Library services for blind or physically handicapped individuals are provided free to anyone meeting eligibility requirements. If you or someone you know is unable to use standard printed materials because of a reading disability or other visual or physical impairment, you may be qualified for free library services through the Talking Books Library.

What is a Talking Books Library?

A Talking Books Library is part of a nationwide network of cooperating libraries serving people who have difficulty using or reading regular print.

blind services image

Such libraries loan books and magazines printed in Braille and the compatible playback equipment from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and the Library of Congress. All materials are sent to patrons and returned to the library via postage-free mail.

Gilmer Public Library can connect you with one of the three libraries in the state of West Virginia certified as a network or sub-regional library of the NLS, Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library, the Library of Congress, and the West Virginia Library Commission Special Services.

What do they offer?

Books on Digital Cartridge are the most frequently requested service, provided through the mail free of charge. These recorded books are played on a special machine furnished to eligible patrons by the West Virginia Library Commission. Choose from current bestsellers, mysteries, romances,
westerns, classics, children’s books, biographies, and historical novels, as well as books about history, science, psychology, inspirational materials, and The Bible.

blind services image

Individuals who qualify for the program also have access to over 40 popular and special interest magazines including People, Money, Sports Illustrated, and Consumer Reports. These magazines are produced on digital cartridge and delivered through the mail. In addition, patrons also have access to NFB-NEWSLINE�, a free electronic service that gives any blind, visually impaired, or print-disabled person access to newspapers, magazines, and TV listings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a touch-tone telephone, on the Web, or by download to a digital talking-book player or MP3-playing device.

Newsline, a talking newspaper service offered through the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia, might be accessed by patrons who registered with this NLS service.

Who is Eligible for Service?

  • People unable to read regular print due to blindness or a visual disability.
  • People unable to hold books or turn pages due to a physical disability.

These disabilities do not have to be permanent for you to qualify for the service. Persons with a temporary disability, such as impairment due to accident or surgery, are also eligible. In certain instances, individuals with reading disabilities such as dyslexia are also eligible, but they must provide doctor certification.

To qualify, individuals must submit an application, that includes a referral from a medical specialist, teacher, or librarian to attest to that person’s impairment. After enrollment, tapes may be delivered free of charge through the mail or they may be picked up at the downtown library.

Download Application (PDF)

Residents of nursing or personal care homes are also eligible for this service.

How do I apply?

Simply fill out the application at the library, or request one to be mailed to you, or click above to download a copy.