Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

General Information

Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
1291 Taylor Street, NW
Washington District of Columbia 1 20542
nlsref@loc.gov
http://www.loc.gov/nls

Brief Description

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers the Braille and Talking Book Library Service, a free program that loans recorded and braille books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print, and specially designed playback equipment to residents of the United States who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical impairment.

Local cooperating libraries throughout the United States mail NLS audiobooks, magazines, audio equipment, braille books, and braille magazines directly to enrollees at no cost. Talking books and magazines and braille publications are delivered to eligible borrowers by postage-free mail and through a network of cooperative libraries. Religious publications include: Bibles, Other Scriptures, Liturgies, and Hymnals in Special Media.

From a beginning of 19 cooperating libraries, the network has expanded to 57 regional and 74 subregional libraries throughout the U.S.
TelecomPioneers, G.E.Volunteers, other volunteer groups, and state personnel serve the program by repairing talking-book machines.

Staff

Karen Keninger,Director

Services Offered

  • Distance Education
    • Administers free correspondence courses in cooperation with a network of volunteer groups throughout the United States to train sighted persons as braille transcribers and persons who are blind as braille proofreaders.
  • Distance Education
    • Administers free correspondence courses in cooperation with a network of volunteer groups throughout the United States to train sighted persons as braille transcribers and persons who are blind as braille proofreaders.
  • Information and Referral
    • Provides reference information service on all aspects of blindness and other physical disabilities that affect reading to individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them.
  • Library Services
    • A free national library program of braille and recorded materials for blind and physically handicapped persons is administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. Under a special provision of the U.S. copyright law and with the permission of authors and publishers of works not covered by the provision, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines in braille and recorded formats. Reading materials are distributed to a cooperating network of regional and subregional (local) libraries where they are circulated to eligible borrowers. Reading materials and playback machines are sent to borrowers and returned to libraries by postage-free mail. Braille books, magazines, and music materials are also available on the Internet through Web-Braille. <br><br> Maintains a music collection of scores in braille and large print; textbooks and books about music in braille and large print; music appreciation cassettes, including interviews and opera lectures; and self-instructional cassettes for voice, piano, organ, electronic keyboard, guitar, recorder, accordion, banjo, harmonica, and other instruments. Braille scores and books are also available on the Internet. The NLS research program is directed toward improving the quality of reading materials and playback equipment, controlling program costs, and reducing the time required to deliver services to users. Current research activities are focused primarily on digital audio materials and include (1) the development of production tools, (2) the identification of distribution media, and (3) the design of playback devices.
  • Professional Training
    • Offers free correspondence courses leading to certification in braille transcribing (literary, music, and mathematics braille) and braille proofreading. Will provide training in audio book production on request to local recording groups. Publishes a directory of agencies and volunteer groups that produce books for libraries and individuals. Volunteers may call on NLS staff for their expertise in braille transcription and recording techniques.
  • Services for Seniors