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How to Apply

Talking Books is a FREE audiobook and Braille library for people who cannot read standard sized print for long periods of time comfortably.  We serve students who are legally blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, and, in medically documented cases, reading disabilities.  And when we say our service is free, we really mean our service is free, free, FREE.  We provide each and every one of our users with a free audio book player that is required to play our specially formatted audio books (which help keep the service free), and we provide free replacement and repair of our players.  We send you books through the mail for free, and you mail the books back to us for free (each comes with a pre-paid return mailing card).  You can also download as many of our digital audio and electronic Braille books and magazines as you want for free.  Our service truly is free in every meaningful sense of the word.

All you need to do to register with our library is:

1)  Qualify under one of the following:

a.  Legally Blind – persons whose visual acuity, as determined by a competent authority (see 2d), is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees

b.  Visually Disabled – persons who need aids stronger than regular reading glasses for reading standard printed materials (i.e. macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, etc)

c.  Physically Disabled – persons unable to read or unable to use standard printed materials as a result of physical limitations (i.e. muscular sclerosis, stroke, Parkinson’s, paraplegia, traumatic brain injury, etc)

d.  Deaf-Blindness

e.  Reading Disabled – persons having a reading disability (i.e. neurological dyslexia) resulting from an organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent them from reading standard printed materials in a normal manner

2)  Fill out our student application.  This application is the only paperwork we require in order to register a student.  We do not require any additional notes or letters from doctors listing a specific diagnosis, proofs of legal blindness from the Oregon Commission for the Blind or your local ESD, or any other additional paperwork.

a.  Page 1 of the application just asks for the student’s name, mailing addresses (so we know where to mail the books to), and their phone number (so we can contact you if there is a problem).  If need be, we gladly mail books to addresses other than a student’s residence if friends, family members, or teachers prefer to handle mail for them.

b.  Page 2 asks what types of books the student would like to receive.  Feel free to mark as many or as few subject preferences as you want, and please use the margins or the space provided below the subject list to indicate any special interests or sub-genre preferences.  Just know that the more areas of interest marked, the broader and more general the pool of books our computer system has to choose from to send you.

c.  Page 3 asks if the student would be interested in any of the additional services or accessories we provide.  These services and accessories are in addition to our core service of mailing books to you, and all are free, though for some there are stipulations regarding who is eligible to receive them (especially in the case of some of our accessories).  Click here to view an online version of the application insert describing our additional services that usually comes with copies of the application we send through the mail.

d.  Page 4 is the Certification of Eligibility page.  Here you will need to have a doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, ophthalmologist, optometrist, professional librarian (MLS or MLIS), nurse, therapist, or other professional staff of a hospital, institution, or social welfare agency sign the application certifying the student’s eligibility for our library.  NOTE: in the case of Reading Disabled, the application MUST and CAN ONLY be signed by a doctor of medicine (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO). Reading disabilities must be medically diagnosed.

3)  Return the completed application back to us.  You can mail it, fax it, or scan/email it back in.  Once we receive the application, we will make a confirmation call to verify information, and then the student’s account is usually set up within 1-2 business days.  The student’s player and first couple of books go out the next business day following the creation of their new account.  There are instances were the process can take longer (especially around holidays), but we endeavor to meet this standard as often as possible.

A Copy of our student application can be downloaded by clicking either of the links below.  There is space for a home and school address.  Please indicate which address we should use as the mailing address (this selection can be changed for summer and winter breaks).

Student Application: Word, PDF

Thank you very much for your interest in our services.  Please contact us at 800-452-0292 or tbabs.info@state.or.us if you have any questions or require any clarification. 

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NLS Kids Zone

NLS has launched a web page for children called Kids Zone.  The site offers an online search engine to locate children's books in the national collection.  Kids Zone may be accessed through a link on the NLS home page at www.loc.gov/nls or directly at the following site:  www.loc.gov/nls/children/index.html.

Get Microsoft SilverlightFree Library Service Keeps Blind Children Reading
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Oregon Battle of the Books

Each year students from across Oregon participate in the Battle of the Books event, and students with print disabilities can enjoy reading these titles as well.  Talking Books has many of the titles on each year's list in audio or in Braille, and if we don't have a title we can help you connect with sources that do.  Click this link for our Battle of the Books information page for a full list of titles and sources.
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BARD, which stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download, grants users download-on-demand access to books, magazines, and even some musical scores made available by the National Library Service in both audio and Braille formats.  These are the exact same titles that you are able to borrow from Talking Books, but instead of receiving them through the mail you can download them for immediate reading., with no due dates or limits to the number of downloads.

The BARD Mobile app is also now available for compatable iOS devices, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches running v4.3.3 or higher.  Titles are downloaded directly to the iOS device, making BARD books much more portable and accessible.  The entire download process is simplified to one step, making it a much easier system for students to learn.  For students new to Talking Books who are interested in using BARD Mobile, follow these three easy steps: 1) register with Talking Books, 2) create a BARD account, and 3) download the free BARD Mobile app.  You can refer to this handout for more information.

Students or parents/guardians interested in using BARD must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection and a compatible audio book player (all studentss receive the Talking Books digital player, which is a compatible audio player) or Braille devise.  An email address and password are required to use BARD.  If you are already a registered user of Talking Books you can fill out the BARD application here.  For more information about BARD, including detailed step-by-step instructions, FAQs, and user requirements, click this link for our BARD information page, or watch the video below.



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Books into Movies

As more and more popular book titles are made into movies, we've compiled a list of the classic and current titles we have available (both in audio and in Braille).  Click this link to view the full list, which includes links to download titles from BARD, or you can email us to request a sortable excel file.
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Talking Books provides Braille books for students a couple of different ways. Embossed Braille books are available via the State Library in Utah. We call this service Utah Braille. Accounts are created at no cost to the user (we cover the costs using donation funds), and we manage the ordering process for you.  Electronic Braille books can be downloaded using the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service and transferred onto a Braille-aware device, Braille display, or printed using a Braille embosser.​  For more detailed information about the Braille services our library provides, click this link for our Braille page.
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Descriptive Videos

Descriptive Videos are full-length feature films with an additional sound track that describes the visual elements of a movie - the action, characters, locations, costumes and sets - without interfering with the movie's dialogue or sound effects.  Most of our collection is on VHS, but we have a handful of DVD titles as well.  Contact us to request a catalog and request form, and a complete list of our Descriptive Video collection is also available online, including our Family & Children's Classics category.  Talking Books does not provide or loan any VCR's, DVD players, or TVs.  User's must have their own equipment.
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