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NLS Services to American Citizens Abroad

How This Works


This program serves blind and physically handicapped U.S. citizens living outside of the United States of America who cannot use standard print library materials. With the cooperation of authors and publishers who grant permission to use copyrighted works without royalty, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines on recorded discs and cassettes and in braille. Special cassette and record players are needed to listen to these, because they are recorded at speeds slower than those of commercial equipment. Reading materials and special machines are sent to readers and returned to NLS by postage-free mail. The book collections consist of recreational and informational reading for adults and children at all grade levels. We publish two booklets every other month that list new audio books, Talking Book Topics, and braille books, Braille Book Review.

A librarian on our staff manages services for readers registered outside the U.S. Before moving outside the U.S., readers call the overseas service librarian to provide the required proof of U.S. citizenship and workout the details of proper equipment for audio books, frequency of shipping books, new address, and so forth. A patron handbook provides some details on procedures. In addition, we encourage readers to work out arrangements with our overseas service librarian prior to departure. You may want to browse through our Overseas Patron Handbook to learn more details about how our overseas service works.

NLS publishes a patron newsletter, Overseas Outlook for patrons living outside the United States. The overseas librarian can will automatically add a subscription for each reader for this large-print publication. Beginning with the January through June, 2002 issue, this publication is also available online. Link to the list of issues of Overseas Outlook.

Citizens of Other Countries

Eligible blind and physically handicapped citizens of other countries may borrow books from us or any other library that lists its books in our international union catalog. Arrangements must be made through a library or other institution serving blind and physically handicapped persons in the borrower's country. Use the link, Search the Catalog, at the top of this page to look for titles in the NLS collection. Here are some links that provide more information:

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Posted on 2006-02-24