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.


With NFB-NEWSLINE, blind and physically impaired people can get advice from Ann Landers; the latest stock quotes and investment tips; sports scores; breaking news coverage; as well as editorial opinions and analysis of world events in time to discuss the news with their friends and colleagues.

The Illinois Newsline Network is a component of the National Network as established by the National Federation of the Blind and is funded by the Office of the Secretary of State, Jesse White, the Illinois State Library. It is a companion service to the Illinois Network of Libraries Serving the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

NFB-NEWSLINE utilizes telephone lines and digitized voice synthesizer systems (DECtalk) to provide blind and severely visually impaired people with daily access to a variety of newspapers. Using a touch-tone phone, readers enter a personal identification number (PIN) and a security code to access timely print information from a menu driven program. Readers can immediately turn to the sections that most interest them and listen to these articles read in a clear and uniform voice. The reader identification and security codes are valid anywhere in the country and a directory of locations is available to readers. There is no charge for this service.

You qualify for the program if you cannot read conventional print because of a visual impairment or a physical disability. There is no charge to register. Your registration does not need to be renewed and you may keep the same PIN if you move. Call the State Library's Talking Book and Braille Service at 800−426−0709 to register via phone, or you may complete and return the following application.


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.