Frequently Asked Questions - Services for Institutions

Who can apply for an institutional account?

  • Social service agencies, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, K-12 schools, colleges, universities, disability and senior centers, public or private libraries, your institutional account allows you to provide the Talking Books Library services to your eligible patrons/students/residents through your active deposit account.

How does an institution apply for membership?

Are there any costs associated with using the program?

  • No, this program is funded by the Library of Congress, National Library Service. There is no cost to eligible readers.

How do we sign up our patrons, students, residents?

  • Please have each eligible patron/student/resident complete an individual application for services and submit that to the Talking Books Library. Your eligible patrons will receive materials and equipment through the RI Talking Books Library. Please keep the equipment and materials you have at your library for demo.

Who can certify an individual's application?

  • You may certify member applications if you meet any one of the following criteria:

    • Doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, caseworkers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress. For information on other professionals who may certify an application, please contact the Talking Books Library.

What will the institution receive?

  • All institutions will receive equipment and materials to demo the program.
  • You may print applications, brochures and other promotional materials by going to the Talking Books website at
  • A best practice is to create a Talking Books Library Kit which includes the equipment, demo book, brochure and application along with a Talking Books Topic catalog. You may find the catalog record in OSL to copy, which will allow you to check out and check in your kit.

When and how will I receive reading materials and equipment?

  • Demo books and equipment may take 7-10 days to arrive via U.S. mail.
  • Talking Books Topic (TBT) catalog will arrive every other month to help you select materials. Call the TBL if you need the digital version.
  • All materials and equipment are sent through the U.S. Postal Service as "Free Matter for the Blind" and may be returned the same way. There is no postage fee for returning the materials.

Is there a special device to help people who are hearing impaired?

  • Yes, an amplifier/headphone combination that will produce sounds up to 130 decibels is available for adults with severe hearing loss. A special application form is necessary and must be signed by a physician or licensed audiologist. This device is not intended for people with mild or moderate hearing loss; the use of standard headphones may sometimes help these people.

Can I download books?

  • Yes. Please select this on your membership application and provide an email address. You will receive your login information via email within 7 days.
  • Institutions are allowed 1 BARD account to download books.
  • You may download books for your eligible patrons, students, residents by using BARD the Braille and Audio Reading Download program.
  • Institutions must purchase their own digital cartridge either by going to the Perkins Library Product Sale Program, or by purchasing another commercial flash drive, or they can download to the individual member's flash drive.
  • You may also download to a mobile device. Learn more about BARD.

How are services provided to the individuals we sign up?

Members will be contacted if they are inactive for more than 1 year. If we cannot make contact with the member, accounts will be suspended.

Other Questions??? Email the TBL staff at or call (401)574-9310.

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