From kindergarten to high school, students who are blind or have vision loss need textbooks, workbooks, maps and other educational resources just like any other student. But the school districts which serve them may only have one or two children who are blind. Purchasing Braille textbooks is often beyond their financial feasibility. For instance, Webster's Dictionary is 72 volumes in Braille and costs $1,381. Or, a student in the fifth grade will only use a fifth-grade spelling textbook a single year. Then, since it's unlikely that another student who is blind will be in the fifth grade at the same school the next year, the textbook will sit, unused, on a shelf. By the time that particular school system has another fifth-grader who can use Braille textbooks, the books bought previously will probably be out-of-date.
This is where the Instructional Resource Center steps in. Using federal and state funds, we purchase or produce the needed materials, in Braille or large print. A student in Huntsville may use it this year, but next year, it may be reused by another student in Dothan. We also loan equipment, like Braillewriters to help students learn alternate communication skills.
The books and materials we don't have in stock at our facility can usually be obtained through the American Printing House for the Blind or other vendors. If not, we can produce them on site. Every student in Alabama who is blind or has low vision, whether in public and private schools, will have access to the books and materials they need to succeed in school - that's our goal at the Instructional Resource Center for the Blind.
Active students and clients of AIDB programs are also eligible for these services, as are clients with vision disabilities served by the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Teachers may click here to register a new student.
Teachers may click here to order books and supplies.
National Library Service Subregional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Anyone of any age who is blind, has vision loss or is physically unable to read regular books can sign up to take advantage of the federal talking books program, officially called the National Library Service/Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. This program was established in 1934, and books on cassette were made available in the 1960s.
The National Library Service (NLS) program for residents of Talladega, Coosa and St. Clair Counties is located here at AIDB, in the Library and Instructional Resource Center. Our staff processes applications, fills book and descriptive video requests, and coordinates services for this area.
The Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is free, funded annually by Congress. Books are selected to appeal to a wide-range of interests, including bestsellers, biographies, fiction and how-to books. Magazines are also produced on audio discs and in Braille. More than 70 titles are available, and registered readers can receive free monthly subscriptions to magazines like Good Housekeeping, U.S. News and World Report, Consumer Reports, Jack and Jill, Sports Illustrated and many others.
Equipment and accessories are also available for loan through the program. This may include playback equipment, a remote control for readers with limited mobility or an auxiliary amplifier for use with headphones for readers who are hard of hearing.
Many music titles are also provided as part of this service. The national music collection is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than 30,000 items. This includes scores in Braille and large print, textbooks and books about music in large print and Braille. Also available are recordings of elementary instruction for voice, piano, organ, guitar, recorder, accordion, banjo and harmonica.
If you wish to apply for library services click here to request an application. You will need to fill out the form and have it signed by your doctor or other healthcare provider to certify that you are eligible for these services. Mail the form to AIDB Library and Resource Center, Post Office Box 698, Talladega, AL 35161. We are located at 705 E. South Street. On the form, tell us about your reading habits and your preferences in books and magazines. We can select titles based on your interests if you like; we keep a record of what has already been sent to you so we don't send material you've already read. If you prefer, we will only send you titles you specifically request.
The playback equipment, talking books, cassettes or Braille books will all be sent by mail. You have eight weeks before materials are due back. You can return the materials by mail, with no postage charge, just by marking it "free reading material for the blind." If you need to renew your material, you can call 800-848-4722 for an extension.
If you're already registered as an NLS Subregional Library patron click here to search for books online. You may do an author, title, subject or keyword search, then paste the book information into an email to us. Be sure to include the book title and author, or the book number.