As Jack Schofield explains in his article, many options exist for readers who are unable to read conventional books. Although Schofield’s focus is on what is available–and what is not–in the UK, many of his comments and suggestions can be applied, or adapted, to the situation here in the U.S. I would also point out that our various state libraries still have functioning Talking Book programs, with audio tapes and even phonograph records for more-or-less permanent loan to eligible readers. The National Library Service’s webpage has a wide-ranging list of links, including a “Find A Library” link at the top of the page that will take you to a drop-down box that will supply the address and phone number of a state-run library in your area.
People often scratch their heads and wonder, “Is there anything unashamedly good in this country, some service offered without pretense, in which we can all take pride?” My answer, whenever I hear that question in its various forms, is yes, and I point to this particular reading service. On the larger scale, I also point to the Marshall Plan, which did an enormous amount of work in helping Europe recover after the devastation of World War II. Economic and material help to fend off starvation and disease and rebuild ruined cities was offered to everyone, including the Soviets, who declined it; and the generosity of the plan, although never completely altruistic, enabled us to come as close as any country on Earth has ever come to being its neighbor’s keeper.