The Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library (MBTBL), located in Faribault, Minnesota, provides direct library service to pre-school age children to seniors with visual, physical and reading disabilities for whom the standard format of a printed book is a barrier to reading.
The library is funded through Minnesota state general funds and Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant money from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Materials are sent free of charge by the U.S. Postal Service. Patrons can request library materials through the online Library Catalog, as well as by telephone, email, and/or postal mail. A large number of books and magazines are also available to download from Minnesota Braille and Audio Reading Download (MN BARD), commonly referred to as just “BARD.”
Because the MBTBL is located on the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) campus, MBTBL also provides school library services to the Academy’s students and its staff. The Library also serves deaf-blind students attending either MSAB and/or the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf.
Since 1933, MBTBL has worked in partnership with the NLS, which administers a free national library program--sponsored by the Library of Congress--for visually and physically disabled persons. The program was established by an act of Congress in 1931. Over time, federal mandates have expanded the definition of people eligible for service. The current federal regulations for this program are outlined in the Federal Register for June 7, 1974, as amended October 2, 1981.
The NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines in both audio and braille formats. Such library materials are distributed to a network of designated libraries throughout the United States who, in turn, circulate them to eligible customers within their respective state.