Library comes to the reader with unique Brevard program


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Debra Martin, Librarian I, heads up the Talking Books/Homebound Services program for the Brevard County Library system.

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Visiting the mailbox can open a whole world of resources to those who can’t easily or physically get to any Brevard County library building.

But now, they don’t have to.

Because of Talking Books and Homebound Services, the county library’s resources can come to anyone, free of charge.

“Talking Books and Homebound Services merged in the 1980s,” said Debra Martin, Librarian I for Brevard County Library’s Talking Books and Homebound Services. “The Talking Books part includes the audio books and the players available through the National Library for the Blind service. We are the librarians for that service. Homebound Services is the part we serve with the regular library large-print books, CDs and others. We have access to all the libraries in the county and get the books to send out to the patrons.”

Talking Books/Homebound Services provides library materials to residents with visual and physical impairments and to those with limitations associated with age. A special collection of Talking Books is provided by the National Library for the Blind for the visually impaired and physically disabled population and provides unabridged books and magazines on four-track tapes as well as the machines to play them. The library also houses a collection of descriptive videos that have been specially enhanced for those with visual impairments. All materials are sent postage-free to and from the patron.

For the programs, patrons must fill out a special application for participation. The programs are basically run strictly by volunteers who come weekly and do the services, Martin said.

“There are a couple of ways to order the books once registered,” Martin said. “They can call Homebound Services if they want to order or go online (online is ordering from the library listings). All materials are sent postage-free to and from the patron.

“We get a list of authors or genre they like in books, CD and ebooks and are then able to keep track of what they have had,” Martin said. “But if they hear of a book or author they can always call and request it. I try to do a large print list for the library’s large-print books every six months. With the Talking Books, they have a catalogue.

“We are serving their needs and are their eyes at the library,” Martin said. “The telephone number is directly to the department. If they have a list of authors or titles they have heard of, they can either email it or call it to us. We try to make it as easy as we can for them.”

To sign up, call 321-633-1810 or email Martin at dmartin@brev.org and the library will send out an application. Once the application is returned, the fun begins. Patrons usually are given a month for the books, Martin said. When signing up for Talking Books, the participant automatically gets the player and headphones to listen to the books. Volunteer AT&T workers have been helping since 1988 to keep the players going.