The Huntsville Subregional Library for the Blind and Print Disabled is the source for Digital Talking Books and braille material for residents of Madison County, Alabama who are unable to read the written word due to visual impairments, physical disabilities, or dyslexia. We routinely mail free recorded digital books as well as the free equipment needed to play them to patrons all across our Madison County service area. Our highly trained staff is here to assist patrons with special needs in their reading selections.
As a talking books library our mission fully aligns with the National Library Service (NLS) motto, That All May Read.
- Who is eligible for Talking Books service per NLS regulations?
The following persons are eligible for service:
- Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by a competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
- Other print disabled persons are eligible as follows:
- Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material.
- Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
- Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.
- Who may certify patrons as eligible for service per NLS regulations?
In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, "competent authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress.
In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.
- What is available from the Talking Books program?
Library patrons can expect to borrow audio or braille books such as they might find in print at a local public library. Books and magazines in audio form (talking books) and braille are delivered to eligible readers by postage-free mail and are returned in the same manner.
- Can I get my Talking Books online?
Yes, patrons with internet access may download Talking Books material through our exciting new program called BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). Audio Braille books and magazines are available for download to a PC or laptop, and via the BARD app on smart phones and tablets. Anyone registered as an active patron of a BPD library can have access to BARD after completing the short online application.
Here is the website with instructions on how to register for downloading books for your Digital Talking Book Machine from the NLS website.
- How do I know what books you have?
Here is a link to the NLS Catalog that you may use to look for titles, authors or subjects that interest you: www.loc.gov/nls/braille-audio-reading-materials/online-catalog-search/ (Scroll down to the Quick Search of the catalog)
- Is there a cost to join the Talking Books program?
No, there is no cost to qualified patrons. Books and players are furnished by the NLS and materials are delivered via postage free mail through the United States Postal Service.
- Can I apply for service online?
Yes, you may fill out an application online but it will need to be printed and signed by the appropriate certifying authority and then mailed or delivered to the local Library for the Blind and Print Disabled. Applications are available online at www.loc.gov/nls/enrollment-equipment/apply-for-nls-service/
Office hours are Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. We are located on the second floor of the Downtown Huntsville Library at 915 Monroe Street in Huntsville, AL.
- How do I find out more about this program?
You may visit the Library of Congress' web page for the National Library Service at: http://www.loc.gov/nls/ or contact us at (256)532-5980 or firstname.lastname@example.org