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Blind and Physically Handicapped/Talking Book and Braille Service Grants

Purpose and Outcomes

Grant projects support the Talking Book Centers in Carterville, Chicago, East Peoria and Geneva for the circulation of unabridged books in audio format and special equipment designed for ease of use by print disabled Illinois residents. This grant offering includes the Illinois Radio Information Services’ daily broadcast of local news and information not generally heard on regular news broadcasts.

The Secretary of State/Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service (SOS/ISLTBBS) funds Blind and Physically Handicapped grants that result in:

Eligible Applicants

  1. Talking Book Centers jointly designated by the State Library TBBS and the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
  2. Designated Illinois Radio Information Service Stations

Targeted Program Participants

People of all ages, with visual or physical limitations, unable to read standard print or hold or turn pages of a book. In Illinois, about 2.3% of the population or 295,000 people have a vision disability and are eligible for the program.

Legal Authority

Program Impact in FY2011

Total Dollars Awarded

Number of Grants Awarded

Number of People Served


Illinois residents stay engaged in life and connect to their community through listening to local news via a specialized radio receiver. The inability to read a newspaper is often the first vision loss.

Many of the talking book service clients use it as their only educational and recreational activity, reading over 10 hours per day.

Students can participate in reading activities for school assignments.


From Evanston: "I am returning the cassette player that you so generously sent to my husband, who is now in Hospice. The Talking Book effort is outstanding in its purpose and its service. We appreciated this avenue for enlightenment and entertainment that your efforts provided to my legally blind husband. Tax dollars well spent!"

From Galesburg: "Thank you for the gift of the earphones for my involvement in the Winter Reading Program. I can listen outside on my patio without risk of offending neighbors. The reading program is very wonderful and I thank everyone involved. When I could still see to read adequately, I read the entire 10 books of the series - I am now listening to # 1 and enjoying it even more than I did before. THANK YOU federal government, state government, all workers in every center, and the mailman who so faithfully delivers and picks up."

From Oregon: "I want to thank you for all the good books you sent to my mother-in-law. She treasured the books, often resting in her bed in the evenings when she couldn’t go to sleep. You helped her in her declining years as if someone were there with her. You were her company when others stopped coming because she wasn’t able to carry on a conversation. I appreciated this because I could then do what I needed to do at my own house next door."

For more information about Blind and Physically Handicapped/Talking Book and Braille Service grant programs, please call 217-785-0022.

Blind and Physically Handicapped/Talking Book and Braille Service Grants are funded in part using Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.