Talking Book Program Loan Policy

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General Information
Free Matter Mailing
Misuse of TBP Service

Related Links

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

The Talking Book Program (TBP) is proud to provide reading materials for readers with print disabilities free of charge. All materials and equipment are loaned to readers, and must be returned as described in this policy.

General Information

  • Materials and equipment are loaned to you alone. Do not share them with others.
  • If you become ineligible for the program, all materials must be returned immediately.
  • Defective or broken materials should be returned to TBP right away.
  • All materials are free to mail back to TBP. No postage is ever required.
  • TBP will NEVER charge you a fine for late, lost, or damaged materials, but your service may be suspended if you repeatedly lose, damage, or fail to return materials on time.

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  • TBP loans Braille, large print, single-book digital audiobook cartridges, and multi-book audiobook cartridges.
  • The loan period for books is 45 days, except for multi-book cartridges, which are loaned for 60 days.
  • Loan periods start when the book leaves the library. Estimate about one week for books to travel back to TBP.
  • Due dates are printed on the mailing card of each single-book cartridge. Mailing cards for multi-book cartridges do not show due dates.
  • Single book cartridges have flat mailing cards. Multi-book cartridges have folded mailing cards.
  • To return a book with a FLAT mailing card, flip the card over. TBP’s address is printed on the back.
  • To return a book with a FOLDED mailing card, remove the card and discard it. TBP’s address is printed on the cartridge case.
  • Before returning defective or broken books, please call TBP and let us know about the problem.
  • If you lose a mailing container, contact TBP for a label and envelope in which to return the book.
  • If you lose a book, please let us know so that we can remove that book from your current loans.
  • Book loans may be renewed only one time, but you are welcome to request the same book multiple times.

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  • The loan period for large print magazines and single magazine cartridges is 21 days, and starts from the time the magazine is mailed to you.
  • Multi-magazine cartridges containing weekly magazines have a loan period of 5 weeks, starting from the time the cartridge is mailed to you.
  • Multi-magazine cartridges containing monthly magazines have a loan period of 9 weeks, starting from the time the cartridge is mailed to you.
  • To return magazines, turn the flat mailing card over and reinsert it. The return address is printed on the back of the card.
  • If you do not return a magazine on time, you may not receive the next issue.
  • Braille magazines are yours to keep or recycle.

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  • Individuals may only have one playback machine at a time.
  • Institutions may have multiple machines if they serve multiple readers.
  • Keep the box and mailing card for your machine. You will need it when you return the machine.
  • Do not attempt to repair or modify playback equipment. Call TBP for help with malfunctioning equipment.
  • You must be an active patron of TBP to borrow equipment. To be active in the program, you must download or check out at least one book or magazine each year.
  • If you become ineligible or are no longer using your equipment, return it as soon as possible. Others may be waiting for a machine to use.
  • TBP may recall equipment for various reasons including maintenance, audits, inactivity, and repair. TBP may suspend your service if you don’t return equipment when asked.

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Free Matter Mailing

No postage is required to borrow or return materials; the costs are covered by the Postal Service’s Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped service.

Postal regulations require users of Free Matter to register with their local post office.

When returning materials, place them in your mailbox or take them to the Post Office. Mail carriers are not required to pick them up from your doorstep.

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Misuse of TBP Service

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 you.

Your borrowing privileges may be suspended if you:

  • Damage or deface books, equipment, mailing cases or boxes.
  • Repeatedly lose materials and equipment.
  • Have a large number of overdue books or magazines, or repeatedly lose books and magazines.
  • Use obscene, harassing, degrading or threatening language or behavior toward TBP staff.
  • Loan books, magazines, or equipment to others.
  • Violate other TBP policies.

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

If TBP determines that suspension is warranted, your service will be suspended for 6 months. Only the portion of the service that has been abused will be affected.

Service may be restarted after the suspension ends. Contact us at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 to restart your service.

Especially egregious violations such as threatening staff will result in 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: February 23, 2024