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Books for the Blind
by G. Hall, September 2005

I have volunteered for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) for seventeen years now, and really enjoy doing it. When I got to a point in my life where I wanted to do something for other people (and had the time to fit it in), I immediately thought of recording books for others. I love to read and hoped to record some of my favorite mystery novels. When I called the organization, they asked what I did for a living. Since I'm a chemist by profession, they suggested I record chemistry textbooks at a local studio.

There are more than thirty studios nationwide which will record any textbook requested by the borrower - who only has to supply two copies of the book and have his or her specially adapted recording system, in order to listen to the recordings. RFB&D will record the books on CDs free of charge. In recent years the organization has recognized the great need to supply books, not just to the blind, but also to individuals who are print-disabled due to various perceptual problems. So, the name was changed from Recording for the Blind to Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

RFB&D puts out a newsletter with articles on the various students and businesspeople who have benefited from our textbooks. It is amazing and gratifying to read about their academic or professional successes. One recent issue included a thank you letter from a nationally-known glass artist who obviously has been very successful in his life. He wrote that he had suffered all his life from dyslexia and had never been really able to experience the pleasures of reading, but now was able to though recorded books.

This is a truly wonderful organization, and I recommend anyone interested in becoming a borrower or volunteering, to contact them at their RFB&D website.
Editor's Note:

We were recently contacted by another renowned organization, that provides services to the visually impaired - that is, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), who offer a Talking Books program.

Program director Frank Kurt Cylke tells us that this 'is a free library service administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. It is available to eligible U.S. residents and citizens living abroad whose blindness or physical handicap makes reading a standard printed page difficult. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS mails audiobooks and magazines on special-format cassettes and in braille, as well as playback equipment, directly to enrollees at no cost.'

The program's over 300,000 titles include 'unabridged bestsellers, classics, biographies, romances, mysteries, and westerns.' Interested in receiving audio and/or braille books through Talking Books? Call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) or visit the NLS Find a Library website.

Looking for a similar program in Canada? The Canadian National Institute for the Blind has a Library for the Blind that works with partner libraries and schools around the country. 'Library services lend recreational books and magazines in braille and audio cassette format in French and English, provide talking book cassette players, and transcribe from print to audio cassette or braille format, vocational, educational and professional materials on request.'
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.