Subregional Library for the Blind

Audio cartridge and TBM
  • Also housed in the AIRCB is the Subregional Library for the Blind and Print Disability, part of a national network of libraries administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disability (NLS).

    The Subregional Library for the Blind and Print Disability provides for loan digital talking book players, digital talking books, braille books and audio described movies to residents of Talladega, St. Clair, and Calhoun Counties who are unable to read the written word due to a visual or print disabled. 

    Who is eligible for Talking Book service?

    The following persons are eligible for 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 are eligible 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.

    Who may certify patrons as eligible for service?

    Certifying Authority

    In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, "competent authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private 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 by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress.

    In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.

    What are the residency or citizenship requirements?

    Residency or U.S. Citizenship

    Eligible 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.

    What are the different classes of patrons?

    Lending of Materials and Classes of Borrowers

    Veterans. In the lending of books, recordings, playback equipment, musical scores, instructional texts, and other specialized materials, preference shall be given at all times to the needs of the blind and other physically handicapped persons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States.

    Institutions. The reading materials and playback equipment 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 the use by such persons only. The reading materials and playback equipment 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 eligible on an individual basis and must be the direct and only recipients of the materials and equipment.

    What is available from the Talking Books program?

    Library patrons can expect to borrow audio or braille books such as they might find in print at a local public library. Books and magazines in audio form (talking books) and braille are delivered to eligible readers by postage-free mail and are returned in the same manner.

    Can I get my Talking Books online?

    Yes, patrons with internet access may download Talking Books through our exciting new program called BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). BARD enables registered patrons to download over 28,000 digital books (DB) and over 40 digital magazines directly from the program's website. Anyone registered as an active patron of a BPH library can have access to BARD after completing the short online application. For more information about BARD, call Ben Payne, Talladega Subregional Library Reader Advisor at 256-761-3337. Here is the BARD website with instructions on how to register for downloading books for your Digital Talking Book Machine from the NLS website.

    How do I know what books you have?

    Here is a link to the NLS Catalog that you may use to look for titles, authors or subjects that interest you:  

    To learn more about NLS services 

    Do you have textbooks?

    NLS does not provide textbooks, but Learning Ally has many textbooks available for a small subscription fee. For more information visit them at: is another source for electronic textbooks, magazines and periodicals.

    Is there a cost to join the Talking Books program?

    No, there is no cost to qualified patrons. Books and players are furnished by NLS and materials are delivered via postage free mail through the United States Postal Service.

    Can I apply for service online?

    Yes, you may fill out an application online but it will need to be printed and signed by the appropriate certifying authority and then mailed or delivered to the local Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

    Office hours are Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. We are located at 705 South St. East in Talladega, AL. Walk-ins are always welcome!

    May I get Talking Books if I do not reside in Talladega, St. Clair, or Calhoun County?

    Yes, but you will need to apply through NLS and receive Talking Books from your assigned service center. Residents who live outside of Talladega, St. Clair, and Calhoun County, Alabama may request service at:

  • 2021 Spring Reader Resource(audio)

    by Ben Payne, Sub-regional Library Reader Advisor Length:
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