Back to Top

Eligibility Criteria For Talking Book Service

Individual Requirements:

An individual must meet at least one of the following:

  • Cannot see standard size print due to visual impairment or blindness
  • Cannot hold a book or turn pages due to physical disabilities
  • Have temporary disabilities due to injury, illness, or surgery
  • Have an organic-based reading disability

Mississippi residents unable to read or use standard print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations are eligible for this service. Blindness is not the only qualifying condition. Even those with low vision due to problems such as macular degeneration are eligible. Physical conditions such as missing arms or hands, lack of muscle coordination, or prolonged weakness are qualifying conditions when their result is an inability to hold a book or turn pages. Persons with physically based, medically certifiable reading disabilities (such as dyslexia) and institutions serving clientele with qualifying conditions are also eligible.

Institutional Requirements:

Reading materials and Talking Book Players may be loaned to institutions, such as nursing homes and hospitals, and to schools for the blind or physically handicapped for use by such persons only. Services can also be made to public or private schools where handicapped students are enrolled, provided the students are certified as eligible on an individual basis and are the direct and only recipients of the materials. Mississippi institutions or agencies providing service to clientele with qualifying disabilities also qualify for service.


An application may be downloaded from the link below or obtained by contacting the Talking Book Service department.

All applications must be returned by mail or in person as federal rules require original signatures.

Free Library Service Application: Individuals

Free Library Service Application: Institutions

Applications must be certified on the last page of the application by a “competent authority.” In cases of blindness, visual disability, or physical limitations, “competent authority” is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any persons whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress.

However, in the case of a reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is strictly defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy.