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.


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 when the loan period is up.

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 section of this policy for more information.

B. If you decide to cancel service or if you become ineligible for any reason, all books and magazines that you have checked out must be returned to the Talking Book Program.

C. You may not lend State Library materials to other people.

D. Please return all defective materials to the State Library. If you receive a broken book or if one breaks while you are reading it, please do the following:

1. If the damaged book is on cassette, place a rubber band around the damaged cassette and place it on top of the other cassettes in the container. For other media, go to number 2.

2. Flip the mailing card over so that the State Library's return address appears.

3. 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.

4. Do not attach string, bread ties, or other objects to the outside of the container to signify damaged material.

5. Contact us at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 if you would like a replacement sent for your damaged book. Replacements are not automatically sent when broken books are returned.

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Loan Periods

A. Books

1. Individuals may keep a book on loan for up to 45 days.

2. Schools may keep a book for 90 days.

3. Other institutions may keep a book on loan for 120 days.

B. Magazines

1. Individuals may keep shared magazines (circulated in hard plastic mailing containers) for 21days.

2. Direct magazines (usually shipped in cardboard mailing containers) are yours to keep.

3. Schools and other institutions may keep shared magazines for 45 days.

C. 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.

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

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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 in which your machine arrived. You may 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 at least one book 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. You may not lend, sell, or otherwise dispose of playback equipment or accessories to other persons.

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

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G. Never throw away or discard a machine or equipment that is damaged. Return equipment in need of repair to the State Library. A replacement will be sent to you.

H. To ensure immediate replacement, contact the Talking Book Program at (512) 463-5458 or 1-800-252-9605 or email us at

Changes in Address or Service

A. Please notify the Talking Book Program if you move to a different address or if you get a different phone number. You should also notify the Talking Book Program if you decide to cancel your service or if you wish to place your service on temporary hold.

B. Please call the Talking Book Program if your address changes to a location outside the state 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 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 regional 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 1-800-252-9605

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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 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.

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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. Repeatedly 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. Repeatedly use obscene, harassing, degrading or threatening language or behavior to any Talking Book Program staff member(s).

5. Repeatedly loan books, magazines, or equipment to other persons.

6. Ignore other policies described in this document.

C. If it appears that you have misused service in any way, our staff will first discuss the problem with you by telephone or in person. The Talking Book Program 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 staff will send a notice suspending your service.

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E. The suspension period will not exceed six months and will only affect that portion of the service that has been abused. Service will resume after the suspension ends. You will be notified by mail that your service will be returning to normal.

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
telephone 512-463-5460, fax 512-463-5436

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: August 24, 2011