Frequently Asked Questions


Why has the government eliminated all funding for Braille Institute’s library service?

Braille Institute, which is part of the U.S. National Library Service, was not given any reason or notification that funding would be eliminated. For the past 41 years, the state has provided some level of funding for Braille Institute’s library – it has never been reduced to zero which is what is currently the case. Additionally, the state continues to provide funding to the library in Northern California (our counterpart in the state).


How will Braille Institute’s library service be impacted without this funding?

Without these funds, we expect that thousands of our library patrons will have limited access to and fewer choices of books and other materials. Long wait times are also likely, along with fewer training opportunities to learn technology skills and independent living skills. For many who are blind and visually impaired, audio books are the way to stay connected to the world.


Do other libraries that are part of the National Library Service (NLS) receive state and federal funding?

Braille Institute is the only NLS library in the U.S. that will not receive any government funding. State law (SB 1565) actually mandates full state support for the Braille Institute library. We are the only library of our kind required to rely solely on private donations to provide our service.


How many patrons does Braille Institute library serve?

Braille Institute has more than 20,000 library patrons and every year over 12,000 use our award-winning library. Our library service serves anyone who is blind or visually impaired, or who has a reading or other physical disability. We offer a wide-range of audio and braille books, magazines and periodicals – free of charge.


What can I do to help?

Please contact your State Senator and Assemblymember to express your concern about this decision, and to ask them to restore full funding in 2020. Look up your elected official at You can also give to the library – a gift of any amount would be greatly appreciated.