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Providing reading resources with sound and positive results

A young man smiles as he picks a book in braille at the Colorado Talking Book Library.

By Patte Smith; photos courtesy of the Colorado Talking Book Library

For many of us, reading is second nature. We flip through our mail when we get home, shuttle the kids to the library after school and at the beginning (or end) of each day read the paper online or by actually turning pages. Reading can relax our bodies and calm our minds. It can take us to faraway places, provide needed information, envelop us in fictional stories or inspire us.

Many individuals who are blind, have physical disabilities or are ill and cannot read standard print want to keep reading too. Thanks to the Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) they can. For more than 85 years, the CTBL in Denver has provided free library service to individuals who are not able to read. People who are blind or who have low vision can take advantage of the CTBL, as well as those who suffer physical disabilities such as diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, traumatic brain injury, or learning disabilities.

CTBL offers the same books that are found in public libraries. Their library has more than 60,000 audio books, 8,000 braille books and 22,000 large print books with new books being added each month. Audio, braille and large print books are delivered directly to residences with postage paid. How great is that! And, books can be sent automatically based on reading interests.

The Colorado Talking Book Library offers patrons books in braille, audio reading and large print published formats.

A player for the books is provided as part of the service at no charge. Additionally, books can be accessed from Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) with the use of BARD Mobile for iOS or Android. Please contact the CTBL for more information about BARD.

CTBL is an amazing organization that was established in 1932 and has an in-house recording studio to record books of local interest, by local authors, and patrons’ requests. It is part of the Colorado State Library, a division of the Colorado Department of Education and partners with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress.

If you know of someone who can use CTBL, pass this information along. It is easy to apply for services. Individuals need to qualify for CTBL services by filling out an application and have it signed by a nurse or doctor, librarian, therapist, activity director, social worker or a teacher. In the case of a learning disability, a physician must sign the application. Families and friends can help fill out the application that is available by calling CTBL or online at Click on the “Get Started” button.

For more information or to donate to the library, please contact CTBL at 800-685-2136 toll free or at



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