Services and Resources

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) offers a wealth of services and resources to patrons, potential patrons, and those who are seeking information about braille, talking books, blindness, and print disabilities.

It’s easy to search the NLS Catalog by title, author, subject, or book number for the more than 300,000 audio and braille titles in the collection. Many of them can be downloaded instantly from BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download website.  

The NLS provides support to patrons and non-patrons with its array of informational publications with resources for patrons, family members, caregivers, and professionals on topics related to blindness, visual impairment, and physical disabilities. And if you cannot find what you are looking for, you can try our Ask a Librarian! service.

Want to learn more about BARD and other services that NLS offers? NLS shares updates about its services through its Patron Announce listserv and hosts regular online events where staff members share insights and answer questions.

Whether you’re a professional musician or just beginning to learn an instrument, you’ll want to take advantage of the NLS Music Section’s world-class collection of braille and large-print scores and recorded instruction and education materials. And while you’re there, take a look at the weekly Music Notes Blog, which highlights materials, activities, and people of interest to our music patrons.

Did you know that American citizens living abroad part-time or year-round can receive NLS service? Get the details on our Overseas Services page, where you’ll also find the latest edition of the Overseas Outlook newsletter.

Our collection of books in Spanish, French, and dozens of other languages is rapidly growing. The International Languages page can help you find those books in the NLS Catalog and on BARD and provides links to other sources of accessible materials in world languages.

NLS supports braille education with online materials and publishes an extensive directory of producers of accessible reading materials in braille formats as well as audio and large print.

You don’t have to be a patron to request a free currency reader through NLS’s partnership with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).  Learn more about this compact device provided by BEP that announces a note’s value, as well as mobile apps—also offered by BEP—for your phone.

NLS loans its own playback equipment and accessories free of charge for patrons to use with our talking books and magazines, as well as braille eReaders through its network of cooperating libraries. This page also includes information about where you can buy commercial audiobook players and electronic braille displays that work with NLS formatted materials.

Matching formats as well as reading level are very important to NLS. The Resources for Children page includes bibliographies of books ideal for young readers and materials helpful to teachers and parents.

Institutions such as nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and schools for the blind can get information here on NLS resources and holding a deposit collection for the use of eligible students, patients, or clients.

The NLS Studio, which includes our in-house recording studio, shares authoritative guides on how to pronounce proper names of people and businesses. We’ll also tell you how to become a narrator (or at least sound like one).

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