Services for the Visually Impaired

audiobooks sampler

Many popular books are available in audio formats.

Love to read but find that it’s harder and harder on your eyes? DBRL has a wide selection of large print books, and we have lots of other special services for those with limitations that make print reading hard or impossible.

We now have over 11,000 large print titles, mostly fiction and biographies, with a few nonfiction and children’s titles. At the Columbia Public Library, we also have a CCTV machine that magnifies printed materials for easier reading. It’s great for reading important documents or zooming in to get a closer look at photos.

CCTV magnifier

CCTV magnifier

We also have a collection of more than 12,000 audiobook titles available on CD or cassette, 1,000 downloadable audiobooks and 800 Playaways. A Playaway is a small MP3 player preloaded with a single title that checks out like any other book. All of our audiobook formats are very popular with commuters and walkers as well as those with vision problems.

Another great resource for those with more severe vision problems is the Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Missouri State Library under the Office of the Secretary of State. Services are provided free of charge to eligible individuals and institutions, such as DBRL. Through Wolfner, we can help you get the titles you want plus the machine in which to play them. Wolfner offers more than 60,000 books on tape; over 70 magazines on tape; cassette or DVD players and other assistive devices; books and magazines in Braille; assistance with selecting reading materials; reference services; youth services; descriptive video service; and a telephone service where you can listen to all the text from various newspapers across the country.

To use the Wolfner Library, just ask library staff to help you submit the necessary paperwork (or send e-mail to our Outreach Department). Remember, you don’t have to be blind to qualify for these services. If you cannot see well enough to read standard print or are unable to handle print books or turn pages because of a physical limitation, you are eligible. (Other minimal qualifications apply.)

We love to help people find a good book and to encourage people to read, so don’t let your eyesight stop you. Ask about these services at any of our libraries or on board the bookmobiles.

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