NLS on the Move

August 29, 2019

The latest on our new initiatives


NLS gets a new name and logo

You’ve been hearing talk of it since last summer’s network conference in Nashville, and it’s finally happening: NLS is changing its name. This fall, NLS will become the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.

“Both NLS and the Library of Congress sought input from stakeholder groups and gathered data regarding this change,” NLS Director Karen Keninger said. “We also heard from members of the public through emails, in-person interactions at events and channels such as Facebook. In keeping with the strategic plan of the Library of Congress, and our alignment to its goals, our new name is patron-centric. As with all of our work, it puts the emphasis on the people we serve. It picks up on the language used in the Marrakesh Treaty, which refers to ‘persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.’ And it removes a word—‘handicapped’—that has become dated and that some find offensive.”

The new name—along with our new NLS logo—will be introduced through both NLS’s and the Library of Congress’s public channels on October 1.

We know you have questions about the change and how it will impact your library. We won’t try to answer all of them today, but here’s a start:

Will the program still be known as NLS?


Do you have to change your library’s name too?

No. In recent years, some network libraries have chosen to change their names. In the spring of 2018, for example, the Tennessee Library for the Blind became the Tennessee Library for Accessible Books and Media. But that’s a local decision for libraries and their parent agencies to make.

Will NLS get a new brand identity to go with its name change?

Yes, and it will complement the brand identity the Library of Congress adopted last summer.

What should you do with promotional and educational materials that have the old NLS name?

Don’t throw them out! Continue to use them until supplies run out or NLS provides updated materials with the new name and branding. We will do this over time as we reprint current materials that are in low supply or create new materials.

How is NLS letting patrons know about the change?

The September–October issues of Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review will announce the change. The November–December issues will display the new name and brand identity. There will also be notices on our website and Facebook page.

How can network libraries help get the word out?

In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing language that you can use in your newsletters and social media posts and on your websites.

September will be a busy month for us here at NLS as we work to implement the name change. Look for additional information as we get closer to October 1.

Watch for the next issue of On the Move in your inbox on September 26!