Did you ever wish you could easily find full-length fiction, nonfiction books, and magazines? And that these books and magazines were delivered to your door? For free? The Minnesota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (MLBPH) in Faribault is the place! This library has more than 75,000 full-length adult, young adult, and children’s books on audiocassette, and in braille and large print for eligible blind, and visually, physically, or reading-disabled individuals. The MLBPH collection is available only to people who are unable to easily use standard print resources. And all library materials are sent and returned postage free.
The MLBPH is the only library in our state that loans the federally produced and distributed audiocassette and braille collections. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) a section of the Library of Congress selects, produces, and distributes full-length books and magazines in alternative formats for people with disabilities. Annually, NLS produces over 1300 books and 70 magazines. Using a national network of libraries for the blind and physically handicapped, the NLS library materials are loaned to eligible people. NLS also provides an adapted cassette player designed for use with the audiocassette collection. This federal library service began in 1931 and came
to Faribault in1933 to provide NLS library materials to eligible Minnesotans.
The MLBPH is part of the Library Development and Services (LDS) agency of the Department of Children, Families and Learning (CFL). LDS works closely with Minnesota’s libraries, administers federal library grants, and speaks for library concerns during legislative sessions. As part of LDS, MLBPH mirrors Minnesota’s tradition and commitment to strong library service.
Qualifying and Applying
This library collection is for people who are legally blind or visually handicapped (with visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with corrective lenses), physically disabled (unable to use standard printed materials as a result of physical limitations), or reading-disabled. The application form is short. Applications must be signed by a person qualified to determine your visual or physically limiting condition. Nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, eye clinicians, and family physicians may sign the application. However, federal law requires that a reading-disabled individual must have a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy sign the application. The library must receive the application with the original certification signature on it. We cannot accept a faxed application.
The application also requests information about your reading interests and offers a choice of cassette machines and listening accessories. Commercially produced cassette players will not play this library’s cassettes as they have been adapted specifically for this library service six hours of narration have been condensed onto the cassette. The Communication Center, State Services for the Blind in St. Paul, is the Minnesota agency responsible for the care and distribution of the NLS equipment. The library staff works closely with the Communication Center staff regarding this aspect of library service.
How to Use MLBPH
The library cassette, braille, and large print collections include many of the same books you might find in a public library. We receive many nationally prominent fiction and nonfiction authors, current events titles, biographies, history titles, mysteries, romances, and science fiction titles. The collection contains books for lifelong learning, but not textbooks.
You are encouraged to choose your own books from catalogs in large print, in braille, or on cassette or to ask for authors and titles of your choice. The library also has an on-line catalog accessible using a telnet address: telnet://lbph.lib.mn.us. The user name and the password prompts are the same: OPAC. You can check for authors and titles in the catalog. Keyword searching is another option. The catalog will display the titles in the formats that we own: braille (BR), cassette (RC), large print (LP), flexible disc (FD), and rigid disc (RD). Flexible and rigid discs are phonograph records. This collection is not active but you have access to the titles.
This library service adjusts to meet your needs. Some people listen to many books and check out several titles at a time. Others have less reading time available and order accordingly. All we ask is that our patrons read at least one book or magazine from this library at least once a year, and that they read and return library materials within a six-week period. We have a limited number of copies and many requests to fill.
An Underused Service
Statistically, 68,873 Minnesotans qualify for this library service. We currently serve about 11,000 patrons. Many people do know about the wonderful reading opportunities we offer. MLBPH Library Director, Catherine Durivage, and I strongly believe that this library has much to offer and many more people to serve. We invite you to contact us about the library and ask you to share this information with friends and family.
Contacting the library is easy. Use our toll free number, 1-800-722-0550, or e-mail us at: [email protected]. Our address is: Minnesota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 388 SE 6th Ave., Faribault, Minnesota 55021-6340.
Ren. Perrance is the librarian at the Minnesota Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.