

D.     Please call the Talking Book Program at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 if you have a question about the loan period for any of your subscriptions.

E.     You will not be charged a fine for overdue materials; however, failure to abide by the Loan Policy may result in suspension of service for up to six months.

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A.     You may renew books that are less than 3 weeks overdue upon request.

B.     You may renew magazines that are less than one week overdue upon request.

C.     Renewal periods are the same length as loan periods (see II.) and begin on the day following the last day of the original loan period.

D.     Items may only be renewed one time each.

E.     There is no limit to the number of books and/or magazines that may be renewed at one time.

F.     An item cannot be renewed if another patron has placed a reserve on it, by an inactive patron, or if any item on loan is too far overdue.

G.     To renew books or magazines, call a Reader Consultant at 512-463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605.

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Playback Equipment

A.     An individual may only have one playback machine of each type on loan at any given time.

B.     Institutions may have multiple machines, depending on circumstances.

C.     Do not throw away the box or mailing card with which your machine arrived. You will need it to return worn or defective equipment.

D.     Playback equipment and accessories may be borrowed for as long as you are actively using the service. You must be receiving a magazine subscription or check out or download  at least one book or magazine  from the Talking Book Program each year in order to remain active.

E.     All playback equipment and accessories must be returned if you become ineligible or no longer use the service. Do not lend, sell, or give playback equipment or accessories to other persons.

F.     Never attempt to make repairs on playback equipment or accessories.

G.     Never remove or attempt to replace batteries in playback equipment.

H.     Never throw away or discard a machine or equipment that is damaged.  Return equipment in need of repair to TBP.

I.     A replacement machine will be sent only after the returned machine checks in at the library.  Contact the Talking Book Program at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 or email us at if you must return a machine.

J.     The Talking Book Program may recall playback equipment for repair, maintenance, audit, inactivity, or other reasons. Failure to return playback equipment when requested to do so may result in suspension of your service.

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Changes in Address or Service

A.     Notify the Talking Book Program immediately if you change your address or phone number. If mail is returned or we cannot contact you, your service will be suspended until you update your information. You should also notify the Talking Book Program if you decide to cancel your service or if you wish to place all or part of your service on temporary hold.

B.     Please call the Talking Book Program if you move out of Texas. If you will be living outside the state of Texas for six months or longer, you will no longer be eligible to receive service as a Texas resident and you must return all books and magazines. You may take your playback equipment with you to your new state.  Please call us at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 and we will transfer your service and playback equipment to the talking book library in your new state.

C.     If you think you have become ineligible for the services of the Talking Book Program, please contact us at (512) 463-5458 or

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Use of U.S. Mail Service

A.     No postage is required to borrow or return materials. Most of the materials sent out by the Talking Book Program may be mailed as Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

B.     To return materials to the Talking Book Program, flip the mailing card over so that the State Library’s return address appears, then place the items in your mailbox or take them to the post office. The card is oriented correctly when the clipped edge is in the upper right-hand corner. Some mail carriers will pick up items left on the doorstep or in other places, but they are not required to do so.

C.     Please contact your local post office if you are experiencing mail problems.  Postal regulations require that anyone who mails materials as Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped must register with their local post office.  Some post offices are stricter than others.  Talking to your post office may clear up any problems you may be experiencing.  If a mail carrier refuses to pick up materials, you are responsible for returning them to the post office.


Misuse of Service/Suspension

A.     Please don’t misuse or abuse your service. It is our pleasure to serve the patrons of the Talking Book Program. Please treat our materials, equipment and staff with the care and respect we afford our patrons.

B.     Your borrowing privileges may be suspended if you:

  1. Damage or deface books, equipment, mailing cases or packing boxes.
  2. Make repeated requests for replacement of equipment or materials that have been damaged through carelessness, abuse, or unauthorized repair.
  3. Have a large number of overdue books or magazines, or repeatedly lose books and magazines.
  4. Use obscene, harassing, degrading or threatening language or behavior to any Talking Book Program staff member(s).
  5. Loan books, magazines, or equipment to other persons.
  6. Violate other TBP policies.

C.     If it appears that you have misused service, our staff will discuss the problem with you by telephone. TBP will then send you a letter that states the problem and provides an opportunity for you to respond by a certain date.

D.     To avoid suspension, you must contact the Talking Book Program before the scheduled suspension date and be prepared to explain why suspension should not take place. If misuse of service continues or happens repeatedly, the State Library will suspend your service.

E.     The suspension period will be six months and will only affect that portion of the service that has been abused. Service may be restarted after the suspension ends. Contact us at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 to restart your service.

F.     Especially egregious policy violations, including, but not limited to,  threatening staff are subject to immediate suspension without notice.

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*Be sure to save your copy of the Talking Book Program Loan Policy!*

If you have any questions regarding your service or about any of the books, magazines, or equipment that you have received, please call the Talking Book Program at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605. We will be glad to help you in any way that we can.

Comments or complaints regarding programs and services of the Talking Book Program may be addressed to:

Director and Librarian
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin, TX 78711-2927

Copies of this publication are available in alternative format upon request.

Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas); 512-463-5458 (Austin area);
512-936-0685 (fax)

Page last modified: January 22, 2016