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Audiobooks and Other Formats Provide Reading Options for Visually Impaired

We’ve talked a lot about all the library resources for young and older readers who are eager to earn incentives and prizes during the Summer Reading Program, which runs May 19 through Aug. 4.

It’s a good time to remind book lovers who have visual impairments that they can also enjoy the benefits of the program – this summer and all year. And for those unable to go to the Library due to physical limitations, the free Walking Books program will deliver items to your door once or twice a month. To learn more call 883-6112.

Besides the collection of large-print books at each branch, the Library has audiobook versions of thousands of books for all ages. They’re available on compact disc. The collection is listed on coolcat.org by doing an “Audiobooks on CD” category search. If you have a cassette player, we also have a small collection of audiobooks on cassette.

Playaways offer another audio format. A Playaway is like an MP3 player that’s preloaded with a single book. You provide one AAA battery and the ear buds or headset. Just press play to start listening.

Anyone can check out a Playaway, but it’s a small, portable convenience for the visually impaired. Each branch has multiple Playaways in a variety of classic and current titles for children, teens and adults, and from best-sellers to classics, westerns to popular fiction. The collection is listed on coolcat.org through a category search of “Playaway Audiobooks.””

Patrons can also download an audiobook to a personal MP3 player through OverDrive MP3 Audiobooks. Feel free to ask a staff member for assistance in finding and downloading these.

All Missourians have access to a valuable resource, The Wolfner Library. It serves qualifying Missourians who are unable to read standard-print materials due to visual limitations or physical disability, either temporary or permanent.

The library is based in Jefferson City, but mails materials to patrons’ homes, postage paid.

The collection includes fiction and nonfiction audio and braille books for all ages and more than 70 magazine subscriptions. Wolfner Library loans playback machines to those using audio books. To apply or for details, call toll-free 800-392-2614, or 573-751-8720, or email wolfner@sos.mo.gov, or visit www.sos.mo.gov/wolfner/.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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