Eligibility - Individuals Talking Books Library and all Regional Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped use the following criteria to determine the eligibility of blind or other physically handicapped persons for the loan of library materials. Who can qualify? NLS provides service to individuals who fall into any of the following categories: Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations. Persons certified by competent authority as having a perceptual or reading disability of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner. Persons eligible for service (falling into any of the above categories) who are now living as residents of the United States (including its territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia), or are American citizens eligible for service who are now living abroad, or dependents of active military personnel or diplomats. Who is a “Certifying Authority”? In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, “competent authority” is defined to include: Doctors of medicine, Doctors of osteopathy, Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Registered nurses, Therapists, Professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies, such as an educator, social worker, case worker, counselor, rehabilitation teacher, certified reading specialist, school psychologist, superintendent, or librarian. In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress. Residency or U.S. Citizenship Eligible readers must be residents of the United States, including the several states, territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia; or, American citizens domiciled abroad. Lending of Materials and Classes of Borrowers Veterans In the lending of books, recordings, playback equipment, musical scores, instructional texts, and other specialized materials, preference shall be given at all times to the needs of the blind and other physically handicapped persons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States. Institutions The reading materials and playback equipment for the use of blind and physically handicapped persons may be loaned to individuals who qualify, to institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals, and to schools for the blind or physically handicapped for the use by such persons only. The reading materials and playback equipment may also be used in public or private schools where handicapped students are enrolled; however, the students in public or private schools must be certified as eligible on an individual basis and must be the direct and only recipients of the materials and equipment. For more information please read the Talking Books Library Institutions Policy.