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May I use these services?​

Any resident of Maryland who cannot read or use regular print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations may receive service through LBPD. This includes those who are blind, have a visual disability, or have a physical disability that prevents reading.

Application Process: 

Interested individuals must complete an applicationand must have the application certified by a competent authority to qualify for services. 

​Who Can Qualify? 

LBPD​ provides service to individuals who fall into any of the following categories:
    • ​Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by a competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses or the whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
    • Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material
    • Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material due to physical limitations.
    • Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.
    • Persons eligible for service (falling into any of the above categories) who are now living as residents of the United States (including its territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia), or are American citizens eligible for service which are now living abroad, or dependents of active military personnel or diplomats.
This includes individuals who have had a qualifying disability from birth, individuals who are disabled because of medical conditions or trauma, and individuals who become disabled as they age. Individuals who have a temporary disability may qualify for service on a temporary basis. Individuals who are blind or have a physical disability and who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States receive special priority.​

Who is a “competent authority”?

In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, “competent authority” is defined to include:
    • Doctors of medicine
    • Doctors of osteopathy
    • Ophthalmologists
    • Optometrists
    • Registered nurses
    • Therapists
    • The 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.

The competent authority for certifying eligibility due to a reading disability from organic dysfunction is defined as “doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy,” who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines. ​

Further information on qualifying for service as an individual with a reading disability may be found in the NLS Reference Guide: Talking Books and Reading Disabilities.

Does it cost anything to use the program? 

No. The program is tax-supported by federal, state, and (where appropriate) local government or private agencies. There is no direct cost to eligible readers.

How are materials received from the library? 

There are two ways to receive materials from the library: through the U.S. Postal Service and/or downloading from the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)​​ website. You may opt to use one or both options. Materials sent through the U.S. Postal Service are mailed to you postage free. 

How are materials returned to the library?

All materials sent to patrons from the library are on loan. Materials must be returned to the library when no longer being used. Books are due 28 days after receipt, and magazines are due one week after receipt. 

To return the player:

        • If you still have the original box in which the player was mailed to you, please use the box provided. Pack the player securely in the box and close. The mailing label on the front of the box should have your address on one side, the library's address on the other. Please ensure that the library's address is showing and hand the box to your postal carrier. You should not pay postage. 
        • If you do not have the original box, please pack the player securely in a box. Where postage normally goes, please write "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND." Please put the library's address in the TO and FROM sections of the box: MD State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled; 415 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 212010. Once packed and labeled, give the box to your postal carrier. You should not pay postage. 

To return a digital cartridge:

        • If you have the mailing container, place the digital cartridge securely in the case and close. The mailing label on the front of the box should have your address on one side, the library's address on the other. Please ensure that the library's address is showing and hand the box to your postal carrier. You should not pay postage. 
        • If you do not have the mailing container, pack the digital cartridge in a padded envelope or small box, making sure it is secure. Where postage normally goes, please write "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND." Please put the library's address in the TO and FROM sections of the box: MD State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled; 415 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 212010. Once packed and labeled, give the box to your postal carrier. You should not pay postage. 


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Does your program offer music?

LBPD does not offer music for listening but offers musical scores and books in ebraille, braille, and large print (sometimes known as bold note), and recorded instructional materials for learning to play various musical instruments. Music appreciation materials are also available.​

Additional Information:

For additional information about qualifications for service, click here: https://www.loc.gov/nls/about/faq/