NLS Operations Alert

No. 19-64

DATE         :  September 25, 2019
TO             :  Network Libraries
FROM        :  Karen Keninger, NLS Director
SUBJECT   :  Expanded Certification Pilot

We are pleased to announce that on October 1, 2019, NLS will begin a year-long two-state pilot program to ease access for individuals with reading disabilities by expanding the list of certifying authorities on a limited basis. Texas and Pennsylvania have been selected for this pilot. Texas's participation is based on the recently enacted S.B. 2075 (mandating that Texas schools refer students with reading disabilities to the Texas Talking Book Program). Pennsylvania was selected because the commonwealth also has a comparable large, diverse population served by a limited number of network libraries.

This pilot will allow NLS to build a better understanding of the demand for NLS services once the requirement for a medical doctor's certification of disability is removed. The pilot will also test a BARD-only policy-with the option of DTBMs being made available in limited cases based on hardship-and will allow NLS to ascertain the impact of an increased load capacity to BARD.

NLS will be collecting extensive data during the pilot, which will guide our decision-making for a future expansion of service. We are aware that all of our network libraries are very interested in this significant first step toward extended service, and we look forward to sharing interim findings from the pilot at the National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Print Disabled Individuals in May 2020.

For more information, contact:
David Spett
NLS Data Analyst
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