Life changing literacy services for blind and partially sighted people of all ages

Post date: 
Wednesday, 6 September 2017

RNIB has a number of reading and writing services for blind and partially sighted children, young people and adults.

Education services

RNIB Bookshare

RNIB Bookshare is an online resource that provides UK curriculum materials in a range of accessible formats that can be adapted to suit the personal reading needs of learners. The service enables learners who cannot read standard print, including those with dyslexia or sight loss, to read the same books at the same time as their peers, giving them the same educational opportunities.

How much does it cost?

You can join and use RNIB Bookshare for free if you're:

  • an early years centre
  • a school, college or university
  • a sensory support team
  • an adult learning centre.

There is a small charge for schools based overseas.


Exam transcription

RNIB produces exam materials in the required accessible format for all levels of exams, such as Key Stage 2, GCSE and A-Level. They have vast experience in the modification and transcription of materials into braille, large print, modified large print and creating supporting tactile images or diagrams.

How much does it cost?

The specialist team look at a question and determine how this can be adapted and modified to make sure that no student is disadvantaged. They are only able to provide costs for this service when provided with the standard versions of the exam, as costs are based on the length and complexity.

How to get started

For more information, as well as help and guidance, please email [email protected].


Reading services

Talking Books

Talking Books provides access to over 25,000 fiction and non-fiction books for blind and partially sighted adults and children in the UK.

Users can borrow up to six books at one time and choose to receive them via:

  • CD (called a DAISY CD) – there is one book per disc (if played in a DAISY CD Player, there is functionality to skip chapters and more).
  • USB stick – there are three books per stick.
  • Digital download (called RNIB Overdrive).

Books are also available to purchase on the RNIB Online Shop.

How much does it cost?

The service is free to use.

How to get started

To register either contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or purchase the subscription for free from the RNIB Online Shop.


RNIB Library

What is it?

The RNIB Library collection gives blind and partially sighted people in the UK access to over 6,000 giant print and 25,000 braille titles in a wide range of genres that are suitable for adults and children.

How much does it cost?

It’s free to join and postage is free for books delivered by post.

How to get started

For more information and to sign up, contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or at [email protected]. You can also download a library registration form, which can be sent to the Helpline by email or post.


RNIB Library: Music

What is it?

The music library has scores and tuition materials that can be enjoyed by established musicians, complete beginners or those who want to revive an old hobby. It offers:

  • over 11,000 braille music scores, from classical pieces and opera to popular music and jazz.
  • the only known lending collection of Modified Stave Notation (MSN) or large print music in the UK.
  • over 1,000 audio tuition courses including for piano, guitar and voice.

How much does it cost?

Scores can be borrowed for three months and are delivered for free to members of the RNIB Library.

How to get started

For more information please email [email protected].


RNIB Newsagent

RNIB Newsagent delivers an extensive range of popular newspapers and magazines (such as Reader’s Digest, New Scientist and BBC Horrible Histories) in a range of formats (including braille, audio on CD/USB/digital download, large print and e-text - a digital text-only file available via email/download).

How much does it cost?

The service is free for children under 16. For adults, the prices vary depending on the format. 

How to get started

To find out more or to take out a subscription, contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or at [email protected].


Writing services

Transcription services

RNIB offers a number of transcription services including:

  • writing transcription into braille, large print and electronic text
  • audio in human voice or digitally generated synthetic speech on CD, Daisy CD or as an MP3 file
  • producing tactile diagrams and images
  • accessible sheet music and musical scores in braille and print.

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing this service is free, but please contact RNIB for further information.

How to get started

The Personal Transcription team at Ivybridge offer advice and guidance on the best way of providing you with what you need. Email [email protected] and they will help you through the whole process.

If you’re based in Wales or require transcription in Welsh, RNIB’s Cardiff Transcription team can help. Please contact them by emailing [email protected].

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