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U.S. Currency Reader Program

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NLS has partnered with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in support of its U.S. Currency Reader Program, which will provide currency reader devices, free of charge, to eligible individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The program is part of the U.S. government’s Meaningful Access Initiative to assist individuals who experience difficulties identifying U.S. currency.

The currency reader, called the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, is a compact device that announces a note’s value in one of three ways: voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations. Just insert a note into the device and press the button on the side to have the denomination identified. The currency reader does not identify foreign or counterfeit banknotes. The size of a key fob, it can be carried in a pocket or purse, clipped to a belt, or attached to a keychain or lanyard. It operates on a single AAA battery, which typically lasts for more than a year. The initial battery is included.

A national rollout of the U.S. Currency Reader Program is scheduled to begin in January 2015, but a pilot initiative is currently underway through which eligible NLS patrons may pre-order a currency reader through December 31, 2014. To pre-order, patrons may call their local Talking Books and Braille Library (in Louisiana, call 1-800-543-4702). The library staff will note the account and a currency reader will be mailed Free Matter to the patron’s on-file address when the devices become available.

Eligible individuals who wish to receive free library service may call the Talking Books and Braille Library at 1-800-543-4702 to get an application.  Or you may download an application at:


To learn more about the U.S. Currency Reader Program or other aspects of the U.S. government’s initiative to provide meaningful access to U.S. currency visit www.bep.gov.

Individuals who are not NLS patrons must submit an application, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. Applications will be available on the www.bep.gov website and processed for non-patrons of NLS beginning January 2, 2015.

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The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library has proved text and audio translations of the Quick Start Guide that comes with the iBill currency reader. The translations are in French, Spanish, and Russian. Chinese may soon be added. Here is the link to this information: