About the Communication Center
SSB Not Accepting New Volunteers at This Time
For the health and safety of our staff, customers, and current volunteers, we are unable to accept new volunteers at this time and are not processing applications. We remain extremely grateful for your interest, and look forward to receiving your application at a later time.
Live, work, read, succeed!
Access to information for school, work, and everyday life is critical. Whether it’s a story in today’s newspaper, a textbook for class, a manual for work, a family cookbook, or the latest book from a favorite author, we provide you with what you want to read so that you can read it when and how you choose: on your tablet, smartphone, or computer; through our radio receivers; in braille; or on a digital book player. We loan radios and digital book players at no cost to customers.
In addition to accessing your favorite books, newspapers, and magazines through our National Library Service and NFB-NEWSLINE sources, we also have our own radio reading and Dial-In News services. If what you want to read is not already in the form you need, we will transcribe it at no charge to you. As Minnesota’s Accessible Reading Source, our goal is to help ensure that all Minnesotans have access to print. To do our work we rely on a dedicated team of volunteers, and the support of generous donors. Read more about how to help.
How Can I Read It if Can't See It?
This video is for everyone who loves reading and worries that vision loss, or another disability, might take away their ability to read. This video demonstrates how our Communication Center has become "Minnesota's Accessible Reading Source."
"How Can I Read It if I Can't See It" (audio described)
A Brief History
The only facility of its kind in Minnesota, the Communication Center began in 1953 as a public/private partnership with the State of Minnesota providing braille and audio transcription services.
Initial funding came from the Hamm Foundation of St. Paul, and services were extended by grants from other family and corporate foundations, public funds and individual gifts. The Minnesota Legislature passed legislation in 1979 that made the Communication Center part of Minnesota State Services for the Blind. The change allowed the Communication Center to receive additional state and federal funding.
The Radio Talking Book went on the air in 1969 through the continuing support of the Hamm Foundation and cooperative agreements with Minnesota Public Radio, providing a radio reading service of books, magazines and daily newspapers. Daily newspapers have been available by telephone since 1980. More recently, the Newsline Services (through the National Federation of the Blind) makes national and international news sources available by phone, web and smartphone app.
Apply for Services
Apply to receive any or all of our services including the Radio Talking Book, transcription services, the NFB Newsline, and books and materials from the National Library Service by filling out this application form. The form gives information on visual and physical disabilities required for eligibility.