November 4, 2011 NLS Works with Hospitals Serving Veterans

Contact: Jane Caulton (202) 707-0521

In honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress announces its program with military hospitals and rehabilitation centers to distribute digital talking-book players to service members who can no longer read or handle printed materials.

“NLS has begun a campaign to build personal relationships with the professional staff at military hospitals—assistive technology specialists, physical therapists and occupational therapists—who work directly with eligible veterans and active-duty service members,” said Ruth Scovill, NLS acting director. “These facilities will be provided with new digital playback equipment to distribute to their patients. Service members can use the players to read books on cartridges supplied by their local talking-book libraries.”

According to Scovill, the hospital-and-rehabilitation-center program is the best way to ensure that the soldiers who need the service will have it.

NLS was established by an act of Congress in 1931 to serve the reading needs of individuals who are blind or physically disabled. The law specifies that “preference shall be at all times given to the needs of the blind and other physically handicapped persons who have been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Scovill said “NLS provides access to the same types of books that other library patrons read. NLS adds 2,000 recorded titles to the collection annually.” Readers may enjoy bestsellers, biographies, self-help and other fiction and nonfiction works, as well as a variety of magazines. The materials are delivered by mail—at no charge to patrons—through more than 100 state and local libraries that make up the NLS network. In addition, NLS patrons may download audiobooks and magazines over the Internet by using the Braille and Audio Reading Download, commonly referred to as BARD.

For more information about the NLS program for institutions serving veterans, call 1-800-424-8567.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the 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. Further information on eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures for the general program is available at or 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).


PR 11-217
ISSN 0731-3527