The LBPH serves those with Visual Impairments, Physical Disabilities preventing use of print books, and Reading Disabilities resulting from organic dysfunction.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) was established by an act of Congress in 1931, and placed under the jurisdiction of the Library of Congress. Subsequent legislation expanded the program in the 1950’s and 1960’s. From a start of 19 libraries in 1931, the network has grown to 56 regional and 65 sub-regional libraries throughout the United States. The New Mexico program was established in 1967.The program in New Mexico is administered by the New Mexico State Library, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. The New Mexico network consists of the regional library in Santa Fe and a number of depository libraries located throughout the state.
The LBPH is responsible for meeting the reading and information needs of nearly 3,000 New Mexico citizens who are blind, visually impaired, physically handicapped, or reading disabled. Patrons are issued playback equipment that allows them to utilize books, magazines, and other material in alternate formats (digital cartridge, cassette, Braille, and electronic text). The collection focuses mainly on recreational reading, and contains more than 60,000 titles in a variety of genres. Patrons may also download titles directly from the NLS through BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download).
The following persons are eligible for service
a. Persons whose visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, is certified by competent authority as preventing the reading of standard printed material.
b. Persons certified by competent authority as unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
c. 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.
Applications for service from individuals claiming a reading disability based on a physical disability must establish the following facts:
the reading disability is of sufficient severity to prevent reading regular printed material in a normal manner
the cause of the disability is physically based; that is, it is an organic dysfunction
the person certifying the application is medically able to judge whether the disability has a physical or organic basis
The following groups of individuals are not automatically eligible: those who have learning disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, chronic-fatigue syndrome, autism, functional illiteracy, or developmental disabilities, unless accompanied by a specific visual or physical disability.
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; and 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.
In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, competent authority is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.