Assistive Resources and Talking Book Center

Assistive Resources and Talking Book Center provides access to books, equipment, technology and resources designed for individuals with disabilities. 

ARTBC is part of the National Network of Libraries Serving the Print Disabled, providing specialized library service to Chicagoans experiencing temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical, perceptual, or reading disability that prevents them from using regular print materials.

Through this partnership, we provide access to books and magazines in braille or audio that are instantly downloadable to a personal device or delivered by mail free of charge to Chicagoans unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of blindness, low vision, a physical disability or a reading disability (such as dyslexia) with a biological basis.

Librarians and readers advisors are available to assist patrons with materials selection and provide information and referrals. 

Hours and Contact Information


5th Floor North
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605

Contact Us



Monday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Resources Available at HWLC

To use resources in the ARTBC, a patron must meet the eligibility requirements and register by completing an NLS application. Disability service agencies and schools are also eligible for service.

To register, please complete an application form (available in English and in Spanish) and send via email to or mail to the Assistive Resources and Talking Book Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605.

  • Books and magazines in audio or braille are available for all ages in a wide variety of topics including bestsellers, classics, mysteries, biographies, business and more. Materials are available in English, Spanish and other languages. 
  • Books and magazines for download to personal devices such as iPhones, iPads, Android and eBraille devices.
  • Audiobook players and accessories for listening to CPL books.
  • Reference, book recommendations, information and disability service guidance.
  • American Sign Language support via tablets/web cams for one-to-one conversations.

Assistive Technology

Technology workstations equipped with software and devices designed for individuals with visual, physical and auditory disabilities are available for registered patrons. Stations are equipped with the following technology:

  • Dragon Speech Recognition
  • Duxbury Braille Translator
  • Fusion
  • JAWS
  • Kurzweil 3000
  • ZoomText Magnification
  • Refreshable Braille Displays
  • Braille Embossers
  • Perkins Braillers
  • SARA - Scan and Read Devices
  • TOPAZ – Video Magnifier with OCR
  • Touchscreen Monitors
  • Trackball Mouse Devices
  • Video Cameras

Additional Resources

Braille Books On Demand

Through our partnership with the NLS, registered patrons may request and receive one hard-copy braille book per month, which is theirs to keep. Patrons may complete the Braille On Demand Request Form to place a request. Please contact ARTBC for assistance if help is needed to complete the form.

Currency Readers

Currency reader devices are available free of charge to eligible individuals who are blind or visually disabled. These devices are available through a partnership with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), in support of its U.S. Currency Reader Program.

Descriptive Videos

Descriptive videos are available in the ARTBC and in the CPL catalog. A descriptive video is a movie or television program that includes special narration which provides a description of what is happening in the story, including key visual elements, such as character actions, gestures, costuming, facial expressions, scene changes, and onscreen text. 

Sorenson Video Relay Service Station for American Sign Language

Videophone with video relay service for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals may use the videophone to place video relay calls to hearing people, who receive the calls on a standard phone. Calls are routed through an interpreting center, where an interpreter, fluent in ASL and spoken English or Spanish, appears on the device. The deaf and hard of hearing caller signs the message to the interpreter, and the interpreter relays the conversation between the two parties. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals can also use the videophone to call other deaf or hard of hearing individuals with a videophone.

Video American Sign Language Station

The station is equipped with a Chromebook used to access live ASL interpreters. These stations facilitate communication between library staff and individuals that primarily communicate in ASL.

Outreach Services

ARTBC provides outreach service to organizations in the Chicagoland area such as senior centers, schools, libraries, social service agencies, assisted living facilities and healthcare facilities. The main goal of outreach is to provide information about ARTBC resources and materials designed to assist and support individuals with auditory, visual, physical or reading disabilities.

Requests for Accommodation

CPL encourages people with disabilities to participate in our events. Need sign language interpretation or other accessibility assistance for this event? Please call (312) 747-8184 or email, opens a new window to request accommodations. Requests must be made at least 14 business days before the event.