Blind & Handicapped Services
of the
Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library
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The Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library services for blind or physically handicapped individuals are provided free to anyone meeting the eligibility requirements. If you or someone you know is unable to use standard printed materials because of a reading disability or other visual or physical impairment, you may be qualified for free library services through the Talking Books Library.

What is a Talking Books Library?

A Talking Books Library is part of a nationwide network of cooperating libraries serving people who have difficulty using or reading regular print.

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Such libraries loan books and magazines printed in Braille and the compatible playback equipment from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and the Library of Congress. All materials are sent to patrons and returned to the library via postage-free mail.

The Parkersburg & Wood County Library is one of the three libraries in the state of West Virginia certified as a network or sub-regional library of the NLS, the Library of Congress, and the West Virginia Library Commission Special Services.

We provide this service for people with special needs in Wood , Pleasants, Ritchie, Calhoun, Wirt, Roane, Jackson, and Tyler counties.

What do we offer?

Books on Digital Cartridge are the most frequently requested service, and they are provided through the mail free of charge. These recorded books are played on a special machine that is furnished to eligible patrons by the West Virginia Library Commission. There are more than 11,000 titles available at the Emerson library appealing to a wide range of reading interests. Choose from current best sellers, mysteries, romances, westerns, classics, children's books, biographies, and historical novels, as well as books about history, science, psychology, inspirational materials, and The Bible.

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Individuals who qualify for the program also have access to over 40 popular and special interest magazines including People, Money, Sports Illustrated and Consumer Reports. These magazines are produced on digital cartridge and delivered through the mail. In addition, patrons also have access to NFB-NEWSLINEŽ, a free electronic service that gives any blind, visually impaired, or print-disabled person access to newspapers, magazines, and TV listings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a touch-tone telephone, on the Web, or by download to a digital talking-book player or MP3-playing device.

Newsline, a talking newspaper service offered through the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia, might be accessed by patrons who registered with this NLS service.

Who is Eligible for Service?

These disabilities do not have to be permanent for you to qualify for the service. Persons with a temporary disability, such as impairment due to accident or surgery, are also eligible. In certain instances, individuals with reading disabilities such as dyslexia are also eligible, but they must provide doctor certification.

To qualify, individuals must submit an application to the Talking Books department at the library, that includes a referral from a medical specialist, teacher, or the librarian to attest to that person's impairment. After enrollment, tapes may be delivered free of charge through the mail or they may be picked up at the downtown library.

Download Application (PDF)

Residents of nursing or personal care homes are also eligible for this service.

How do I apply?

Simply fill out the application here at the Parkersburg & Wood County Public Library, request one to be mailed to you, or click here to download a copy.

Helpful Resource Links:

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Location and Hours:

The Blind/Physically Handicapped Services Department is located on the bottom floor of the Emerson Library at 3100 Emerson Ave., Parkersburg, and is open to patrons Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.

You can contact the Talking Books Department directly at
Phone (304) 420-4587 ext.4
Fax (304) 420-4589
Email: bhdept@park.lib.wv.us