Apply for Service

Please read the following eligibility requirements to see if you qualify for service. If you qualify then you may go ahead and fill out an application. Only original signed applications will be accepted.

Instructions for Applications

Eligibility Information

The following persons are eligible for loan service:

  • Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
  • Other physically handicapped persons as follows:
    • Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material.
    • Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
    • Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.

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Certifying Signature

All applications for service must be submitted with a certifying signature from a competent authority.

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Definition of 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.

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Lending of Materials and Classes of Borrowers

A. Veterans

  • 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 other physically handicapped persons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.

B. Institutions

  • The reading materials and sound reproducers for the use of blind and physically handicapped 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

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Download and Print Application

Download a printable Rich Text Format version of the application for library service.

Fill out the application and have it signed by a competent authority. Please type or handprint. Mail the fully completed and signed application to the library. Please be sure to keep a copy. Call the library if you have questions about the application process.

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Library's Contact Address

Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
State Library of North Carolina
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
1841 Capital Boulevard
Raleigh, North Carolina 27635
VOICE: (919) 733-4376 (Raleigh area residents)
Toll-Free: 1-888-388-2460 (Nationwide)
TDD: (919) 733-1462
FAX: (919) 733-6910

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Associated Files