February 26, 2018 NLS Rolls Out New Outreach Campaign to Improve Accessibility

Commercial portrays a grandfather with visual impairments that is able to read again

Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: Kristen Fernekes (202) 707-0521 | Mark Layman (202) 707-0506
Website: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

NLS Talking Books provide people who are blind or physically handicapped free access to the written word.

The Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) today launched a major outreach campaign to educate the public about the free services it provides to U.S. residents and American citizens abroad with visual impairments and other disabilities.

NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille and audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable.

As part of the campaign, a commercial, called “Magical Moments,” will air on cable TV stations and radio nationwide. It is the next—and most ambitious—step in the NLS multimedia educational campaign that began in June 2017 with digital outreach on internet search engines and Facebook.

The premise of the commercial consists of a little girl who wants to be an astronaut one day. When she realizes, however, her grandfather cannot read her favorite fictional book “Astronaut Abbey,” her mother tells him about NLS. At the end, the little girl’s grandfather is able to read the book by listening to it through an NLS audio book. To watch the commercial, visit the Library’s YouTube site at youtube.com/LibraryOfCongress.

“Through this outreach campaign, the Library of Congress wants everyone to know about the free services NLS provides to those who need them,” said NLS director Karen Keninger. “We are delighted to provide these services to veterans, students, senior citizens and anyone else who qualifies. And as NLS has throughout its 85-year history, we are constantly exploring new technologies to deliver books and magazines in easier and more efficient ways.”

Partnerships with state and local libraries allow the Library of Congress to offer these services to individuals who are blind and physically disabled in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, as well as to U.S. citizens living outside of the country.

There are many advantages to enrolling in NLS, including free, easy access to nearly 200,000 audio books and more than 70,000 braille books and music scores. The books and playback equipment are loaned free of charge and delivered right to patrons’ doors. More than 100,000 titles can also be downloaded. To find out more, go to “Find Your Library at loc.gov/nls or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).

NLS contributes to the Library of Congress’ efforts to encourage lifelong learning and exploration for all by providing accessible reading materials and assuring—as its longtime credo says—that all may read.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 18-009
ISSN 0731-3527