The Talking Book Program provides free library service to Texans of all ages who are unable to read standard print material due to visual, physical, or reading disabilities-whether permanent or temporary.
Our books are available on digital cartridge, Braille, large print, and cassette, and we loan playback equipment to be used with TBP materials. Our materials can also be downloaded from the Web via BARD by registered readers. And best of all, books are delivered right to your door. All of the items are sent and returned through the mail free of charge. The program offers more than 80,000 titles in fiction and nonfiction, plus 80 national magazines for adults and children.
The Talking Book Program is available not only to Texans with visual impairments, but also to those who have physical or learning disabilities that prevent them from using standard print.
Qualified patrons include Texas residents of all ages who:
- are legally blind (vision in the better eye is 20/200 or less after correction, or the widest diameter of visual field is no greater than 20 degrees);
- have prescription glasses, yet are unable to read standard print material without additional magnification devices;
- have physical limitations that prevent them from holding books or turning pages; or
- have reading disabilities due to an organic dysfunction, as certified by a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.).
By law, the Talking Book Program gives priority service to veterans of the United States armed forces who have received honorable discharges from military service. Documentation that verifies a veteran's status, such as a copy of the DD-214 form, must be submitted with the application.
To begin using our free service, you need to complete an application and have it certified; eligibility requirements are listed above.
The list of professionals who are authorized to sign the application form are listed on the last page of the form, which states:
"Certifying authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine and osteopathy, ophthalmologists, optometrists, registered nurses, therapists, professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, vocational rehabilitation counselors, home teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians. In the case of a Reading Disability, the certifying authority must be a doctor of medicine or osteopathy. Certifying authorities are not permitted to certify relatives.
Please note that only medical doctors or doctors of osteopathy may certify the application of a Texan with a reading (learning) disability, such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder.
After you have completed the application, and it has been signed by a professional to certify your eligibility, please mail it to:
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library & Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
Similar to a public library, we have over 80,000 titles available in a wide variety of categories, including classics, romances, science fiction, mysteries, westerns, children's selections, and more. Our books are available on digital cartridge, Braille, large print, and audiocassette.
In addition, we have magazines available through digital download, cassette, Braille and large print. You may choose from more than 80 different magazines: Reader's Digest, Newsweek, Guideposts, and Texas Monthly, to name a few. Plus, we have a special collection of books by Texas authors, books about Texas, and books in Spanish.
Best of all, books may be downloaded from the Internet or delivered right to your door through the mail free of charge. Make your selections from a variety of catalogs or let one of our reader consultants assist you. You may contact us by phone, mail, or e-mail.
We provide special playback equipment that is needed to listen to our recorded books and magazines. The equipment is on loan to you for as long as you use our service.
Machines may also be purchased from other sources. For information on purchasing machines, call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll free at 1-800-252-9605 or in the Austin area at 512-463-5458, or go to the NLS factsheet "Sources for Purchase of Cassette Players and Player-Recorders Compatible with Recorded Materials Produced by the National Library Service (NLS)" at http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/factsheets/sources.html.