Do you have patrons who need audiobooks and other resources because they are visually impaired? Our team at the MLS can help you borrow a great many things, but there are other avenues which your users may wish to explore. These include the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the Worcester Talking Book Library, and the Perkins School for the Blind, to name just a few.
Your patrons can sign up to use resources at these libraries by sending a certification, usually signed by a doctor or optometrist. Services are free, and items are often delivered straight to the patrons’ homes. These libraries serve the blind, as well as those with impaired vision, physical limitations, and reading disabilities.
Resources available include: audiobooks, large print books, books and magazines in Braille and e-Braille, musical scores in Braille and large print, adaptive and playback equipment, items on cassette, described films on DVD and VHS, museum passes, and described newspapers, job listings, and TV schedules. There are trained librarians available at all these libraries to help patrons, and FAQ are listed on each site.
There are talking book libraries in most states, and many other resources. If we’ve forgotten a key place, or a vital resource, please let us know!
Comment from Jennifer Pickett, Brooks Free Library, Harwich, MA (Thanks, Jennifer – I didn’t know this, and it’s a great help!)
Sorry for this late comment (I just discovered this blog today!) and just wanted to add a few details. It’s important for librarians to know that if they have an MLS that they can sign the application for a patron to sign up for services through Perkins. As an MLS librarian we are allowed to sign the application stating the the patron is having trouble reading large print (or hold a book or has some other disability that makes it hard for them to read a print book) so the patron does not need to be legally blind and they don’t need a note from a doctor.
The digital players and digital cartridges loaded with audiobooks are very popular with our patrons and I encourage libraries to go to the Perkins website perkins.org/library or give them a call and get a browsing collection of digital cartridges, a digital player that you can use to demo how it works, and a supply of applications so that they can help their patrons receive services.
Great blog Hansie. Maybe you should do an email blast to all the ILL people to let them know about it.