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The Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides books and other materials in alternative formats to Iowa residents of all ages who are unable to read standard print materials.

Eligibility

The Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides services to individuals who fall into any of the following categories:

  1. 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.
  2. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material
  3. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
  4. Persons certified by competent authority as having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.

Some schools and medical facilities are also eligible to apply for service as institutions.

This includes individuals who have had a qualifying disability from birth, individuals who are disabled because of medical conditions or trauma, and individuals who become disabled as they age. Individuals who have a temporary disability may qualify for service on a temporary basis. Individuals who are blind or have a physical disability and who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States receive special priority.

Who is a “competent 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 (e.g., social workers, case workers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents).

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.

Competent authority for certifying eligibility as a result of a reading disability from organic dysfunction is defined as “doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy,” who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines. Further information on qualifying for service as an individual with a reading disability may be found in the NLS Reference Guide: Talking Books and Reading Disabilities.