Announcing Braille on Demand Service from NLS

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) just announced the launch of Braille on Demand. This new service allows braille readers to request one title per month in paper braille format that patrons are allowed to keep.

You may begin requesting titles on June 20, 2022.

To request the one monthly title, patrons of the Talking Book Program will fill out the request form that goes directly to NLS:

Once NLS processes your request, they will mail the braille book straight to you.

The link to theform is also available on our website at: and here

Guidelines for requesting titles:

  • Braille titles will be limited to books that are currently available on BARD. You can either search BARD for titles here or call us to check if the title you would like is available.
  • Only complete titles will be distributed. Requests for partial titles (for example, volume one of a three-volume book) will result in receiving the entire book.
  • As of now, patrons may request one title per calendar month.

If you fill out the request form on your own, you will need to know the following:

  • The book title
  • The BR number of the title from BARD
  • Your patron ID number (it begins with TX1A. Call us to get that number if you don’t know it)
  • The name of your network library: Texas Talking Book Program

We hope that our braille patrons will take advantage of this new service.

Please call us if you have any questions or if you would like us to fill out the form for you.

NLS Launches Quarterly Patron Corner Programming

On June 13, at 6:00 p.m. (CDT), the Patron Engagement Section at the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress will hold the first program as part of their Patron Corner programming. Each quarterly program will provide an opportunity for patrons to learn more about various services directly from NLS staff. The program will be interactive, last for one hour, and have a designated topic of discussion. The topic for the June 13 session is: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Collection Selection but Did Not Have the Vehicle to Ask. Patrons will meet members of the Collections Division at NLS who are responsible for selecting the books in the NLS collection. Bring your questions and your thoughts about the NLS collection and join us at The full Zoom invitation, including call-in numbers, is included below.

When join the Zoom event, you will be in the waiting room until the program starts. When you enter the room, your phone or computer will be muted. Please stay on mute unless you are called on. If you want to ask a question, you may raise your hand by pressing Alt Y on your computer or Star 9 on your phone. Once you are called on, press Alt A on your computer or Star 6 on your phone to unmute yourself. Please note, this meeting will be recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, we ask that you avoid speaking during the session.

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID:    160 098 3343

Passcode:     164674

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Meeting ID:    160 098 3343

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Printed Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review Update

The National Library Service (NLS) will no longer print large print issues of the TALKING BOOK TOPICS (TBT) and the last large print issue of BRAILLE BOOK REVIEW (BBR) will be September–October 2022. You can find various formats and information on the NLS website and the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD).

•    HTML format, including links to BARD for downloading or adding books to wish lists
•    PDF format, containing a printable order form
•    Audio cartridge, which comes with a print order form (contact us to subscribe)
•    Audio magazine, downloadable to cartridge or to BARD Mobile

Abridged version of TALKING BOOK TOPICS available inside BRAILLE BOOK REVIEW:
•    BRAILLE BOOK REVIEW’S TBT Abridged section in hardcopy braille by mail (contact us to subscribe)
•    BRAILLE BOOK REVIEW’S TBT Abridged section as a BRF downloadable through BARD or from
Recently Added lists available through BARD:
•    BARD patrons can also learn about the latest titles added to BARD through the “Recently added books and magazines” link on the BARD website or the “Recently added to BARD” feature on the “Get Books” tab on the BARD Mobile app.

 •    Contact TBP to sign-up for the service.

Please let us know if we can assist you in accessing any of these formats, or if you would like to subscribe to either the audio version of TALKING BOOK TOPICS or the hardcopy braille version of BRAILLE BOOK REVIEW, which includes an abridged version of TALKING BOOK TOPICS.

You may contact us by email at, or by phone at 1-800-252-9605 or at 512-463-5458.

That ALL May Read: Graphic Novels

For the longest time, I believed graphic novels were not for me. I was born legally blind and came of age around the time that MAUS by Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. As a book lover this was troublesome because I want to read ALL THE BOOKS. Just the concept that there were books that were obviously SO GOOD, yet beyond my ability to access, upset me greatly.

So, I tried. I used the vision I did have to read MAUS and later PERSEPOLIS by Marjane Satrapi and FUN HOME by Alison Bechdel. I used a magnifying glass and I asked my roommate for occasional assistance. But here’s the thing: as graphic novels continue to win awards and become a more firmly entrenched format in the public consciousness, it should NOT be so difficult for me to access them. They should be accessible for all.

And the National Library Service (NLS) agrees.

Starting small with books like CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT by Roz Chast (DB 80646) and Brian Selznick’s WONDERSTRUCKk (DB 74157) which is a combination of standard text and full-page illustrations, NLS made the leap into creating audio recordings of full-length graphic novels with the three volume MARCH TRILOGY by John Lewis (DB 87098). 

It’s not a simple process.

According to NLS Senior Selection Librarian, Jill Garcia, “Unlike commercial audiobook producers, when we do graphical material, we describe all the images. Fortunately, Laura Giannarelli volunteered.”

Once NLS selects a graphic novel to be added to their audio collection, the narrator then creates a script. 40-year veteran NLS narrator, Laura Giannarelli, describes the process:

“It takes me probably an hour to write a script for each ten pages. My method is to describe what I see as objectively as possible. Rather than say, ‘He is surprised,’ I’ll say, ‘His mouth is open, his eyebrows are raised, and his eyes are wide.’ You try as much as possible to give the facts and let the reader interpret. But there’s also an art to balancing the details of the pictures with the forward momentum of the text. As a scene heats up, you drop the details and focus on the words.”

I for one truly appreciate the effort taken to not only describe the illustrations accurately, but to consider my desire to interpret the meaning of the scenes myself. And MARCH TRILOGY was merely the first in what has continued to be a steady stream of full-length graphic novels being produced by NLS including FAITHFUL SPY: DIETRICH BONHOEFFER AND THE PLOT TO KILL HITLER by John Hendrix (DB 94260). I’m particularly excited to read this one as it was nominated by YALSA for the excellence in Nonfiction Award for 2019. And I recently learned that NLS is currently working on recording MAUS.

Now if I can just get a self-driving car, I’ll be all set. 

For more information:


Gardening for People with Disabilities

Spring is here, and it’s prime gardening time. Enjoy this information and book list created by NLS to make gardening more accessible to all.

“Gardening is a deceptively active hobby. Lawns, trees, and flowers stay in one place, but the gardener has to do a lot of bending, stretching, and moving around to tend to them, which can be difficult for people with mobility issues. Blind and visually impaired gardeners need to be able to recognize what is growing. The titles in this mini-bibliography suggest techniques and types of plants to make gardening easier.”—NLS ( )

The digital braille and audio titles can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. All titles can also be requested from your local library.

Like this list? More topic lists are available here:


An avid gardener provides tips and techniques for adapting garden format and methods for people with limited mobility. Explains advantages of containers, raised beds, and vertical gardens. Chapters discuss appropriate tools; choosing vegetables, herbs, flowers, vines, and ornamentals; and starting children in gardening. 1994.


BIRDS AND BLOOMS magazine field editor’s guide to cultivating an ecological, low-maintenance garden to serve as a habitat for native species. Environmentally conscious techniques stress reducing lawn area and eliminating chemicals. Discusses using natural fertilizers and pesticides, creating ponds, and observing wildlife. Offers tips for elderly and disabled gardeners. 2006.


The author explains how to adapt various methods, and how to use some tricks and shortcuts which allow one to garden whatever one’s age or physical limitations. Mr. Kramer offers alternate choices of container gardens and wheelchair gardens. 1973.

THE ENABLING GARDEN by Gene Rothert (DB 43253)

A step-by-step guide to barrier-free gardening for people with disabilities and older adults. Provides a checklist for assessing one’s gardening abilities, then offers advice on selecting appropriate structures, tools, equipment, plants, and garden designs. 1994.


Former cohost of PBS television show The Victory Garden shares wisdom gathered from “seasoned” gardeners on the benefits of continuing this hobby into old age. Includes tips to minimize fatigue and other ailments, describes laborsaving methods, and offers all kinds of advice. 2003.


Advises gardeners with special needs on ideas, tools, and methods. Topics include garden design and layout, raised beds, container and tabletop gardening, easy composting, watering, lawn care, and accessories to facilitate physical tasks. An appendix lists sources of tools, supplies, and information. 1997.

THE ABLE GARDENER by Kathleen Yeomans (DB40311)

Nurse and gardener Yeomans covers general aspects of gardening while emphasizing adaptive techniques such as using raised beds, back-saving tools, and easy-care plants. If the gardener is visually impaired, she suggests designing with plants that are fragrant, textured, edible, or even audible. Included are exercises for gardeners and mail-order sources for plants, seeds, and supplies (including adaptive tools). 1992.

NLS Aspiring Leaders Internship Program Accepting Applications for Summer 2022

The National Library Service (NLS) is now accepting applications through March 1, 2022, for the Summer 2022 NLS Aspiring Leaders Internship Program.

Established through the National Library for the Blind Endowment, this paid internship offers legally blind individuals the opportunity to work at NLS in areas that support services for the blind, including collections building, program delivery, and business oversight and management. Interns will gain valuable experience and explore potential career options while being guided through mentorships and developmental activities. The program has spring, summer, and fall sessions, between ten to twelve weeks each session. All interns work remotely.

Application Process

Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students and those who have graduated within the past five years from an accredited two-year or four-year college or university are eligible to apply. In addition, applicants must be:

  • US citizens
  • legally blind
  • able to work remotely

A complete application package includes a cover letter expressing interest, a federal-style resume, a recent official or unofficial transcript, and an application form that is completed online.

Applicants interested in the Summer 2022 session should submit a completed application by March 1.

To learn more about the program and the application process, visit

For more information, please contact: Erica Vaughns, Head, NLS Administrative Services,

NLS Wants Your Input for Technology Products and Initiatives!

The NLS Reading Technology Advisory Group (RTAG) needs new members! RTAG meets twice a year to provide feedback on new NLS products and initiatives. Currently, RTAG is focused on updates to BARD, the Braille eReader project, and a “smart speaker” voice-controlled device. Each of these initiatives will have its own working group within RTAG. Meetings—to be attended online—will resume in fall 2020. Although RTAG members can be network library staff, hardware repair volunteers, and other subject matter experts, NLS patrons are especially encouraged to apply to join RTAG. For questions, please contact your local network library or email questions directly to Applications—a statement of your background and qualifications (no more than two pages)—should be submitted to by Wednesday, September 30.

NLS Minibibliography: Changemakers

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) produces minibibliographies to assist staff at cooperating libraries with finding books for local patrons. These minibiographies are bibliographies based on subjects that are narrow in scope. They cover such topics as: prize winners, hobbies, and famous people, to name a few.

Here is a link to a full listing of NLS minibiographies:

Recently, NLS has produced a minibibliography on changemakers. Changemakers are those people who by their words and actions have made the world a more accessible place for those with disabilities. Some changemakers have fought to make services available to all people regardless of disability. Others have excelled at a sport, an occupation, or an artistic endeavor previously denied to or under-represented by those alternatively abled.

The Changemakers minibibliography is organized alphabetically by subject or area in which the changemaker excelled or made their mark. Some subjects include: Academia, Science, and Service to Blind Individuals.

A couple of Changemakers listed in the minibibliography are Texans: Christine Ha, located under the heading “Food” and Larry Johnson, located under the heading “Media” are both examples of changemakers from the Lone Star State.

To learn more here is a link to NLS’ minibibliography on Changemakers:

The Library of Congress Wants to Hear from You!

Beginning in early March, a sample of 10,000 reader/patrons across the country who currently use services provided by the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped–also known as NLS–will be invited to participate in a nationwide survey. The information collected from this survey will guide NLS as they move forward on a variety of projects to enhance and expand the braille and talking- book program. As a part of NLS’s cooperating network of libraries, the Texas Talking Book Program encourages invited patrons to respond to the survey at their earliest convenience. Insights gathered from this survey will help us better understand the needs of all of our patrons. You may receive an invitation by mail, email, or phone. In order to ensure ease of use, readers selected for the survey will be given the option of responding in a number of ways to their invitation. Once you have received your invitation, if you have questions, please feel free to contact Gallup Support at or call 1-888-297-8999.