Talking Books is a free library service available to U.S. residents and citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or physical handicap makes it difficult to read a standard printed page. Local cooperating libraries throughout the United States mail NLS audiobooks, magazines, and audio equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. Braille books and magazines are also available to patrons at no cost.
The Talking Books Program was established in 1931 by an Act of Congress to serve blind adults. It was expanded in 1952 to include children, in 1962 to provide music materials, and again in 1966 to include individuals with other physical impairments that prevent their reading standard print. It is now called the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress.
Any U.S. resident or American citizen living abroad who is unable to read or use standard print materials may receive this service.
In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, eligibility can be certified by doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, registered nurses, therapists, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, public and private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers), or, in the absence of any of these, by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress.
The Service is provided directly by a regional or subregional library of the National Library Service for the Blind. Check with the regional library system in your state to determine if there is a Talking Book Library near you.
No. There are no costs of any kind to eligible persons. You can sign up here.
No, only a few. Insight for the Blind is now the largest volunteer studio in the U. S.
New volunteers are always welcome at Insight for the Blind, which is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We keep regular business hours, so people working full-time may not fit our schedule. Recording sessions, which require a narrator and a monitor, are scheduled in two hour blocks. Reviewing sessions, a QA/proof-reading type of function, provide more time flexibility.
Sort of; it helps if you feel comfortable using a PC. Volunteers are first invited to the studio for an overview and brief tour of the studio. Next, you are schedule for several training sessions using the desktop computer recording equipment. After you feel comfortable with the recording process, each new volunteer sets up a weekly schedule and, with staff support, progresses to become a veteran producer of recordings for the blind. If you wish to be a reader, you will take a simple voice test to see if your voice is suitable.
To volunteer, call Insight at 954-522-5057.
We certainly don't think so. We found the best available text-to-speech software and put "him" up against one of our narrators in a challenging excerpt. It was an impressive effort from the computer narrator, (he even takes simulated breaths!) but we invite you to let YOUR ears decide!
In Broward County, contact our friends at Lighthouse of Broward:
Another outstanding organization, in Palmetto, FL: Southeastern Guide Dogs!