Alternative and Accessible Formats

The Combined Regions and Conarls ( supports interlending in all formats for people with a visual or print impairment.

Alternative format material is usually a book or print item that has been produced in another format such as Braille, Moon, Large Print, Giant Print, and audio CD/MP3, in order to make it accessible to people who cannot use general standard book formats and font size.



Outside of the alternative formats held in public libraries across the UK, whose collections tend to be relatively limited, there are a number of specialist providers who operate a lending service:


Calibre Audio library
Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free service of unabridged audio books for adults and children with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print.


The catalogue is available to search online and includes material for adults and children. It is a leisure reading library and all books are produced in digital format on MP3 CD or memory stick; via download and streaming.



Clearvision is a postal lending library of children’s books in print and braille, and tactile books designed to be shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults. They lend books all across the UK and Ireland.


There are over 14,000 books in the collection, catering for children from birth until they’re independent readers. They have fiction and non-fiction in uncontracted (grade 1) and contracted (grade 2) braille and Moon.


RNIB Library

RNIB Library is the largest of its kind in the UK, and is free to use, with over 60,000 items in the collection. They stock a range of formats: audio, braille, giant print, and music (in braille and giant print); and the entire collection is searchable via their online catalogue.


RNIB’s international renowned Talking Book service is provided in a number of different formats: USB Stick, DAISY CD, or Digital Download.


Articles for the Blind postage

Alternative format material may be sent via the Post Office Service free of charge to and from a VIP, using the Articles for the Blind (AFB) service, even if obtained through a library. Further information regarding Articles for the Blind (AFB) can be found on the RNIB website and the Post Office website.


Further information

Further information on accessible formats and the services that provide them is provided by Share the Vision on the ‘Reading Sight’ website ( This website also provides wider guidance on supporting people with visual or print impairment to access reading.