Welcome to the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center
At the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center (ITBOC), we provide library service to Illinois residents who are unable to read print due to a visual or physical impairment. Accessible materials (digital audio and braille books and magazines) are conveniently mailed to and from our patrons wherever they reside, and the program is tax supported so there is never any out-of-pocket expense for postage or materials.
Talking Book programs are available nationwide through a network of libraries and service organizations administered by the Library of Congress through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries involves collaboration between two organizations:
- Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service - Acts as the Regional Library, houses the collection, serves Chicago residents, and distributes the digital players.
- Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center - An advisory outreach center providing reader advisory and outreach services to all Illinois residents outside the city of Chicago.
ITBOC formed in 2013 with the consolidation of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center and the Voices of Vision Talking Book Center. We proudly provide our readers with the human connection for the talking book program: our friendly reader advisors are like personal librarians for our patrons and the point of contact for ordering books, managing accounts, and answering any questions. We currently serve approximately 12,500 Illinois residents and are available Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm.
The talking book collection contains over 84,000 book titles across all genres, including bestsellers, nonfiction, mysteries, and children’s books. Patrons can access over 70 digital magazines, braille materials, foreign language materials, and descriptive DVDs. And just like your public library, if you can’t find a book in our collection, it may be available via interlibrary loan. Patrons also have access to over 70,000 titles available for download through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) collection and apps.
Each patron receives a free digital player to listen to books. Sturdy, portable, and easy to use, the machines are about the size of a hardcover book. The players have large navigation buttons with built-in audio instructions, and the rechargeable battery lasts over 29 hours so books can be enjoyed on the patio or on the go. Additional features include a headphone jack, a USB port, and sleep and bookmark functions.
Reading provides the stimulation and enrichment people need to maintain independence and stay engaged with their communities. After all, reading is for everyone.
If you or someone you know could benefit from our program, please call us today at 1-800-426-0709 or email us at info [at] illinoistalkingbooks [dot] org.
If you are looking for a brochure or other information to print out, please check out our "Partner Services" tab. There you will find a PowerPoint about our services that you can use in a program and various PDFs you can print.