Location: Valdosta Lowndes County Library, 300 Woodrow Wilson Drive; Valdosta, Georgia 31602
Phone: 229-333-7658 or 1-800-246-6515
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9:30-6 PM; Friday: 9:30-5:30 PM
A Brief History
The Talking Book Center, a branch of a national network, was established in 1974 and located in the Central Avenue Library in Valdosta. From its earliest days, it served as a distribution and access point for thousands of titles, receiving as many as 2,000 titles on tape per year from the Library of Congress. This location was advantageous to blind and visually impaired patrons, who had previously been forced to obtain material from an Atlanta branch. Gwen Richardson was the Valdosta center’s first employee.
By 1981, Frank Bonney was managing things. That same year, he reported serving around 375 patrons in a 12 county area. Disappointed by poor participation and desiring to boost membership for this free public service, Bonney, armed with information, approached nursing homes, physicians and social service agencies, speaking to social and service clubs, senior organizations and the media about his product. At the time, the center boasted 24,000 books and 80 magazines available. Bonney’s successors include Sharon Bernstein and Beverly Peters.
Today, located in the Valdosta-Lowndes County Public Library, the Talking Book Center’s collection consists of 20,000 books, 50 magazines and 2 newspapers. Diane Jernigan, who has managed the center since 2001, says she receives around 1,200 reference calls per year with annual visits numbering 155. The audio tapes are played on special machines, also provided free by the center.
The collection has all reading genres for children and adults, even some textbooks and books in Braille. Jernigan says the number one request is for the Bible. (The center offers two versions, King James and New English.) Coming in at second and third place are requests for mysteries and westerns. Jernigan says that seniors make up the largest part of the patronage.
The Talking Book Center is available to blind persons and persons with visual difficulty or physical handicaps which prevent them from using printed material. Do you or someone you know need this service? Call the Talking Book Center today!
The Talking Book Center serves patrons in each of these 12 counties: Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, and Turner.
If you are visually impaired or unable to hold a book, you’re eligible for this free program. Sign up for the Talking Book Center at Valdosta Library and you can get all the books you want mailed to you for free. The TBC will also lend you a tape player for listening to your books. When you’re finished and need to send your books back to the library, your return postage is also free.
When you register with the Talking Book Center, tell them what kinds of books you like to read. Most Talking Book Center materials are available on tape. If you like westerns, for example, the TBC will send you a selection every month; order up to five books on your first order. Most patrons can listen to about 10 books a week, but if you’d like more, you can check out up to 100 for 30 days. The TBC offers many popular interest books on tape, including bestsellers, classics, mysteries, westerns, romance, science fiction, history, biography, inspiration, children’s and foreign language.
You’ll find hundreds of large print books in our collection, as well as a large selection of huge print books, which are published in 24 pt. type. The selection includes authors of classics and contemporary novels. You can also order your favorite magazines. To qualify for this program, which is supported by federal and state funds, your condition must be certified by a medical doctor.