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NLS home > Current press release > Press release archive > NLS Honors Veterans
This Veterans Day, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, joins the nation in commemorating those who have bravely served and sacrificed for the common good. Dedication to serving the reading needs of the nation's blind and physically handicapped veterans is a core tenet of the talking-book program's founding mandate. Not only are veterans among the program's most avid patrons, but they also make an invaluable contribution to NLS in an advisory role.
Through a national network of regional libraries, NLS offers a wide selection of books and magazines in audio and braille, as well as music scores in braille and large print, directly to veterans and other qualified American residents and citizens. This free library service helps patrons remain avid readers and stay connected to the world around them. NLS grants priority status to honorably discharged blind and physically handicapped military personnel in the loan of free reading materials and equipment.
The talking-book program considers its service to veterans to be one of its most important duties. "NLS is committed to serving the needs of those who have so willingly served our country," said Frank Kurt Cylke, director. "We are proud to offer this service to some of America's most honored citizens."
Talking books have long been popular with veterans and veterans groups. Tom Miller, executive director of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and a veteran blinded by a landmine in Vietnam in 1967, is an enthusiastic supporter of the talking-book program and encourages more veterans to enroll. "The talking-book program provides a much needed way for veterans to continue to read, learn, and enhance the quality of our lives," said Miller. "So many of us stand to benefit from this valuable, free service."
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are as many as 150,000 blinded U.S. veterans at present. The number of veterans with low vision is currently estimated to be 1,026,000.
For veterans' reading pleasure, NLS maintains an extensive collection of military history and biographies. Ranging from classics to current bestsellers, the collection includes Andrew Roberts's Napoleon and Wellington: The Battle of Waterloo-and the Great Commanders Who Fought It (2001); Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in their Own Words (2003) by Larry Smith; and America's Splendid Little Wars: A Short History of U.S. Military Engagements 1975-2000 (2003) by Peter Huchthausen. Bestsellers currently in production include American Soldier (2004) by Tommy Franks and His Excellency: George Washington (2004) by Joseph J. Ellis.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers the talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents or American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or physical handicap makes reading a standard printed page difficult. Through its national network of regional libraries, NLS mails books and magazines on cassette and in braille, as well as audio equipment, directly to enrollees at no cost. Further information on eligibility requirements and enrollment procedures for the program is available at www.loc.gov/nls or 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
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Posted on 2011-01-10