The Swedish Talking Book Model

In the Swedish Talking Book model, the Government is responsible for production, information and the central lending function. The county libraries are responsible for regional service and information. Municipal and university and college libraries are responsible for lending to people with print disabilities. Talking books are distributed free of charge.

The model

MTM is a central government responsible for production and bibliographic description of talking books, as well as for providing information and advice to libraries in its area of operations. MTM is the leading center for talking books.

MTM’s digital library is a national resource for downloading talking books to libraries holding permits pursuant to Section 17 of the Copyright Act.

The county libraries and regional libraries are responsible for supporting the talking book activities of local libraries in their regions.

The municipal libraries are responsible for library services to persons with print disabilities.

The university and college libraries are responsible for arranging lending to students with print disabilities.

Library responsibility regarding accessibility for persons with print disabilities.

All libraries are responsible for providing service to their borrowers. Borrowers with print disabilities need additional attention from the library to ensure that their needs are met. Most libraries can easily satisfy the basic requirements as to how libraries should act in order to have accessible operations.

  • All personnel at the library must know what talking books are, who they are meant for, and where they can be borrowed.
  • All staff should be able to search for talking books in Legimus
  • All libraries with library accounts in Legimus should have one or more people in the staff who can create acounts for users in Legimus
  • All libraries are required to post information about what talking books are and who they are meant for.
  • The library's website should provide information about talking books and links to MTM's website and Legimus
  • All personnel must know that there are talking book players and reading programs.
  • All libraries should have some form of adapted equipment. This may include a magnifying glass, a scanner, computer with synthesized speech, computer with an enlargement program, and a computer with Braille.


The Swedish talking book model was adopted as part of the 1979 culture policy decision, based on the commission report, Kultur åt alla (Culture for Everyone)(SOU 1976:20).

The Talking Book Commission report, Talböcker - Utgivning och spridning (Talking Books – Publishing and Distribution) (SOU 1982:7) proposed decentralized talking book operations.

The Public Library Commission report, Folkbibliotek i Sverige (Public Libraries in Sweden) (SOU 1984:23) discusses the role of government agencies as central lenders, and the responsibility of local libraries to talking books users. The Commission proposed a government subsidy to the county libraries.

” The application shall be based on an inventory of talking book needs in the various municipalities of the county, and should also include a plan of how the supply of talking books should take place, specifying the responsibility of individual municipalities and county libraries".

MTM’s referral comments on the report Boken i Tiden (The Book Today) (SOU 1997:141) include: "What is unique about the Swedish talking book model is the range of production. No request is too odd. Thanks to the ability to distribute free of charge, the loan can often be sent the same day. The major disadvantage of the Swedish talking book model is that a reader with an impairment is dependent on the library system. Talking books can be borrowed only at the library".

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