Expanded Services Illinois State Library

Currency Reader  •  eRead Illinois  •  NFB-NEWSLINE  •  Pioneers  •  RIS  •  Readers' Advisory

Currency Reader Program

As of January 2, 2015, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) Currency Reader Program will be open to all citizens/legal residents of the United States who are unable to read regular print because of blindness or a visual impairment meeting the eligibility requirements.

The currency reader, called the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, is a compact device that announces a note's value by voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations. National Library Service (NLS) patrons will need to fill out the application form available from the NLS website at:

Text and audio translations of the Quick Start Guide, which is included with the iBill device, are provided by the New York Public Library at:

eRead Illinois

eRead Illinois provides TBBS users access to a digital collection of electronic books (ebooks) and commercially recorded digital audiobooks. The collection features new releases and popular titles in adult, young adult and juvenile fiction and nonfiction that may not be available in our regular collection—including some in Spanish.

Titles available from eRead Illinois are not compatible with the NLS digital player. However, the Axis 360 mobile app makes it easy for users to enjoy ebooks and digital audiobooks on their personal tablet or smartphone device. Compatible devices include iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android (includes Nook and Kobo tablets), and Kindle Fire and Fire HD/HDX. A desktop app is also available for the Windows operating system.

Axis 360 App Download and Supporting Resources

Initial funding for eRead Illinois was provided by the Secretary of State through the State Library.


Developed by the National Federation of the Blind and sponsored by the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, NFB-NEWSLINE is a free audio news service available to those who are blind, visually impaired or print-disabled.

NFB-NEWSLINE offers over 500 national, international and state newspapers, along with breaking news sources such as CNN, BBC and ESPN Online, as well as fifty magazines including Family Circle, Time, Consumer Reports, Jet, Guideposts and Smithsonian. It also offers emergency weather alerts and seven day forecasts, job listings, TV listings, retail ads and more. The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, the Daily Herald, the Belleville News Democrat, the Moline Dispatch and the Kankakee Daily Journal are the only Illinois newspapers available on NFB-NEWSLINE.

Subscribers may access NFB-NEWSLINE in any of the following ways: by phone, a free iOS mobile app, Amazon Alexa products, on Demand emails, a secure website and a variety of portable players including the NLS Talking Book player. Visit https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-newsline for more information.

Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service patrons can sign up for NFB-NEWSLINE by contacting TBBS at 800-426-0709 or isltbbs@ilsos.gov. Anyone else who cannot read printed publications due to vision loss, dyslexia or a physical disability should contact the National Federation of the Blind at 866-504-7300 to request an application. You may also download and mail a print application/registration form (PDF), or complete an online application. Links to both versions of the application are provided below. After your registration is processed, you will receive a message containing your activation codes and instructions.


Each year current and retired telecommunications employees volunteer many hours to our service. Two major volunteer organizations that repair damaged machines, include the AT&T Pioneers, and the Telephone Pioneers of America. These groups do an outstanding job getting damaged machines back in proper working order. We truly appreciate the commitment and fellowship of all the pioneers who are eager to help us help you.

Radio Information Service

Thanks to a grant from the Illinois State Library, thousands of Illinois residents are able to use the Radio Information Service (RIS) each day to listen to broadcasts of local news. These programs are broadcast on a special radio called a sideband receiver. These receivers are distributed at no cost to qualified recipients. Anyone who has a visual or physical disability which impairs his or her ability to read may be eligible to obtain a special radio.

Many informational service programs are broadcast daily and include hours of local programming. Local newspapers are read and usually include pieces of news that may not generally be heard on the television news broadcasts. A variety of topics are available including comics, grocery ads and obituaries. RIS also produces public affairs programs and listener call-in shows.

Readers' Advisory and Reference Services

Readers' Advisors provide assistance in selecting fiction and non-fiction books and magazines based on each patron’s personal reading interests. They also offer reference and referral services to anyone interested in assistive technologies. Reference collections include standard reference works, bibliographies and information sources pertaining to blindness, visual impairment, physical limitations, and reading disabilities resulting from organic dysfunction. For more information, call the State Library's Talking Book and Braille Service at 800−426−0709.