If you’re familiar with the Central Library in downtown Milwaukee, WI, then you know it’s full of interesting finds and unexpected surprises. Like the library’s numerous rare book vaults, which are said to contain autographed letters from Dickens and Beethoven, and hand-written books from Emerson. Or Simba the lion (now the library’s official mascot) who lived on the 4th floor and roof of the Central Library in the 1920’s…
At the Central Library, you don’t have to look very far to find great things. The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) is no exception. Headquartered in the Central Library, the WTBBL is not only an incredible public resource, it’s also a special place. And it’s particularly relevant right now as we continue to celebrate Braille Literacy Awareness Month.
What is the WTBBL?
The WTBBL is part of the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled. In short, it’s part of a network of libraries located throughout the country to support people who are vlind or visually impaired. In Wisconsin, the WTBBL at the Central Library offers an extensive catalog of services and materials for free to all members via postage-free snail mail.
Creating a World Where Everyone Can Read
Currently serving 6,800 registered members and over 544 institutions (e.g. libraries, schools, nursing homes, veterans centers), the WTBBL makes getting books easy. Members can browse an extensive catalog of braille and audio books—and have them conveniently delivered to their doorstep free of charge. But that’s not all—the WTBBL also offers (and delivers) a number of other resources:
- USB digital talking books
- Pillow speakers
- USB flash drive adapters and MIDI breath controllers
- High-volume audio book players and headphones
- And more
Who Can Become a WTBBL Member?
If you’re a Wisconsin resident and legally blind or living with a visual, physical, or reading disability that makes it hard to read printed materials, you can apply for free library services from the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library. Here’s a list of resources if you’re interested in becoming a member: