Library of Congress

Through the Library of Congress, The National Library Service (NLS) uses to the Talking Books Program to assist people who are unable to read standard print material due to visual and/or physical impairments.

NLS provides Braille and recorded books and magazines that can be borrowed, free of charge, or delivered by postage-free mail to those in need.

Our volunteers help NLS and their patrons by repairing and refurbishing the cassette and record players used in the Talking Book Program.

A Spotlight on Talking Book Pioneers 

The Talking Books community has seen many changes since the days of the first LP, or long-playing record, a ground-breaking technology with which the Library of Congress and others first opened the wonders of the printed word to those who cannot see. 

Pioneers relationship with the Library of Congress doesn’t go all the way back to the 1930s, but we’ve grown up together nonetheless. 

You might recall a couple of things happened in the 1950s.  One was the coming of the cassette-based Talking Book machine, followed soon after by the Library’s need for a skilled but volunteer work force to keep those machines in good working order. 

About that same time, Pioneers adopted community service as an organization-wide focus.  And so it was that in 1960, Pioneers became the official Talking Book repair depot for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. 

Today, over 50 years later, our service continues.
Because of it, each year over 900,000 men, women and children in the U.S. enjoy a brighter, richer quality of life.

As NLS prepares to launch the digital Talking Book in 2012, Pioneers will continue to service and maintain the new machines as the older technology is phased out. 

If you would like to help ensure that an ample supply of playback machines are available for Talking Book patrons and be a part of the longest running Pioneers project in the organization’s 100 year history, please contact your local Pioneers unit or the Pioneers Members Resource Center at 800-976-1914 or   

NLS serves residents of the United States and eligible U.S. citizens living abroad, who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical handicaps. For more information about NLS, visit its website at

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 145 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at


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talking book labels

Talking Book Request Pioneers branded labels for the Talking Book machines.