Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White says new digital Talking Books and players are now available to patrons who use the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries.
White said all active Network patrons have been contacted to see if they wish to receive a digital Talking Book player, and he is encouraging others who are print disabled to sign up for the free service and obtain a new, easy-to-use digital player.
“We are very excited about the availability of these new digital players, and patrons who are already using them have told us how easy they are to use and much they enjoy them,” White said. “We know, however, that as many as 150,000 Illinois residents who have trouble reading or holding regular print materials could qualify for the service. We want those potential users to sign up for our free service and discover how much Talking Books can enhance their lives.”
More than 28,000 Illinoisans now use the wide variety of materials provided by the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries. Users can choose from a large collection of digital audio books, braille materials, descriptive videos, magazines and other services. With the cooperation of the U.S. Postal Service these materials are mailed free of charge to participants, and users return materials free of charge.
Others eligible to participate include anyone who needs large print or who has macular degeneration, arthritis, dyslexia, cataracts, cerebral palsy or any other type of visual or physical impairment that limits reading.
“Many more persons will become eligible in the coming years as the ‘baby boom’ generation ages,” White said. “At the same time, it is not well known that the program is available to all ages. Schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other organizations may use the service. I strongly encourage anyone who qualifies, or who knows a friend, family member or loved one who may qualify, to sign up for this outstanding free service. These materials have the ability to greatly enhance the lives of citizens who cannot read regular printed material because of a visual or physical disability.”
Persons interested in more information, or wanting to sign up, may contact the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service at 1-800-665-5576, option 5, or log on to www.ilbph.org. The Talking Book program is administered by the Secretary of State’s office, and is a division of the State Library. The Illinois network consists of the TBBS regional library in Springfield; Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center in East Peoria; Voices of Vision Talking Book Center in Geneva; Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center and the Illinois Machine Sub-lending Agency in Carterville.