The Library of Congress Talking Books provides recorded cassettes and players free of charge to the elderly, homebound and those with special needs, particularly the blind, visually impaired and reading disabled. James Pohlman's more than 600 hours of service repairing tapes and machines, narrating and shelving books have enhanced services to approximately 2,000 individuals.
The books on tape are circulated by mail, the incoming and outgoing mail averaging 400 boxes of recorded books per day. As part of the check-in process, each talking book is checked for defects. Needless to say, each day's mail brings some broken, twisted, missing or defective tapes. Before Pohlman assumed responsibility, there was a backlog of defective tapes due to lack of staff available to perform such tasks. Pohlman imposed some order on the process, which enables staff to keep popular titles in circulation.
After getting the defective tape problem under control, Pohlman found that he had time to become involved in the repair of these cassette players. The talking books are played on cassette players issued by the Library of Congress, which are then loaned to patrons. When a problem arises with a cassette player, the patron returns it to the library. Damaged players must consistently be repaired and reissued, which is a major part of Pohlman's responsibilities.
Pohlman also narrates a newsletter published four times a year by the Access Services Department. This publication is made available in large print, Braille and cassette for blind patrons. Pohlman assists with the duplication of these tapes. In these and many other ways, James Pohlman shows his dedication to the Library of Congress and the services that it provides to disabled library patrons.