Talking book and Braille service | Local


Do you or someone you know have trouble reading printed materials such as books or magazines due to visual or physical limitations? The text may be too small, the item is difficult to type, or the pages are difficult to turn. If so, the National Library Service for the Blind and Print-Disabled (NLS) probably has programs to help!

A division of the Library of Congress, NLS administers a free national braille and audiobook (talking book) library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or physical disabilities that make it difficult to read or hold the printed page. This includes those with a perceptual or reading disability who are unable to read standard printed materials to the same degree as a person without a disability.

Through a nationwide network of cooperating libraries, NLS offers books the way you want them: in Braille or audio format, posted to your door for free or instantly downloadable. The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) is Nebraska’s NLS partner, managing the service and circulating materials to eligible patrons of all ages in our state. Eligibility for the program must be certified by a doctor, nurse, optometrist, therapist, professional staff from public or welfare agencies (such as an educator, social worker or librarian), etc. A complete list of certificate authorities can be found on the NLS website

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More than 281,000 book records, including more than 74,000 Braille books and scores, and 207,000 talking books are available for borrowing. These materials and the free reading equipment needed to read them, such as updatable braille displays, are distributed to customers by postage free of charge. The audio players are available in two models (standard and advanced) to suit the technical preferences of the user and include optional accessories such as lightweight headphones, adapters to facilitate the use of commercial USB drives and a power switch. breath. Readers with significant hearing loss may require a high-volume player and headphones.

The NLS collection contains books for young people (from toddlers to teenagers) and adults in a wide range of interests. Registered borrowers are notified of new books added to the collection through two bimonthly publications: Braille Book Review and Talking Book Topics.

Currently, 51 audio magazine titles and 40 Braille magazine titles are available through NLS by subscription. A variety of children’s magazines are also available. Current issues are sent to readers shortly after the print issues are published.

The Nebraska TBBS provides additional material for loan using in-house sound studios to record and produce audio books and audio magazines from Nebraska and regional authors or about Nebraska and the Great Plains. A newly added title recorded by TBBS is the winner of One Book One Nebraska 2022, The Bones of Paradise by Jonis Agee. Visit for more information or search the catalog for available titles.

Digital audio and ebraille materials are also available through NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) for eligible customers. This free online service provides access to thousands of books, magazines and special format music material. BARD can be used on iOS and Android devices in a mobile app or in tandem with NLS-provided (or personally owned) playback devices. A refreshable braille display connected via Bluetooth can be used to read ebraille documents. Digital audio documents can be played on an NLS audio player using BARD Express, a simplified way to transfer books and magazines to an NLS cartridge or USB flash drive.

For questions about Talking Book and Braille Services, including eligibility, visit the Talking Book and Braille Service website, email [email protected] or call (402) 471-4038.

Karen Connell is the director of the Columbus Public Library.


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