October 28, 2010 National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Honors Nation's Veterans

Free Talking-Book Service Helps America’s Most Honored Citizens Keep Reading in Their Lives

Contact: Jane Caulton (202) 707-0521

This Veteran’s Day, as the nation honors the brave men and women who have risked or given their lives for this country, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, stands ready to provide eligible veterans access to a free library service that promotes independence, wellness and quality of life.

“This November 11, as an expression of our deepest gratitude, we wish to remind these men and women who have given so much that we are here to serve them,” says Kurt Cylke, NLS director. “For the past eight decades, NLS has ensured that blind and physically handicapped veterans are able to continue to enjoy their love of reading.”

The NLS talking-book program offers its patrons a wide selection of digitally recorded books and magazines and digital audio equipment at no cost. The program, which celebrates its 80th anniversary on March 3, 2011, also delivers digital talking books over the Internet.

Tom Miller, who was blinded by a land mine in Vietnam in 1967 and is executive director of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), is an appreciative user. “The talking-book program provides a much-needed way for veterans to continue to learn and connect with others and their communities through reading,” he says. “Without question, the NLS program enhances the quality of our lives.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that about 158,000 U.S. veterans are visually impaired or blind, and more than one million have low vision. According to BVA, 13 percent of wounded U.S. military troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have received a serious eye injury.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers the digital talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents or American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or physical handicap makes reading a regular printed page difficult. Through its national network of regional libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in digital audio and in braille, as well as digital audio equipment, directly to enrollees at no cost. Select materials are also available online for download and music instructional materials are available in large print, braille, and recorded formats. Further information on eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures for the program is available at www.loc.gov/nls/ or 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).


PR 10-249
ISSN 0731-3527