Sign up to become a Patron of the Library in a Few Easy Steps

Our library and services are 100% free to eligible patrons.

Those interested in must first complete an application.

Follow the steps below and let us help you today!

Step 1: Meet Eligibility Requirements

To become a patron you must meet the following criteria, which must be documented by a competent authority such as a physician, nurse, optometrist, therapist, hospital or nursing-home professional, social worker or librarian. Family members are not eligible to certify as a competent authority.

  • Persons who are “legally blind,” which means that your vision is 20/200 or less in your better eye with corrective lenses. People with 20/200 vision can only see at 20 feet, letters that a healthy eye can see at 200 feet. You are also legally blind if the widest diameter of your visual field is 20 degrees or less in your better eye. In other words, you are legally blind if you cannot read the big “E” on an eye chart at 20 feet.
  • Persons with a visual disability who are unable to read standard print even with correction and despite optical measurement.
  • Persons who cannot hold a book or handle standard printed materials because of physical limitations.
  • Persons with a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction that is sufficiently severe to prevent them from reading standard printed material.

Step 2: Complete and Submit an Application

Download the application below and complete all the required fields. Once completed, mail the application for review.

Once your application is processed, a Reader Advisor will be there to help you select titles of interest to you, assist you in choosing the right playback machine and guide you in using the Library Services.

If you have trouble downloading this form, please call the Library’s toll-free line at (800) 808-2555 and we’ll be happy to send it to you by standard mail.

Step 3: Receive Your Patron ID Number and Begin Using The Library

Once your application is approved, you will receive your Patron ID number. You will use this number in the future to order books and conduct other business with the Library.

Note: It is not necessary to have your ID number to order books but it is helpful.

Other Things To Know

Thousands of Options in Multiple Formats

Braille Institute has an extensive collection of books and magazines for both children and adults. To discover all the titles we offer, you can search through our recently updated online catalog or call one of our Reader Advisors at (800) 808-2555 or (323) 660-3880.

You can also email to obtain more information.

Returning Books and Magazines

To return recorded or brailled books in the mail at no cost, simply reverse the mailing label on the green mailing box and put it in a postal box. Do not include correspondence inside the containers as they may be overlooked by the staff that process them. Instead, email your comments to


Initially, you will receive large-print or braille catalogs from which you may order books. You also will receive either Talking Book Topics or Braille Book Review every two months, which list the latest books available. And you’ll receive our own quarterly newsletter, Librarian, which is available in large print, braille or cassette.

Your Playback Machine

Your loaned playback machine should arrive approximately a month after your initial book order. You may keep the equipment as long as needed, provided you borrow reading materials from us regularly.

Talking-Book Machine and Cartridge Care

  • Don’t expose your machine or cartridges to extreme heat or cold.
  • Be sure to listen to the recorded instructions supplied with your unit.
  • Keep food and liquids away from your machine and cartridges.
  • If your machine needs repair, please do not attempt to do it yourself or have it repaired. Simply contact the Machine-Lending Agency and they will send you a replacement.
  • Our Main Library has machines available for loan or exchange.
  • If you find that a cartridge is defective, please call a Reader Advisor at (800) 808-2555.

What You Can Borrow

As a new patron, you are eligible to borrow books on cartridge or in braille and descriptive videos and subscribe to magazines on cartridge or in braille. You also have access to foreign-language titles through the NLS. All titles have call numbers preceded by the following codes:

BR: braille books
DB: digital books

Our Reader Advisors

If you ever have trouble selecting books, our Reader Advisors will be more than willing to help you. They can suggest titles based on your interests, or help you find titles by your favorite authors. Call us at 1(800) 808-2555 or (323) 660-3880.

Books and Magazines in Alternative Formats (BARD)

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) is a program offered by the National Library Service and Braille Institute Library. This free program allows patrons to download both audio and electronic Braille titles from an extensive collection of titles.

To use BARD, you must have a Braille Institute Library account (see application for library services on this page). You must also obtain an account at the BARD website. In addition, you will need a digital talking book player, a computer with internet access, and a USB storage device if you are using an NLS digital machine. Once you have an account, you can save the books to a storage device and play them on your digital talking book player. Email us at for assistance with this process.

Need More Assistance or Have Questions?

We are here to help!

If you have any questions or need help with any aspect of becoming a patron of the library please either call us at (800) 808-2555 or email