The braille and talking book program is a free library service administered by NLS and provided by a nationwide network of cooperating libraries that lend reading materials to residents of the United States and its territories and U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use regular print materials because of a visual or print disability. You can receive braille and talking books right at your door through the mail. The equipment needed to read the talking books is also provided without cost. To sign up for service, complete request information or contact your local braille and talking book library.
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving talking book or braille service, please take the following steps:
- Carefully read the description of eligibility to determine if the interested individual or institution is eligible for service.
- Search the library address list to locate the regional or subregional network library closest to the eligible party. (If the eligible individual is an American citizen living abroad, refer to our page on Overseas Service.)
- Contact that library by email, telephone, fax, or in writing and request an application for service, or fill out a printable online application form and send it to the network library identified in step 2.
- Wait for the network library to contact the eligible party with news of their acceptance. The network library will provide further information on available equipment, reading material, and services.
Your local braille and talking book library can help you sign up for free library service, assist with issues concerning equipment, and help you receive access to the Braille and Audio Reading Download.
You may call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) and be connected with the library serving your area or use the form below to find a library serving your area.
Equipment available at no cost
NLS makes available two models of digital talking-book players to its network of cooperating libraries for distribution to its readership. Both models—standard and advanced—are compatible with the ANSI/NISO Z39.86 and DAISY 2.0 standards for digital talking books. The players have rechargeable batteries and offer readers high-quality sound, advanced navigation, and variable speed controls. NLS players are available only to individuals who cannot see to read regular print or handle print materials and who are registered for the free library service.
NLS materials in special media can be played in three ways:
- NLS Digital Talking-Book Players (free)
- NLS compatible digital talking-book players (for purchase)
- BARD Mobile is available at the App Store External for iOS or the Play Store External for Android (free)
NLS is committed to meeting patrons’ recreational and informational reading needs. Find a Library to ask for a particular book from NLS.
Children’s books also can be found in the NLS catalog .
Special academic needs should be discussed with local educational authorities. Contact the NLS Reference Section or the following organizations for information on what is available for students with reading disabilities.
20 Roszel Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 987-8116 (fax)
Learning Ally is a private, nonprofit organization that lends recorded textbooks and other educational materials to people who cannot read regular print because of visual, perceptual, or other physical disabilities. A registration fee and an annual membership fee are required.
480 South California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 475-1066 (fax)
Bookshare provides digital books free to all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities. Books are available for download in audio and braille formats.
Ask for a Book or Magazine to Be Transcribed into braille or narrated
A listing of organizations, groups, and individuals who produce a wide variety of materials on request for people who are blind, visually impaired, or have physical disabilities that limit their ability to use printed materials. Formats include audio, braille, and large print. Some are produced at no charge by volunteers and others are produced for a fee. The listing is alphabetized by state and then by city within each state.