Surrey Libraries are launching an exciting and innovative new tool for visually impaired people. Manufactured by Mantra Lingua, the ‘PENfriend’ will be available in every library in the network and will enable users with a visual impairment to listen to a brief synopsis of an audio book to help them make an informed selection.

Horsley Library reader Lyn is absolutely captivated by the new device and is always using it when she goes to the library.

“I’m delighted to borrow talking books and especially now the library owns a PENfriend,”

The device works by reading the coded label on each audio book to play back the author, title, narrator and book synopsis. Every audio book in the library has been added to the PENfriend, allowing borrowers to make their selection independently.

Equally delighted is Mary from Woking Library who is making use of the PENfriend as well.

“I can now go into my local library and choose my own audio books and those for my granddaughter without having to ask for assistance. A big thank you to all those who provided this wonderful service.”

The PENfriend is available to any library user on request. Surrey’s libraries have over 9,000 audio books available to borrow so why not take advantage of their request service that operates across the county?

For all enquiries please phone Surrey County Council libraries on 01483 543599 or text (07968 832414) or email Details can be found on the website at

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