SALB Heading
Library Services

library services

The South African Library for the Blind (SALB) provides reading materials found in public libraries in formats accessible to the blind and disabled. The Library loans recorded audio and Braille books and magazines, and specially designed playback equipment to all residents of South Africa who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical impairment (which includes the elderly). Services are provided free of charge to eligible readers.

The library services consist of Circulation (Audio and Braille) and Cataloguing.

The Library Services include:

  • Issue to and receive back library material and reading devices from library members
  • Developing and maintaining the library collection through the selection of quality material
  • Cataloguing library material to make it accessible to library members
  • Administrating Inter-library Loans from international suppliers
  • Managing and maintaining an up-to-date electronic Library Management System
  • Administrating Copyright Management matters
  • Reading Club


Books and equipment are circulated through the South African Postal Service postage-free. The library loans equipment free of charge to its members, but they must order at least one book a year in order to continue to borrow the equipment. If this equipment is not being used with reading materials provided by the South African Library for the Blind it must be returned.

The loan period for books is up to eight weeks. Audio and Visual reading materials for the visually impaired can also be accessed at our SALB Mini-Libraries within many Public Libraries nationwide, called SALB Mini-Libraries. Trained library staff can assist members to use the latest digital technology and reading materials.

Advantages of joining a SALB Mini-Library:

  • Social interaction with other library members
  • Access to information and technology
  • Review books with other members
  • Members participate in library programmes, i.e. book discussions, book clubs, etc.
  • Librarians contact SALB on member’s behalf
  • for any special request

The SALB’S collection of pre-school tactile books contains Braille, large print and pictures.

The purpose of these books is to create access to books for pre-school children and to make the reading experience fun, while allowing the pre-school child access to objects not part of the immediate environment.

Titles include experiences not in the immediate environment of the pre-school blind child such as “In the Zoo” and nursery rhyms, such as “Humpty Dumpty”, and assist children to learn concepts around math’s with titles such as “Let’s count”.




We have four types of digital catalogues for our library members which can be accessed on our website:

Web Online Public Access Catalogue is the online electronic library catalogue of the South African Library for the Blind which allows search for reading material through author, title or subject.

A user can log in and reserve a book online and it will be posted to them free of charge.


VIOPAC – Visually Impaired Online Public Access Catalogue is the online electronic library catalogue of the South African Library for the Blind which allows search for reading material through author, title or subject. (Screen reader friendly)

It does allow for search via author, title or subject but it is a much simpler way to search and is screen reader friendly.

Audio Books
An audio library catalogue which is powered by ‘Overdrive’. Members can browse all titles, but download or listen online only to titles which have been purchased by the SALB for a loan period of two weeks.


A (3rd party) digital catalogue of audio books available to SALB members at a discounted price. Library members have to pay a subscription fee annually direct to Bookshare, the SALB merely facilitates the discount available to its members.

Zoom in Regular Zoom out

Update on the new Library Management System:

The teams from Universal Knowledge Software (UKS) and SALB are busy finalising the outstanding modules and the system should be up and running tentatively by end October 2018.

In the meantime the Circulation Staff continue to manually select books based on your reading interests.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Please submit any inquiries to:;

Read More

Click to listen highlighted text!