Headphone on a side stack of books.
Making Adjustments

Get Back The Joy Of Reading With NLS

Jul 17, 2020

Get Back The Joy Of Reading With NLS

Accessing audiobooks is a popular topic as we face limited options for entertainment during the pandemic. Two new podcasts on the subject are in production, and we’re refreshing OE’s best articles highlighting programs, services and technologies that promote listening to literature.

Vision loss often takes the joy out of reading. Enlarging print can make reading possible — but not necessarily easy. This is particularly true for reading books.

Transitioning from reading visually to listening is a worthwhile process — it can give you back the joy. Not everyone loves the first audiobook experience. It requires a new kind of focus. Initially, for some people, it can be like a sleeping pill.

Stick with it. In the relatively short term, you will find it is every bit as good as the reading you thought was lost forever. Remember, reading a good book is not the act of seeing the words with your eyes  — it is really about getting immersed in the story, the characters, the subject matter.

Don’t get caught up in the change. Get caught up in the content. If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.

An excellent way to get this process started is to sign up for the National Library Service Talking Books Program. Eligible borrowers receive audio books delivered postage free. A digital book player is provided, also free of charge.

Audiobooks can be easily ordered with a phone call to your local network library. Books can be requested by title, by author, by subject, or by categories such as mystery, history, biography, etc.

There is no due date for the return of your borrowed books and there is no fee for late returns. Listen to books at your own pace.  When finished, just flip the mailing label over and return the disk to the library.

In addition to audiobooks, NLS also makes a selection of magazines and music available to borrowers.

Visit NLS online or click here for application.

Or you can call 888.NLS.READ (888.657.7323) and follow prompts to get an application or find the library in your area that administers the Talking Books Program.

Reading disability must be certified by a doctor, nurse, optician, social worker, or a librarian on the application. It is not necessary to be legally blind to qualify. 

Alternatively, Apple iPhone and iPad users, and Android phone and tablet users can download NLS digital content directly through the Bard Mobile App (available on the App Store and on Google Play). The app requires a second registration which will provide a password for logging on. For user guide and registration form, search online for “BARD Mobile Application.”

Go ahead and enjoy a good read!



National Library Service


Online: www.loc.gov/nls/

Click here for application.

This article was first published on OE, March 2, 2017 and refreshed July 17, 2020.

Please note that this article was not paid for, affiliated with, or endorsed by any third-party companies. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s.

For comments, questions or feedback, email us, or connect on Facebook or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



One Comment

  1. Wonst100000 says:

    I am glad to read it.

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