Your Free Virtual Library Card

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Depending on where you live and how large a library there is in your community, you may discover that the "virtual library" on the Internet is much larger! It may not have current best sellers, but it does have many newspapers and magazines as well as classics, reference works, some interesting professional books, videos, music, as well as hundreds of children's books that can be adapted for treatment. This column will point the way to freely available books, magazines, and newspapers in this virtual library that might provide appropriate materials for adults in your caseload. A future column will feature books and magazines for children.

Textbooks on these sites can be "read" with text-to-speech software, which may be on your computer or can be installed. You can search for software appropriate to your computer with the keywords "text to speech" in any standard search engine. ReadPlease ( is an example of a free text-to-speech program for Windows that even allows the user to adjust speed of narration. Narrator by Dejal Systems ( is an example of a shareware text-to-speech program for Macintosh. Texthelp's Read & Write ( has a Macintosh and Windows version. With a text-to-speech reader, electronic books (eBooks) can potentially fill leisure hours through listening to favorite books or providing practice by reading along with the computer-generated narrator and the written text on the computer. Or, if you prefer, VoyCabulary ( links every word on any HTML Web page to an online dictionary. By simply clicking on the written words, you or your client will be able to read the definition.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Journals

Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at All of Kuster’s Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, Your Free Virtual Library Card, ASHA Leader, April 13, 2004, p. 24