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Talking books still available amid pandemic

MARQUETTE — Great Lakes Talking Books Advisory and Outreach Center, which serves patrons in the Upper Peninsula, Alpena and Crawford counties, remains “open” via the internet and phone service.

Its Reader Advisors are working remotely from home and are able to provide all of the services necessary to keep GLTB patrons well supplied with books.

Great Lakes Talking Books is an advisory and outreach center for the Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library, which is Michigan’s regional library for the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. The NLS administers this free national library program that provides braille and recorded materials to people who cannot see regular print or handle print materials. It is funded annually by Congress, and books and materials are mailed as “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped.”

Established by an Act of Congress in 1931 to serve blind adults, the program was expanded in 1952 to include children, in 1962 to provide music materials, in 1966 to include individuals with other physical disabilities that prevent reading regular print. Beginning with 19 libraries in 1931, the network has expanded to 55 regional libraries, 26 subregional libraries, and 16 advisory and outreach centers serving all 50 states.

Books are offered in Braille and recorded formats for all ages and include bestsellers, classics, mysteries, biographies, westerns, poetry, history, and other subject areas commonly represented in public library collections. A great new system called Duplication on Demand in now available for Michigan patrons. DoD allows any book in the collection to be sent right away. It also allows for several books to be downloaded onto a single cartridge.

Digital audio and ebraille materials also are available through the NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service and the BARD Mobile app for iOS and Android devices. A person must be registered with the Talking Book Program to use this service.

Magazines are sent to customers on a subscription basis and include more than 100 popular titles such as Southern Living and Sports Illustrated.

Equipment needed for the service is loaned to customers by the Library, including Talking Books digital players and accessories. All books and equipment are provided at no cost to participants.

An application can be printed from the Great Lakes Talking Books website www.greatlakestalkingbooks.org and mailed to Great Lakes Talking Books, 1615 Presque Isle Ave. Marquette, MI 49855. A person may also call and leave a message at 906-228-7697, Ext. 0, and one will be sent to you.

Applications can also be filled out online at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/Fillable_form_2016_BTBL_application_628914_7.pdf

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