Guest Author - Carla Ruschival
Residents of Alabama who are blind and visually impaired or who cannot read print because of a physical disability can receive braille or audio books and magazines through the mail, free of charge.
People who cannot see to read a regular print book or who cannot manipulate a book because of arthritis, paralysis, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, or who have a reading disability such as dyslexia qualify for services. They may borrow audio Talking Books or braille books through special libraries that are part of a Library of Congress program called the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).
All kinds of books are available, from mysteries to fantasies to biographies to cookbooks to children's books. Thousands of titles are in the collection for every reading taste. Magazines are also available in braille and on tape.
The patron can call his or her Talking Book Library and ask for books, or a reader advisor can select books for him. Books are sent through the mail free of charge, and when the patron is finished with them, they are returned, again postage-free. Magazines do not need to be returned.
The Talking Book libraries in Alabama use volunteers to record books about the state or books by authors from the state. Be sure to ask about these special titles available on free loan.
Some Talking Book libraries have acquired a collection of popular audio-described movies for adults and children; give the library that serves your area a call to find out if it has these movies for loan.
Some NLS libraries use interlibrary loan to make audiobooks and other commercially-produced materials available to their patrons. Be sure to ask your Talking Book library how to access this service free of charge.
To find out more and request an application, call the library that serves the county in which you live (see contact list below). Request and complete the application and start reading today!
Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
6030 Monticello Drive
Montgomery, AL 36130-6000
Telephone: (334)213-3906 and (334)213-3921
Toll-free (In-state): (800)392-5671
Email the Montgomery library or visit their website
Serves: 60 of Alabama's 67 counties; braille readers receive service from Utah
Library for the Blind and Handicapped
Public Library of Anniston and Calhoun County
P.O. Box 308
Anniston, AL 36202-0308
Email the Anniston library or visit their website
Serves: Calhoun County
Department for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Houston-Love Memorial Library
P.O. Box 1369
Dothan, AL 36302
Email the Dothan library
Serves: Houston County
Huntsville Subregional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
P.O. Box 443
Huntsville, AL 35804
Telephone: (256)532-5980 and (256)532-5981
Email the Huntsville library or visit their website
Serves: Madison County
Tuscaloosa Subregional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Tuscaloosa Public Library
1801 Jack Warner Parkway
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
Email the Tuscaloosa library or visit their website
Serves: Tuscaloosa County
Library and Resource Center for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind
705 South Street
P.O. Box 698
Talladega, AL 35161
Toll-free (In-state): (800)848-4722
Email the library at AIDB or visit their website
Serves: Coosa, St. Clair, and Talladega counties