The Lee County Library System offers a talking books service, a free library program for people who need to hear their reading due to a visual or physical disability. The program is an extension of the Library of Congress, and was started by an act of Congress in 1931 for blinded veterans of World War I. The service has changed and expanded over the years, and is available to any adult or child with a visual or physical disability that makes it difficult to hold a book or turn pages.
How do you begin? Call the talking books library at 995-2665, or 800-854-8195 and ask for an application. The required application must be certified by someone in the medical field, such as a doctor, nurse, optometrist, social worker or counselor. After the application is processed, a special player is sent free of charge, which is necessary to play the audio books. The books in the talking books program are recorded at a different speed than commercial tapes, and there are four sides, or tracks, on each cassette.
What types of materials are available? The library houses a collection of popular titles that appeal to both adults and children. Lee County Talking Books Library patrons have access to a statewide collection of over two million titles. There are recorded magazines available as well as narrated videos and DVDs that have audio descriptions of action and other visual elements.
How much does all this cost? Talking books are entirely free for all eligible adults and children, funded by a combination of local, state and federal funds. The U.S. Postal Service even provides postage free mailing.
How do you receive your books? Books are sent by mail with reversible return mail cards. Book preferences are filled by ordering from bi-monthly catalogs, or setting up automatic computer selections based on author or subject preferences.
Since your materials arrive by mail, there is never a need to visit the library. However, you are always welcome to stop by for a visit and to meet the staff. The address is 13240 North Cleveland Avenue, North Fort Myers. Don’t let your inability to use printed materials keep you from enjoying the latest books by your favorite authors. Call talking books now, and keep on reading.