I love to read! Do you? If there were ever to come a time when I had difficulty reading it would be a very upsetting time for me. So I was delighted to introduce Ken Plummer from Fairfax County Library Access Services to the folk who attended Cafe Fairfax on Monday. Ken talked about three important services that many of us didn’t know about, and can help us to keep on enjoying the written and spoken word available from our local library. You will need a library card but if you no longer have one or you haven’t used it for several years, it is easy to apply for a new card.
1) Free home delivery service
There is no cost for books to be delivered to your home and for you to return them. A dark blue zippered bag, clearly labeled “Access Services” is used to hold the books, large print books, CD’s, audio books, magazines, etc. that you order. The mailing label is located in a clear pouch and has your address on one side with the library address on the other. When you want to return the items to the library you simply lift the label out, turn it around to the side that displays the library address, and pop it back in. There is no need sign for the bag when it is delivered.
This service is available to anyone who is unable to travel to a local library due to disability, illness or frailty. You can use it for a short period of time, for example while you’re recovering from a hospitalization, or long term. Reader Advisers will help you select the books you’d like to read. If you’d like to apply for this service you can fill in an application online (click here) or call 703-324-8380.
2) Talking Book program
This service provides audio books and playing equipment to individuals of all ages who are unable to read or use standard print due to blindness, visual impairment or physical limitations such as being unable to hold a book. The books are read by professionals and they make the effort to read everything in a publication. Sometimes they even contact the author to ask about pronunciation for foreign words. They record 2,000 titles each year!
The National Library Service (NLS) for the blind and physically handicapped provides the Talking Book program and it is a national program. If you think this might be useful for someone who lives outside of Fairfax County please share this information with them. There is a catalog, Talking Book Topics, available in large print, on cassette, and online that lists what is available.
There are two ways you can listen to Talking Books:
- You can download an app to your smart device. It’s called BARD mobile app.
- You may need special equipment to play the NLS books and magazines but it is also loaned for free. Ken brought one to show us and it was portable, weighs two pounds, has a long battery life of 29 hours plus, and is easy to use with spoken instructions guiding the user. You can adjust the speed as well as the tone (from a high pitch to a lower one) for people who are hard of hearing. One of our friends at the cafe was familiar with an older version of the device that weighed seven pounds and could only run two hours on battery! Lots of improvements since then.
The Talking Book program is available through Access Services (contact info below) and you’ll find more information about it on the NLS website: . An application form is required for certification and there’s info about it on the library website (click here).
3) Borrow e-books for your Kindle device or reading app
You can borrow e-books, audio books, and more using an app called Overdrive. You can search for titles and authors and it’s easy to see if the book is available or if there is a wait list. Check out time is 3 weeks and it is user friendly to how long you need to read it. You can download to your device or just read it through the app. Click here to check it out.
For more information about Library Access
Visit their website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/as
Phone: (703) 324-8380 TTY (703) 324-8365
If you would like Ken to present to your group, his email address is:
Ken also left brochures, application forms, catalogs and lots of other good information with me so I can share them with you when we meet at cafes and other events. It looks like there is a lot to explore at our local library either in person or from our homes!