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Accessible Books & More for People with Print Disabilities

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Better Serving You

The New York Public Library provides two main services for eligible patrons of all ages who are blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, or who have a reading disability: through the services of the Andrew Heiskell Library, and now with Bookshare.

Andrew Heiskell Library

All New York City and Long Island residents are eligible to enroll in Andrew Heiskell Library's free services.

  • Access to over 50,000 talking books narrated by professional voice actors, mailed for free to your house, along with a talkingbook player that can fast forward and rewind, make digital bookmarks, and adjust the narrator’s speed and tone of voice.
  • The same titles are available to download from our website or play on our iOS or Android mobile app, to keep, with no waiting list or holds queue.
  • Subscription options to over 60 audio magazines such as The Economist, National Geographic, Bon Appetite, Sports Illustrated, and People, as well as children’s and teen magazines.
  • Electronic or paper braille books and braille magazines available the same way.
  • Books can be ordered through our call center, email, mail, voicemail, or online catalog. Or sign up for automatic service where we send books in your favorite chosen genres every week.
  • No overdue fines or lost charges.
  • Cultural programs, resource fairs, and workshops on using assistive technology for fun, literacy, and independence.

Bookshare




NEW! Bookshare

New York Public Library or Andrew Heiskell Library patrons of any age with a print disability can now access Bookshare for free!

  • Books are read aloud by the synthetic voice of your computer or mobile device, while also displaying the text, highlighted as it is read. Some titles also include original images and diagrams.
  • It carries not only popular titles but also textbooks, technical manuals and lesser known titles.
  •  It will digitize on demand any book assigned to a student in class, and it allows any member to place a request for a title they wish to be made accessible.

How Can I Sign Up?

We suggest signing up for the Andrew Heiskell Library first, to streamline certification processes. Once you are a member of Heiskell, we can certify you for Bookshare. 

Andrew Heiskell Library: If you live in New York City or Long Island, download the application (and learn more about our service) at talkingbooks.nypl.org. Or contact 212-206-5400 or talkingbooks@nypl.org for more information or to have an application mailed to you. For talking book service to the rest of New York State, contact 800-342-3688.

Bookshare: bookshare.org/signUpMember

Ask your librarian for the promo code that makes membership free.

Questions about Bookshare or their sign-up form? Call their help center at 650-352-0198 (9 a.m. -5 p.m. Pacific Time), or visit bookshare.org.

Learn more: bookshare.org/cms/promo/nypl

More Information on Certification of Eligibility

If you have a visual or physical impairment: For Heiskell services, your local librarian may sign as the certifier. Or you can ask your doctor, social worker, occupational therapist, or nurse.  For Bookshare, if you are not a member of Heiskell, the same people can be certifiers, as can your special education teacher.  

If you have a reading disability: For Heiskell services,  your certifier must be an MD or a Doctor of Osteopathy. This could be your doctor or a psychiatrist. For Bookshare, if you are not a member of Heiskell, the same professionals can write the letter, as can a special education teacher, learning disability specialist, or school psychologist. For full details on who qualifies see our websites:

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