Library Services for Blind and Low Vision Users
Libraries are one of the most accessible community services for a reason. Not only are most library resources completely free, but they’re designed for all people to engage with the written word. If you’re a person who is blind or living with low vision, you don’t need to worry about a lack of accessibility at your local library. Many provide bestselling books transcribed in Braille or converted to audiobooks. If you’ve been searching for accessible reading materials, visit your local library!
Accessible and Assistive Resources
If you’re a person who is blind or lives with low vision, you should always have access to all library resources. Ideally, these should include resources like audio materials, CDs, and TV programs. Also, all librarians, library team members, and volunteers should be well trained in assistive technology. This includes training in the guidance of people with low vision if assistance is requested.
Books that Cover a Wide Range of Subjects
You should have access to the same genres as able-bodied people. This can include access to reading materials in Braille or audiobooks. Like anyone else, the love of tangible, handheld books is a shared experience everyone should have. Thus, you shouldn’t have to be restricted to genres that are outside of your interests or don’t match your preferences. With assistive technology, you can escape into fantastical worlds or engross yourself in a fun, summer romance.
The Library of Congress includes a specialized program known as the NLS, otherwise known as the National Library Service. This is a free, talking book library service specifically designed for people who are blind or living with low vision. The NLS is a service that goes far beyond reading materials for people who are blind. People living with any disability that limits their ability to read can use the NLS and access their resources.
Ask Your Library About These…
Libraries offer some of the most accessible, convenient, and affordable services available. If you’re a person who is blind or living with low vision, you should never be left out of the amazing benefits libraries can provide. For your reference, every local and/or regional public library should offer at least one of the following services:
- Braille books and magazines form the NLS
- Dual Braille and print picture books that can be enjoyed by everyone
- Various audio materials like audiobooks, eBooks, and CDs
- Completely audio-described TV programs that include captioning for scenes without pre-recorded dialogue (e.g., movies)
- Large print books and magazines with a font size greater than 14
- InterLibrary Loan services in which your library can acquire any book for you from another library
Express your appreciation for libraries at the national level. Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more.