The Talking Book Center, on the 5th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, provides free library service to Chicago residents of all ages who cannot read standard print comfortably due to visual or physical limitations. Materials are mailed directly to and from members, postage free.
- Phone: (312) 747-4001
- Phone: (800) 757-4654 (Chicago only)
- Fax: (312) 747-1609
- Monday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome.
Books, Magazines and More
The Talking Book Center offers popular fiction and nonfiction audiobooks, Braille books, descriptive movies and digital files.
Search the Catalogs
- Talking Book Center Catalog
- National Library Service Catalog
- Audio and Braille Magazines
- Foreign Language Materials
Recently Added Titles
BARD – Downloadable Books and Magazines Download digital books, magazines and more using the Talking Book Center’s BARD website.
Talking Book Center audiobooks and magazines work only on the free players loaned to members, selected third-party devices and the Talking Book Center mobile app. Additional devices are available for those who need help using the players.
- Help choosing books
- Help finding information and referrals
- Monthly book discussions and other programs
- Private computer workstations with special equipment and software designed for individuals with low or no vision to use the Internet, create documents, read printed material and more
Contact us to register for additional services:
- NFB-NEWSLINE: 24-hour phone, Internet and mobile access to audio and digital versions of more than 200 newspapers, magazines and TV listings.
- CRIS Radio: Chicagoland Radio Information Service: Daily broadcast of information, resources and entertainment for those with visual and print impairments.
Eligibility and Application
Any Chicago resident who is unable to comfortably read standard print due to a temporary or permanent visual or physical impairment may be eligible for this service. People with certain reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, also qualify. Institutions serving individuals with print impairments also qualify for service.
Download an Application
- Individual Application for Free Library Service (PDF)
- Spanish-Language Individual Application for Free Library Service (PDF)
- Institutional Application for Free Library Service (PDF)
Non-Chicago residents receive services from other Talking Book Centers in the Illinois State Talking Book and Braille Service Network.
Please contact us to schedule a presentation with your community group, school, senior residence, library, institution or organization. The Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center is a subregional library of the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service Network, a part of a nationwide network of cooperating libraries administrated by the National Library Service, a division of the Library of Congress. The library is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.