Apply for Services
Anyone who cannot use regular printed materials because of a visual or other physical handicap is eligible. This includes anyone whose visual impairment, either permanent or temporary, cannot be corrected with reading glasses. Persons with a physical disability preventing them from turning pages or holding a book are also included. In addition, certain learning disabilities may qualify. Facilities serving qualified persons, such as schools and nursing homes, are also eligible.
The patron pays nothing for this service since the library materials are in special formats which qualify for FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND mailing privileges. There are no postal charges for sending our library materials through the mail.
All applications for service must be submitted with a certifying signature from a competent authority.
In cases of blindness, visual disability, or physical limitations, "competent authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress. Certifying authorities must not be relatives of the applicant, even if otherwise qualified. Institutional applications for nursing homes must be signed by the director of the nursing home or their designee. In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines. Qualified readers must be residents of the United States, including the several states, territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia, or American citizens domiciled abroad.
- In the lending of books, recordings, sound reproducers, musical scores, instructional texts, and other specialized materials, preference shall be given at all times to the needs of blind and other print disabled persons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.
- The reading materials and sound reproducers for the use of blind and print disabled persons may be loaned to individuals who qualify, to institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals, and to schools for the blind or physically handicapped for use of such persons only. The reading materials and sound reproducers may also be used in public or private schools where handicapped students are enrolled; however, the students in public or private schools must be certified as enrolled in the school and eligible on an individual basis via the annual student list form and must be the direct and only recipients of the materials and equipment. Individual applications must be submitted for any student qualifying due to a reading disability, as they must be certified as eligible by a medical doctor. For more information on certification requirements for students with reading disabilities, please refer to the NLS on Qualifications for Talking Books with Reading Disabilities