Talking Book Center


Chicago Public Library will discontinue the Talking Book Center effective June 30, 2016, as our grant from the Illinois State Library is ending.

The State of Illinois is consolidating services and as of July 1, talking book services will be provided via mail by the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service in Springfield.

Chicago Public Library will continue to offer:

  • a monthly book club for individuals with visual impairments
  • the Assistive Technology Center at Harold Washington Library Center, by appointment
  • audio descriptive DVDs

Please call (312) 747-4001 for more information about CPL’s services.

Other Services

Effective July 1, for talking book services, please contact:

Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service
300 S. Second Street
Springfield, IL 62701
(800) 757-4654

Illinois State Library will provide:

  • talking book material via mail
  • downloadable book service via the National Library Service Braille and Audio Reading Download Service
  • readers’ advisory and reference service
  • access to Spanish-language services for Spanish-speaking patrons

Second Sense also provides services that may be of interest:

  • a monthly newsletter (in accessible formats) highlighting services and programs for people with disabilities
  • help using the National Library Service Braille and Audio Reading Download Service

About Us

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.

Contact Us

  • 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

Recently Added Titles

BARD – Downloadable Books and Magazines Download digital books, magazines and more using the Talking Book Center’s BARD website.

Audio Players

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

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.