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Laws and Regulations

In 1930, identical bills were introduced in Congress by Representative Ruth Pratt (H.R. 11365) and Senator Reed Smoot (S. 4030), to provide adequate service on a national scale through an appropriation to be expended under the direction of the Librarian of Congress. The Pratt-Smoot Act became law on March 3, 1931. The following laws and regulations authorize the provision of library service to people who are blind, visually impaired, or have a physical disability.

      • Act of March 3, 1931 (original legislation)
        Authorizes provision of books for the adult blind
      • Public Law 89-522
        Authorizes the furnishing of such books and other materials to people with physical disabilities that prevent reading, in addition to those who are blind
      • U.S. Code, Sec. 135a (official law)
        Authorizes annual funding for braille and talking books to provide library service to people who are blind or have other physical disabilities
      • U.S. Code, Sec. 135a-1
        Authorizes provision of musical scores, instructional texts, and other specialized materials for use of people who are blind, visually impaired, or have a physical disability
      • U.S. Code, Sec. 135b
        Addresses provision of service through local and regional centers; preference to veterans who are blind or have a physical disability
      • Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Sec. 701.6
        Describes loan of library materials for people who are blind, visually impaired, or have a physical disability
      • Factsheet on Public Law 104-197
        Copyright Law amendment, September 16, 1996, commonly called the Chafee Amendment
      • Public Law 114-219
        Permits NLS to provide refreshable braille displays

State Laws

A guide outlining state laws

Free Mailing

A program for individuals and organizations mailing materials to the blind

Marrakesh Treaty

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, or “Marrakesh Treaty”