Library patron using braille and talking books

Library Services for People with Print Disabilities

NLS Talking (Audio) and Braille Books

Talking (audio) and braille books by mail, downloadable books and magazines via desktop or mobile app, descriptive videos, and audio playback equipment are available for loan – FREE OF CHARGE – to Californians unable to read conventional print due to a visual or physical disability.

Please select your county of residence from the list below to be directed to the appropriate California National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) network library.

National Federation for the Blind NEWSLINE ®

By dialing local or in some cases a toll-free number, over 300 national and local (including 19 California) newspapers are now available over any touch-tone telephone via synthetic speech. Individuals who are blind or visually impaired can become eligible for this free service by filling out a simple application. Please contact the library in your area from the above listing.

Telephonic Reader Programs – available via Greater Sacramento and Los Angeles areas.

Telephonic Reader Programs allow persons with visual impairments to use their telephone touch tone key pads to listen to local magazines, weekly newspapers, TV Guide listings, archived radio shows, bus schedules, newsletters and shopping advertisements. In Sacramento please contact the Society for the Blind. In Los Angeles contact the Braille Institute Library.

Assistive Technology

Accessible computers are available for use at all of California's NLS Network Libraries. Please contact each library for details about which adaptive hardware and assistive software is available. Computers may be equipped with:

– Screen reader software:

  • Jaws for Windows
  • WindowEyes
  • NVDA

– Screen magnification software:

  • ZoomText
  • Magic

– Optical character recognition (OCR) software for use with flatbed scanners:

  • Open Book
  • Kurzweil

– Braille translation software that allows a user to emboss documents
using an attached or networked braille embosser:

  • Duxbury

Closed-Circuit Magnifiers (CCTVs), various low vision aids, and stand-alone reading machines may also be available for use in these libraries. Please visit or contact any of the following libraries for information about on-site assistive technology.