You’re reading this, so obviously you have an appreciation for the written word. But imagine what it’s like to not be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading your favorite blog, a good novel, the newspaper, or even your email because of a visual impairment like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.

That’s where Colorado Talking Book Library comes in. CTBL provides audio, Braille, and large print books to Colorado residents with vision-related disabilities. Clients can order materials to be automatically sent on a monthly or weekly basis, and the items arrive by mail free of charge (the United States Postal Service receives funding for the service). Patrons can also call to order items or visit the library in person.

CTBL serves about 7,000 Coloradans annually. The program is largely volunteer-run, and produces about 50 books and three magazines per year. “The work our volunteers do is vital to the patrons of our library,” volunteer coordinator Terri Marcotte says. “Preparing books for fellow book lovers and those who have never experienced the joy of reading—what could be better than that?”

To sign up for the program, fill out an application or call 303-727-9277.

Get Involved: Spread the word about this national service to anyone you know who has a visual impairment. Locally, CTBL has several volunteer opportunities:

1. Circulation department volunteers get books ready to be mailed out to patrons, and process the returned books each day.

2. Narrators record the audio books. There’s an audition involved for this one, which makes it a great fit for actors and people who do voiceover work.

3. The duplication department makes copies of audio books and makes sure they are labeled and prepared for mailing.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock