Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
A visually impaired/blind individual with a desire to learn music or play an instrument can find free lessons and information from a service provided by the Library of Congress. The National Library Services (NLS) music section is an informational and instructional program started in 1962. The music section of the National Library Services which Congress authorized and includes a collection of music for blind and physically handicapped individuals. The music section added as a free part of the National Library Services collection of Braille books and recorded magazines. Reading this article you will gain information concerning the services offered, how to receive the services and instructions to take advantage of the music program of the National Library Service.
Individuals interested in learning about the music section of the National Library Service should visit the NLS website’s home page. Then click on the link to the music section of the website. In the music section, NLS patrons can find order forms and catalogs listing the instructional recordings in large print and Braille. Qualified users can also receive a subscription program of music magazines. Usually, a loan time for instructional brail and recordings is three months, which is renewable.
Qualified users of the program must meet two requirements, which include,
1. Patrons must reside in the US or the US territories, or a US citizen living abroad
2. Patrons must have a temporary or permanent visual/physical disability, which makes reading standard print impossible. **Note: An individual with a visual/physical disability already using library services from a talking book library in their state or has obtained a cassette player or digital talking book machine is considered eligible to receive items from the music section of the NLS. All contact information, registration forms and directions for receiving items from the music section of the NLS can be found on the home page of the National Library Service’s website.
The website contains several links for obtaining different forms of music books or recordings. Three types of music books or recordings with special links include,
1. Web-Braille books - requires obtaining a user name and password account
2. Music files and catalogues
3. Braille and audio reading downloads (DARD) – requires filling out a registration form
The special music section contains over 30,000 large print and Braille books and audio recordings of instructional formats, history of music and information on composers. The instructional information ranges in degree of difficulty from beginning to advanced levels. The special music section contains lessons for a variety of instruments including piano, guitar and organ.
Any visual/physically disabled individual can find helpful and interesting information concerning music on the National Library Services website. Check out the site and discover your hidden musical talents.