Student Resources for Reading Disabilities

The Talking Book Program (TBP) provides digital audio, large print and Braille books and magazines to Texans who cannot read standard print due to a qualifying visual, physical or reading disability. Service for students is available both at home and in the classroom. TBP is a division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and has served Texans with disabilities since 1931, and Texas was one of the first states to join the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress.

Throughout Texas, children with disabilities that prevent them from reading standard print are enjoying the world of reading through TBP. While we do not have textbooks in our collection, TBP offers thousands of books that students can use in their schoolwork.

The collection includes titles for all ages, including literary classics, fairy tales, poetry, mysteries, sports, science fiction and biographies.  Many Newbery, Caldecott, Bluebonnet and Lone Star award-winning titles are also available. Most of our materials are provided by NLS, a program administered by the Library of Congress. To supplement the national collection, Texas volunteers have recorded hundreds of books about Texas and the Southwest, along with Spanish-language titles and children's books.

Books may be downloaded via the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app on iOS and Android devices. The downloadable collection contains more than 110,000 books and more than 80 magazines in audio format, and it is growing rapidly.

In addition to providing books, TBP also offers many national magazines that students can use in school and recreation. These include National Geographic Kids, Seventeen, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Spider, Conundrum, and others. Not all magazines are available in all formats. A list of available magazines is provided upon registration.

TBP provides:

  • Thousands of book titles and magazines in a variety of categories.
  • Personalized service from reader consultants and librarians.

You can receive books and magazines:

  • By download to portable devices using the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app.

Who is eligible?
Texans of all ages who:

  • Have reading disabilities of an organic origin, such as dyslexia.
  • Are legally blind.
  • Are unable to read standard print without special aids other than regular glasses.
  • Have physical limitations that prevent them from holding books or turning pages.

The disability may be temporary or a lifelong need.

How do I apply?
If a person meets one or more of the criteria above, fill out an application and have it certified.

For more information or to have an application sent to you:
Call toll-free: 1-800-252-9605
In the Austin area, call: 512-463-5458
Write to us: P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927
Email: tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov

Certifying Authorities
Certifying authority is defined to include doctors of medicine and osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, registered nurses, therapists, professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., reading specialists, dyslexia specialists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation counselors, teachers and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress. Certifying authorities are not permitted to certify relatives.

Disability Support Services
The Disability Information and Referral Center (DIRC) provides information about disabilities and health-related topics. You do not have to be a member of the Talking Book Program in order to use DIRC services. Staff are available to answer questions and provide resources about various disabilities and health conditions, technology, independent living, education, elderly issues, transition services, etc. The DIRC also features a collection of disability-related print books and videos for loan. For more information about the DIRC, click here.

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Talking Book Program (TBP) members can use the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) to download and read audio books on your smartphone or tablet using the BARD Mobile app.

  • Download books whenever you want.
  • Get as many books as you want.
  • Keep books as long as you want.
  • Store multiple books on one device.
  • Carry your favorite books in a portable format.

Get Started with BARD:

1. Register for the Talking Book Program (TBP). To qualify, a person must have a visual, physical, or organic reading disability that prevents him or her from reading standard print.
2. Register for BARD (must be a patron of TBP). Complete a brief online application or call 1-800-252-9605.

How to download:

From BARD Mobile app on a smartphone or tablet:

  • Download BARD Mobile from app store.
  • Log into app.
  • Download your book.
  • Play book on your smartphone or tablet.

Talking Book Program Brochures and Flyers

Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program

To order books or for general information: 1-800-252-9605
To request an application or ask about enrollment: 1-800-252-9605
To access the toll-free information line: 1-866-388-6397
To contact the Disability Information and Referral Center: 1-800-252-9605
To contact the Public Awareness Office: 1-512-463-5452 or 1-800-252-9605
To send email to anyone in the Talking Book Program: tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov
To ask for assistance using BARD: 1-800-252-9605 or tbp.bard@tsl.texas.gov
To ask a librarian for reading advice or reference assistance: 1-800-252-9605 or tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov
To access the TBP website: www.TexasTalkingBooks.org
To access the TBP blog: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texastalkingbooks/
To see the TBP book club schedule: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/tbpbookclub/index.html

 

Page last modified: January 30, 2020