Bookworms, Rejoice! Accessible Library Resources in Philly

For the Blind and Physically Disabled

The Free Library of Philadelphia Branch for the Blind and Physically Disabled

If reading is one of your hobbies but you have difficulty getting to the library or your disability makes it difficult to read like you used to, then you need to know about a great resource in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers accessibility to library resources that otherwise would be a challenge to obtain. The special branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is part of the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and boasts over 75,000 titles in circulation, including books and magazines that have been recorded on cassette and produced in braille. They also loan large print books and descriptive videos.

The first step in taking advantage of this resource is filling out an application, which can be obtained on their website and sent directly to the library. Or click directly on this link to access the application: http://lbph.freelibrary.org/application.htm. One “catch” to the application is that you need to be certified as eligible for services by a “competent authority,” which is defined to include doctors, RNs, therapists, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents).

Once you become a registered borrower, the materials can be mailed to you free of charge, which is quite helpful for those who have difficulty getting around Philly. Then, when you are finished with the material you checked out, you can just send it back to the Library in the pre-paid envelope they provide to you.

The library is a great resource in our city. If anyone has personal experiences or advice for others, we’d love to hear from you!

The library is located at 919 Walnut Street (between 9th and 10th streets) and is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.  to 5 p.m.

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