Audiobooks and eBooks for students with dyslexia or other print disability

Laptop with Print Disabilities Service Wheelers platform on the screen alongside headphones and other digital devices
Are you working with students with dyslexia or who struggle to read regular print books (called a 'print disability')? The Print Disabilities Service has a wide range of audio resources (audiobooks and eAudio) and eBooks that you can borrow for free.

What is a print disability?

A print disability is a difficulty or inability to read printed material due to a visual, perceptual, or physical disability. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • vision impairment or blindness
  • dyslexia
  • dyspraxia and other learning difficulties
  • Irlen Syndrome
  • certain physical disabilities.

Who can borrow our audio resources

All New Zealand school students who struggle to use a regular book may be eligible to use these resources. School librarians or teachers may borrow physical items on behalf of the qualifying student. To qualify, the student must have a 'print disability'.

The benefits of audio

Our service is free

It's free to borrow audiobooks from us. It's also free to borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks from Wheelers using the Print Disabilities Service platform.

You can request renewals for free.

Lost or badly damaged material may be charged for.

Formats available

Most of our Print Disabilities Collection is in CD format, along with some MP3 CDs, kits (book plus CD), and VOX books (picture books with built-in audio).

eBooks and eAudiobooks are on our Wheelers platform

Number of audiobooks you can borrow

There's no limit to the number of physical items you borrow at a time (but remember you'll need to pay to post them back).

Students may borrow up to 2 items at a time from our Wheelers platform.

Length of issue

Physical items are issued for a school term. You can request renewals for free.

eBooks and eAudiobooks are issued for 2 weeks, then they will expire and automatically return to the library. If you haven't finished with a book at that time, you can immediately reborrow it, as long as it has not been reserved by another library member. You may return eBooks and eAudiobooks early.

Types of titles available

Most of the children and young adult titles are ideal for recreational reading. They include popular fiction from authors such as David Walliams, Margaret Mahy, James Patterson, Garth Nix, Jeff Kinney, Claudia Gray, Bren MacDibble, and Stacy Gregg.

There are titles to suit a range of reading/comprehension ages from preschool through to senior secondary.

How to register

We don't require a medical certificate to confirm a print disability. By registering, you're acknowledging these resources will only be used by students who genuinely struggle to use regular print resources.

Registering is easy:

Ordering titles once you've registered

There are 3 ways to order from our service:

  1. Select your own eAudio and eBooks and download through our Wheelers platform — eAudiobooks have a headphone icon on the cover. Greyed-out titles are currently on loan.
  2. Select your own physical titles from the National Library catalogue — email your list to us: audiobook.request@dia.govt.nz.
  3. Tell us on the registration form to select some physical titles for you each term — describe the type of books your student(s) are interested in (e.g. genres or preferred authors). We'll select and post a new batch of titles to you at the beginning of each term. You can modify your profile at any time throughout the year by emailing audiobook.request@dia.govt.nz.

Suggesting a title for our collection

If the title you want isn't listed in the Print Disabilities Collection, tell us and we'll try and buy it.

Email your suggestion to audiobook.request@dia.govt.nz and we'll let you know if it's something we can add to the Collection.

For eAudio or eBook suggestions on our Wheelers platform, you can 'request a title' that has not yet been purchased for the Print Disabilities Service. You'll receive an email alert to let you know if your request has been successful.

Returning audiobooks to us

We pay the cost of sending audiobooks to you, but your school pays the cost of returning them to us in Wellington. You can use CourierPost special Services to Schools' rates to do this.

Return books using CourierPost special rates

Post to:
Print Disabilities Service
National Library of New Zealand
Dockway 1
Aitken Street
Wellington 6011.

How to cancel your registration

You can cancel at any time.

  • Make sure you've returned all physical audiobooks to the Print Disabilities Service.
  • Email audiobook.request@dia.govt.nz saying you want to cancel. Remember to include your school name.
  • Email audiobook.request@dia.govt.nz if you no longer need access to Wheelers' eBooks and eAudiobooks. We have a limited number of logins so someone else can have access if you no longer want it.

Adults with a print disability

The Print Disabilities Service also lends to adults through participating public libraries.

Print Disabilities Collection has more.

The benefits of audio

The importance of reading is well documented. For those who are unable to read standard print, audiobooks may provide an alternative that works for them.

There are many benefits to using audio.

  • Listening to an audiobook while following along with the text may help a student with dyslexia keep up with the rest of the class and allow them to contribute to discussions.
  • Students with a reading ability below their comprehension level may enjoy more complex stories in audio than they could cope with in print format.
  • For students who struggle to decode text, reading is not usually an enjoyable experience. Listening to an audiobook may remove the barriers and open up the amazing world of stories to them.

One school librarian who regularly uses audiobooks from our Print Disabilities Service says:

I have worked with the Print Disabilities Service for the past few years and this has been a lifeline for some of the boys at the school. We particularly use the service to support the English class texts, as some boys struggle to read, or read fast enough, to get through the novel. It literally has 'opened up the book' for these students and has allowed them to access the novel in a way that works for them.
— Emma Kent, School Librarian, St Bernard's College, Lower Hutt

Any questions?

Do contact us if you have any questions about the resources available for students who struggle to use print. We're always happy to hear from you.