Is there a special device to help people who are hearing impaired?

Yes. An amplifier/headphone combination that produces sound up to 130 decibels is available for adults with severe hearing loss. A special application form is necessary and must be signed by a physician or licensed audiologist. The application has details about the need for a doctor’s certification and what precautions are necessary to prevent injury. This device is not intended for individuals with mild or moderate hearing loss; the use of standard headphones may sometimes help these individuals.

Can I get talking books from my public library?

Services are provided directly by a regional or subregional library of the NLS network. You may use the "Find a Library" link on the NLS website to locate a talking-book library in your area or call 1-888-NLS-READ. Some public libraries do have small collections of NLS-produced talking books for eligible users. Check with the regional library in your state to determine if there is a talking-book collection at a public library near you.

Can books or magazines be downloaded from the Internet?

Yes. Registered patrons may download digital talking books and magazines from the Internet through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). Once these materials are downloaded and transferred to a digital flash cartridge they may be played on the digital talking-book machine or on one of several third-party players. Patrons must have access to a computer with high-speed Internet connection to use BARD. Patrons may also download the BARD Mobile app, which allows them to listen to books using their iPhone or iPad.

Are magazines available through the NLS program?

Yes. Magazines are available in braille and audio formats. Criteria for the selection of periodicals are the same as for books. Selection librarians also consider whether the periodicals reflect a balance of current thinking in the various fields represented, have high interest and demand, are representative in their points of view, and provide recreational as well as informational reading. Click here to see a list of available magazines.

Where are the books recorded?

NLS talking books are recorded by professional narrators in the studios of contractors who bid each year on book production. These contractors are usually nonprofit organizations that also provide other products and services for blind and physically handicapped individuals. NLS maintains a recording studio in its Washington, D.C., office in order to keep abreast of current recording technology. This studio records approximately one hundred titles per year.