Sec’y of State Jesse White Urges Talking Book and Braille Patrons to Participate in New U.S. Currency Reader Program

Program Provides Free Currency Readers for Blind and Visually Impaired

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced the launching of a pilot program to enable Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) patrons the option to pre-order a free currency reader.  The program, set to begin September 2, is sponsored by the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“Federal Reserve notes are the same size and weight regardless of denomination, making it difficult for blind and visually impaired individuals to tell them apart,” said White.  “The innovative program helps visually impaired people to navigate a common aspect of day-to-day life.”

The four-month pilot program allows the government to test its ordering and distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers by initially offering the reader only to TBBS patrons.  State Library staff will order the currency reader, which will be delivered to the patron’s home. To receive a free currency reader, current patrons of TBBS should call 1-888-NLS-READ or 1-888-657-7323.

In January 2015, following the pilot rollout to TBBS patrons, the program will be available to all residents who are blind or visually impaired. Individuals interested in applying for a currency reader device or learning more about the program can visit