General Description of LBPH Services

General Description of LBPH Services

This section offers a general description of the services provided to LBPH patrons and how the book circulating systems functions. Please refer to other sections on this website for detailed discussions of specific policies and procedures.

The LBPH exists to give blind and physically handicapped persons access to the same books and information services that are provided by public libraries. It is a member of the national network of cooperating libraries under the auspices of the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Accordingly, the LBPH must follow the standards of service set forth by the NLS and the American Library Association (ALA). The LBPH provides adult and children books and magazines in digital and braille formats, along with the necessary playback equipment and accessories. Books are also available online. Similar to a public library, the LBPH book collection includes fiction and non-fiction encompassing a broad array of genres.

A person desiring to join the service needs to complete an application and have it certified by an approved certifying authority. The person can call/email/fax the LBPH asking for an application, or can access it on the LBPH website. If filled in on the website, the person needs to print it as it cannot actually be submitted online. Once completed and certified, mail/fax/email the application to the LBPH. If faxed or emailed, the original signed application must still be mailed to the LBPH as that is the official copy.

Once received and approved by the LBPH, the new patron will be mailed one digital playback machine, two books in each requested format, and a packet of recent catalogs and information sheets. One can expect 5-7 days for this process, including mailing time. The new patron is also put on the mailing list for the bimonthly catalogs — “Talking Book Topics” and/or “Braille Book Review” — which lists new additions to the collection. The new patron will be assigned a reader advisor who will be their personal point-of-contact for all matters concerning the service.

All books and equipment are mailed postage-free through the U.S. Postal System. When a patron is ready to return an item, turnover the mailing label to show the LBPH address, put it back in the container slot, and give the item to the post office or postal carrier. Bulky equipment may have to be brought to the post office directly. It is very important that each book returned be complete and matches the book number on the container. If that cannot be done, please return the book anyways. Please include a note if there’s a problem with the book cartridge. When returning a playback machine, please include a short note indicating the reason and whether a replacement playback machine is needed.

Patrons can select the type of book service that they want. Turnaround (send-return) service is when the patron is automatically sent a book upon the return of another book. The computer will select the book based on the patron’s preferences. Request-only service is when a book will be sent to a patron only upon the request of the patron. In either case, a patron can always call/email/fax/mail their reader advisor and ask for specific books. Books that are unavailable will be put on the patron’s request list and will be sent when available.

Patrons can also sign up for BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) which allows the patron to download a book from an internet website to their personal computer and then play it on the playback machine. There are also two mobile device apps available, one for Apple devices and the other for android devices. These apps allow a patron to access BARD directly and play a book right on their mobile device.

A patron can subscribe to as many magazines as desired by contacting their reader advisor. They are circulated directly from the NLS and have strict loan periods – 3 weeks for weeklies, and 7 weeks for monthlies. NLS will suspend the magazines of patrons who do not comply with these loan periods.

The LBPH website provides access to the Connecticut LBPH Catalog (OPAC) and the Connecticut Talking Books (CTC) catalog. On the LBPH OPAC catalog, patrons can search for books produced by NLS and other sources and submit a book request online which will go to the patron’s request list. The patron must contact their reader advisor to establish a user name and password for the OPAC.

For books not available at the LBPH, usually audio books produced by other state libraries, the reader advisor can submit an Inter-Library Loan request to obtain a copy requested by a patron. The owning library will then mail the book directly to the patron who, in turn, must mail it back to the owning library within the loan period.  

The LBPH has an audio book duplicating capability in which books can be downloaded from BARD and transferred to a digital cartridge and mailed to the patron. From the patron perspective, duplicating is useful for creating a digital cartridge containing several titles. For example, the cartridge could contain books in a series, or by the same author, or by the same subject matter, or by other criteria as requested by the patron to their reader advisor. Duplication will also be used to fill patron reserves and add more high-demand copies to the collection.

We also encourage all patrons to join the Friends of the LBPH which is a group of patrons involved in advocating and supporting the LBPH programs. The Friends meet bimonthly usually at the LBPH.

The patron’s assigned reader advisor will be pleased to discuss all of these services and assist the patron in getting the most out of the program. Please refer to contacting the library section.