The Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, often referred to as the Talking Books program, is available at no cost to any resident of the United States or American citizen living abroad who is unable to read or use regular print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations. The program provides eligible individuals access to audiobooks, audio magazines, braille books, large print books, braille and large print music, and a fully accessible web- and app-based service for downloading books, magazines, and music in braille.
It’s estimated that over 18,000 people in Wyoming are unable to read regular print material due to visual, physical, or reading disabilities. If your patrons are struggling with such an impairment — whether permanent or temporary — they qualify for the program.
The Wyoming Department of Education runs the program in this state through the combination of in-house support and a contract with the Utah State Library. The WDE has a 90-year history of managing the program as well as a statutory requirement to provide services to adult, visually impaired state residents. The Wyoming State Library provides information about this service to Wyoming library patrons as a courtesy to the Department of Education, but does not otherwise participate in the program.
Timeline of the program in Wyoming:
- 1921 – State Board of Charities Program is given general supervision of the deaf and blind.
- 1929 – Program is transferred from State Board of Charities to Wyoming Department of Education.
- 1931 – The Pratt-Smoot Act established a National Library Service for the Blind. The WDE begins offering the service.
- 1993 – House Bill 78 made the State Board of Education responsible for administering education programs and services for adult visually handicapped persons.