Increasing Access to Reading

In addition to recommending books and calling your attention to informative websites, I like to share information from the greater library world.

The following information is from the latest issue of Bookmark, the publication of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians: If you or someone you know has a problem accessing print for educational or pleasure reading, you are eligible to use the resources of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC). Formerly called the Library for the Blind and Handicapped, the library recognizes that there are many reasons for readers having difficulty with print: a visual disability, an intellectual disability, a processing problem, a physical problem holding a print book, or simply needing larger print.

TBBC has audiobooks, audio magazines, braille books and magazines, which are available in physical formats to be mailed to school or home. A mobile app is available for those who prefer to use a smartphone or tablet to listen to audio or read braille. TBBC also has a sizable collection of large print books for children and teens.

And the services are free.

According to information from Elizabeth Burns, Head of Reader Services, TBBC and Jennifer Apgar, Youth Services Librarian, TBBC,  “It’s easier than ever to sign up students with a print disability with TBBC.

“TBBC doesn’t require medical records, documents, or IEPs. Instead, a “certifying authority”,  someone who is familiar with the student, signs the application verifying that the student qualifies for services.

“The list of who is a “certifying authority” has expanded to include librarians, certified reading specialists, educators, and school psychologists. They may certify an application for anyone who qualifies for TBBC services, including those with reading disabilities.

“ If you or someone you know, is interested in signing up for services, you can find the application at our website

To access the library and for information on services go to the Library’s website

Note that services are not limited to students; anyone who meets the criteria is eligible for services from TBBC

If you would like more information, or have any questions, please contact the library at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 800-792-8322 ext 823.

In addition The Library of Congress also has services for print impaired individuals. The bottom line is that if you or someone you know loves to read but is no longer physically capable of reading from a traditional book, there are options to help that individual.

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