More on the Talking Book Program
We love local libraries. They really try very hard to have a selection of large print books and audio books. Local libraries are close by and have nice librarians who help patrons. The problem is that they have a limited collection of books available that are accessible for low vision patients.
While local libraries are a great resource, we strongly suggest that our patients, who are readers, become patrons of the Talking Book Program. The Talking Book Program is a free, national program available to anyone who is "Print Impaired." Authorized entities, like Visions of Independence, can enroll people into the program. Once enrolled, patrons have access to tens of thousands of books. Patrons can choose large print or audio formats. Audio formats can be a small cartridge that gets inserted into a Talking Book Machine or can be downloaded directly to smart phones. All the material, including the Talking Book Machine, gets mailed at no charge to patrons. Returning material back to the library is also free and done by mail. The Talking Book Machines themselves are impressive. They are equipped with a jack for headphones. In addition, they have controls to change the reading speed and a setting that shuts off the machine after a set time.
Thanks to the program, many of our patients are "reading" a book a week. We think that the Talking Book Program is wonderful and allows low vision patients to easily access books once again.