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NEWSLINE is an electronic system that allows users to listen to newspapers and magazines through synthetic voice output via any touch-tone telephone. It is free of charge to registered users and is accessed by calling either a local or toll-free telephone number. Funding for the service is provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library.

Developed by the National Federation of the Blind, this revolutionary, totally electronic system receives digital transmissions from newspaper and magazine publishers on the day of publication, reformats the data for conversion to synthetic speech, and uploads the information to a computer system.

By calling in on a local or toll-free number, a user can then choose magazine articles, or that day's issue, the previous day's issue or the previous Sunday issue of any newspaper in the service. The user can easily select which newspaper, section, and article to read using a standard touch-tone telephone. The menu provided allows the user to change the speed and voice quality, spell out words, or search for a particular word or subject.

Several Massachusetts newspapers are included as a part of the program including the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and the Springfield Republican. Other national newspapers available through the service include USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and many more. The Toronto Globe and Mail is available for international coverage. Magazines currently available from NEWSLINE are the Economist and the New Yorker.

Who can Benefit?

Any Massachusetts resident who cannot read conventional newsprint is eligible for this free service. Many elders have lost enough vision that reading the daily newspaper is no longer possible. They will enjoy being able once again to participate actively in community affairs. Blind or visually impaired children are now able to research their own school assignments and do their homework independently. This valuable service makes so much information available to eligible users twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.


With only a touch-tone telephone, any registered user can access the NEWSLINE service. No computer is needed and no special training is required. After entering an ID number and security code, the system prompts new callers to make their selections. Users press 3 for Massachusetts Newspapers, 5 for All Newspapers, 6 for Former Location (which picks up reading where you left off), or 7 for Magazines.

Once in the paper, listeners can select the section of the newspaper they wish to hear: sports, news, business section, and more. Pressing a single key on the telephone keypad will quickly move listeners from one article to the next, skip ahead in the article, return to a previous article, change the speaking speed, change the reading voice, or spell out words. They keystrokes are few and easy to remember.

How to Sign Up

To get started using NEWSLINE, please contact the Perkins Braille & Talking Book Library by phone at 617-972-7240 or 1-800-852-3133 or via e-mail at You will be provided with an access number and security code for your account and a user's guide will also be provided in either large print, braille, on tape or on computer disk to assist you in effectively using the service. The Perkins Library is pleased to be able to offer NEWSLINE and hopes that it will become an important information resource in your daily life.

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