Accessible Books Provide Reading Fun, Fantasy and Facts

Smiling child with headphones and laptop

You may be able to get accessible books or electronic materials at your local library. Many other places also offer accessible books and materials, and people with disabilities can borrow a lot of these for free.

Summer brings the promise of endless possibilities. Whether you want to relax and have fun, escape into a new world, explore a favorite subject or learn new skills, books offer endless opportunities. Reading can also help students with disabilities retain their skills over the summer so they are ready when school bells ring again.

If you cannot read standard print material due to visual, physical or reading disabilities, you may be able to get accessible books or electronic materials at your local library. You can ask a librarian for help if you are not sure how to find these materials. The librarian may also be able to order accessible books for you, if the library does not have what you want.

Many other places also offer accessible books and materials, and people with disabilities can borrow a lot of these for free. Most organizations require individuals to provide proof of their disability. Here are some more places you can obtain accessible books.

  • The Talking Book Program at the Texas State Library
    This is a free library service for Texans of all ages with disabilities who cannot read regular print material. It has books and magazines on digital cartridge, audio cassette, Braille and large print. Items can be sent through the mail free or downloaded from the Web via BARD by registered readers.
  • Bookshare┬«
    This online library provides accessible books to students across the country who have qualifying print disabilities. Materials include best sellers, classic literature, reference books, K-12 textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, magazines and newspapers. Bookshare is funded by the United States Department of Education.
  • Accessible Books for Texas
    Funded by the Texas Education Agency, this program provides training and support to Texas public K-12 educators, parents and students about accessible educational materials. Texas success stories explore how some students have benefited from the program, which features access to Bookshare®.
  • National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
    This national network of libraries provides Braille and audio books and magazines, including digital talking books. Materials are provided free through the mail or Internet.
  • Internet Archive and Open Library
    The Internet Archive provides free access to a digital, historical collection that includes books and texts, audio, moving images, software and archived Web pages. The site has specialized services for adaptive reading and access for individuals with disabilities. Go to their Open Library site, which the State of Texas participates in, to access books.
  • Learning Ally: Making Learning Accessible for All
    This was previously called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. It has an annual membership fee.
  • Project Gutenberg
    Provides free eBooks that have expired copyrights. Audio books may be human-read or computer-generated.