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Public Information and Communication

November 25, 2002


Dave Oertli

Talking Book and Braille Service Marks Fiftieth Anniversary

More than 4,600 Nebraskans with visual or physical impairment are enjoying books by their favorite authors, including current bestsellers, even though they are unable to use regular print. As borrowers of the Nebraska Library Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service, these individuals receive free books and magazines through the mail on cassette or in Braille. Return postage is prepaid using the "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" distinction.

Now in its fiftieth year of operation, the Talking Book and Braille Service offers 51,000 book titles and 75 magazines, mostly on cassette, to any Nebraskan who cannot see to read regular print or who cannot hold a book or turn its pages.

On January 1, 1952, the state agency then known as the Nebraska Public Library Commission created a Division for the Blind in order to begin talking book and Braille service to visually impaired Nebraskans. That new division, now known as the Talking Book and Braille Service, began with a collection of 400 titles. By February of that year, 454 books were circulated. By July, the collection contained 1,100 talking books, with an average length of 22 long-playing records per title, which were circulated to more than 300 Nebraskans. A complete recording of the Bible required 12 boxes of records.

Nebraska became the twenty-eighth talking book library in the National Library Service/Library of Congress nationwide network of cooperating libraries. Prior to this, visually impaired Nebraskans received service through a regional center at the Denver Public Library.

For information on the talking book program or eligibility information, contact Dave Oertli at the Nebraska Library Commission, Talking Book and Braille Service, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023, 402-471-4005, 800-742-7691.


As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission home page, search on Library Commission News Releases.

For more information, contact Tessa Terry.