Educators and Other Professionals

If you treat, teach, or otherwise serve people with visual, physical, or reading disabilities, you can have a positive impact on their quality of life by sharing information about NLS.

Established by Congress in 1931, NLS provides its free library services to any eligible US resident, as well as American citizens living abroad. Getting started is easy, and a wide range of professionals can certify an applicant’s eligibility, including educators, reading specialists, librarians, school administrators, school psychologists, ophthalmologists and optometrists, other medical doctors, registered nurses, and therapists.

Once enrolled, NLS patrons can access books from a collection that rivals any library’s in selection, size, and scope. NLS has books in audio (which we call “talking books”) and in braille for readers of all ages and interests: Bestsellers. Biographies. Romances. Mysteries. Westerns. And more—including books by, about, and for people with disabilities and popular titles from school reading lists. All books are findable on the Kids Zone Catalog text-only interface.

NLS has a wide range of books for young readers, too, from kindergarten through high school and beyond, including adventure stories, fantasies, animal tales, and popular titles from school reading lists.

Plus, NLS has materials not found anywhere else in audio and braille. Cookbooks, for instance. How-to guides for gardening, knitting, card games, and other hobbies. Travel guides. First aid manuals. Books on health and wellness. The world’s largest collection of music scores and instructional materials for piano, guitar, and a variety of other instruments. And dozens of magazines, too.

In addition, many of our 90-plus cooperating libraries throughout the country circulate large-print books and descriptive videos, sponsor book clubs, organize summer reading programs, and run technology tutorials and other programming.

Patrons with a smartphone or tablet can get books and magazines anytime, anywhere, via BARD—the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download website—and the BARD Mobile app. Or they can receive books and magazines through the mail, postage-free, from the NLS library that serves their state or community. Easy-to-operate talking-book playback machines are available, too. Our talking-book cartridges hold multiple books, so patrons can keep reading through winter snowstorms and summer beach vacations. And all NLS talking books can be navigated by chapter, section, or page and played at varying speeds with no loss of clarity. And BARD and the BARD Mobile app are meant to work seamlessly with screen readers.

If you know someone who might be eligible for NLS, we invite you to share this flyer with them. It includes our toll-free number—888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323)—and website——where they can learn more about our free library service and request more information.

I’ve been in the blindness rehabilitation field for over 20 years, and usually once people have the opportunity to see the different services that NLS provides, they jump right into it, especially if it’s somebody who’s been a reader in the past and who’s really enjoyed reading. It helps them start right where they left off with an activity that they really enjoy.”

— Professional and NLS patron

NLS also has resources for professionals who treat, teach, or otherwise serve people with visual, physical, or reading disabilities. Here are some helpful items to get started:

Resources for Senior Citizens is designed to assist adults over the age of 55 with disabilities, as well as their caregivers, in handling new physical, psychological, and financial challenges.

Employment lists national organizations that provide information on a range of issues related to recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining employees with disabilities. 

Talking Books and Reading Disabilities Reference Guide shares information on eligibility and the application process for becoming an NLS patron as well as resources for those with reading disabilities.

Kids Zone allows you to search for titles specifically for preschoolers through young adult that are also listed in the full NLS Catalog and also links you to other resources at NLS including minibibliographies for children's books.

Textbooks Reference Guide lists organizations meeting the special academic needs some students might face as they pursue their education.

Catalogs for other Organizations provides a list of other libraries and book companies circulating accessible books.

Directory of Producers of Accessible Materials compiles information supplied by organizations, groups, and individuals who produce accessible materials, including audio, braille, and large print, for people who are blind, visually impaired, or cannot easily use printed materials.

Explore the variety of NLS Informational Publications on issues related to blindness, visual impairment, or physical disabilities, as well as compilations of current resources on many topics of interest to NLS readers and those who provide services to them.

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