Available by appointment only.
The Alexandria Library's Talking Book Department offers services to Alexandria city residents who are print disabled: people who are blind, visually impaired, physically challenged, or have a reading disability (such as dyslexia) that prevents them from reading even large print books in print format. An application form certified (signed) by a qualified professional must be completed before service can begin. You can download the application here.
This free, by-mail service provides both reading machines and specially designed, digital talking books to play on them. These digital audiobooks are professionally recorded through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a department of the Library of Congress. The talking book collection contains complete, unabridged books ranging from classical literature to current best sellers and covers a wide array of subjects in both fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. A number of monthly and weekly magazines are available in this audio format as well.
Once enrolled for services, Talking Book patrons can also apply online for access to BARD, the Library of Congress’ Braille and Audio Reading Download website, and download digital materials for themselves using their own username and password. To apply for BARD access, please click here. There is also a free BARD mobile app available for iOS, Android, and Kindle that you can download it here from the BARD website.
For further information and to request print forms, please call the Talking Book Service at 703-746-1760 between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Existing Customer Update
Due to an ongoing paper shortage, the National Library Service has discontinued the popular Talking Books Topics mailing. Click here to access a digital version. This resource can be used to select newly released Talking Book titles, and back issues are also available!
A support group, The Low Vision Resource Group, created in partnership with the Prevention of Blindness Society, meets quarterly. Please see below for more information about these periodic events.