Suffolk County residents who have difficulty reading standard print materials are eligible for free talking books and braille books through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The New York Public Library’s Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library is the regional library which provides this service. Talking books are audiobooks in a specialized format that is easy to use for people with visual and physical disabilities. You can receive the books by mail, postage free, or download them using a computer or mobile device. To borrow audio or braille books from the Andrew Heiskell Library you must first register with them.
Individuals are eligible if they have difficulty reading standard printed materials because of one or more of the following:
- You can’t see well enough to read conventional print;
- You have a permanent or temporary physical limitation that prevents you from holding a book or turning its pages. Physical disabilities that may prevent the ability to read can include: multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, severe arthritis; paralysis; a missing arm or hand; lack of muscle coordination; prolonged weakness; or
- You have a physically-based reading disability. You must be certified by a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathy (DO) as having a reading or learning disability due to an organic dysfunction severe enough to prevent reading in the usual manner.
You must fill out an application and return it to the Andrew Heiskell Library at 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011. More information on the application process can be found on their website. If you have a visual or physical disability, the application may be signed by a doctor or professional (such as a librarian, social worker or teacher) who is familiar with the applicant’s disability. If you have a reading or learning disability, your application must be signed by a Medical Doctor or a Doctor of Osteopathy.
Once your application has been received and confirmed, the Andrew Heiskell Library will register you for service and send you the requested equipment and materials. They will also send you an information packet containing a welcome letter, sample catalogs of available books, and a guide to library services (which explains how to use the library and how to get the best service for your reading needs). This process will take approximately two weeks.
Contact the Andrew Heiskell Library
You can reach the Andrew Heiskell Library toll-free at 855-697-6975 and learn more at the website.
If you wish to speak with someone in Suffolk County, contact the Suffolk Cooperative Library System by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (631) 286-1600. Please ask for the Outreach Services Department. You can also stop by the Adult Reference Desk at the library for an application for the National Library Service Talking Book program.