Network Bulletin No.: 08-41
Date: October 17, 2008
Index term: NLS Digital Distribution Policy
Attached is the final NLS Digital Player Distribution Policy. A __Network
Library Manual__ entry will be distributed soon.
Network libraries and machine-lending agencies are encouraged to begin formalizing
their own digital player distribution policies, based on this model, with input from their
consumer advisory committees and cooperating units.
For further information contact:
Assistant Chief, Network Division
[log in to unmask]
DIGITAL PLAYER DISTRIBUTION POLICY
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped gives preference in the
distribution of digital talking-book players to veterans first and then to members of the 102
Talking-Book Club (registered patrons who are one hundred years of age or older).
After first meeting the needs of eligible veterans, cooperating libraries and machine-lending
agencies (MLAs) shall next address the needs of persons belonging to or eligible for the NLS
centenarian group, the 102 Talking-Book Club, before meeting the needs of other readers served
by the agency.
Public Law 89-522. An Act: To amend the Acts of March 3, 1931, and October 9, 1962, relating
to the furnishing of books and other materials to the blind so as to authorize the furnishing of such
books and other materials to other handicapped persons. This law provides that eligible persons
honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces shall have preference in borrowing library
materials produced by NLS. The text of P.L. 89-522 states:
In the lending of such books, recordings, reproducers, musical scores, instructional
texts, and other specialized materials, preference shall at all times be given to the needs
of the blind and of the other physically handicapped persons who have been honorably
discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States.
NLS will assign digital talking-book players to each MLA in the same way that cassette players
are currently assigned. NLS calculates a percentage of national audio readership served by each
MLA and applies that percentage to the total number of new machines to be produced under
annual contracts. The quantity of machines to be assigned annually is then divided by twelve to
determine the monthly allotment of machines for each MLA.
It will be several years after the launch of the digital talking-book system before enough players
are available for every eligible reader. In the interim, MLAs will have to prioritize their
distribution. After the needs of veterans and centenarians have been met, MLAs may set their
own priorities for early requesters and new patrons.
Consulting with its parent library, each MLA can develop its own plan for player distribution to
veterans and centenarians who request digital service. In addition to relying on local records of
claims for veterans' and seniors' preferences, libraries should verify this information through
direct communication with borrowers. MLAs should contact all patrons identified as veterans or
centenarians to inquire whether they want to receive a digital player. Alternatively, MLAs may
publicize the availability of digital players in their newsletters and then provide them to eligible
patrons upon request.
Veterans indicating they are not interested in receiving digital players should have their responses
noted in their machine files. Veterans who later choose to request digital players should be
moved to the waiting list behind other veterans already on the list.
Once the needs of these groups have been met, libraries shall assign machines to those on their
waiting lists. If no one remains on the waiting lists, machine assignment shall be at the library's