Eligible individuals, and institutions that provide services for those unable to read regular print due to visual or physical limitations (nursing homes, retirement communities, schools, libraries, etc.), in Illinois may apply for free library service from the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center and Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Services.
Who is eligible for the program?
Any Illinois resident, regardless of age, who has a visual, physical, or reading disability that prevents the reading of standard print may apply for service. Conditions may be permanent or temporary (resulting from injury or surgery). Examples include conditions such as cataracts, gluacoma, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, or dyslexia.
NLS guidelines specify the following:
1. Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
2. Other physically handicapped persons are eligible as follows:
A. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of regular printed material.
B. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use regular printed material because of physical limitations.
C. Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent reading regular printed material in a conventional manner.
Who can certify people as eligible?
In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, "competent authority" is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress.
In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.
All applications should be mailed to the following address:
Illinois State Library
Talking Book and Braille Service
300 S Second Street
Springfield, IL 62701