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Talking Books

Background
Recorded materials loaned free (by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress), are available on digital talking-book cartridges and audiocassettes. Both digital and cassette recordings require specially designed playback equipment that is loaned free to eligible individuals and institutions.

Every patron is allowed to have one Cassette Book Machine (cassette player) and one Digital book machine (either Standard or Advanced).

The Talking Books and Braille Library is currently transitioning from cassette books and cassette players to digital cartridges and digital players, a process that will take several years to complete. There is a waiting list for Digital Players. Please contact your reader advisor to get your name put on the waiting list. The Library asks that you hold onto your cassette player even if you receive the new digital player since a large portion of the collection remains on cassette tape.

Your playback equipment comes with both recorded, large print, and Braille instructions. If you have questions regarding the instructions, call your reader advisor. Please keep the box in which your machine arrived. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE BOX OR THE RETURN CARD THAT IS ATTACHED. You may need to return your machine at some point if it breaks.

Recorded books from TBBL will only play on the equipment provided. Our cassette books and digital cartridges are recorded at special speeds. For example, the unique four-track format of our cassette tapes allows us to put more material on each tape, reducing the number of tapes needed to record a book. This special format also protects the copyright.

The Playback Equipment

Digital Standard Player
• Plays NLS digital talking books;
• Has eight controls;
• Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
• Is portable;
• Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
• Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital machine.

Digital Advanced Player
• Plays NLS digital talking books;
• Has thirteen controls, including a row of controls for setting and retrieving bookmarks and navigating through the structured levels of a book;
• Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
• Is portable;
• Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
• Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital player.

Cassette Book Machine
• Plays 2-track and 4-track audiocassettes at 15/16 ips and 1-7/8 ips;
• Has ten controls;
• Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed;
• Is portable;
• Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord;
• Includes separate instructions for using the cassette machine: instructions for using the cassette book machine.

For additional information about playback machines, their use, maintenance or repair contact the Head of the Machine and Materials Unit at (225) 342-4945 or toll free at (800) 543-4702.

Special Accessories for Cassette Players
Special accessories for cassette players are available. Some accessories require a separate application form. Currently there are special accessories for the digital talking book players in development by NLS. Please contact SBPH if you are interested in receiving any of the following special accessories:   

• Amplifier (only for profoundly hearing-impaired individuals);
• Breath Switch (only for individuals confined to bed);
• Extension Levers (for individuals who have limited use of their hands);
• Headphones (for individuals in institutional settings);
• Pillow Speaker (only for individuals confined to bed);
• Remote Control Unit (only for individuals confined to bed);
• Solar Panel Battery Charger (is for readers who do not have access to electricity); or
• Accessories are on loan to you for as long as you are using the program

Additional Information:
Bookshelf
Braille and Audio Reading Download (Bard)
Computer Expertise
Digital Talking Books
NLS Type Digital Cartridge
Returning Your Machine
Standard USB Flash Drives



Playback Equipment

Digital Standard Player

  • Plays NLS digital talking books;
  • Has eight controls;
  • Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
  • Is portable;
  • Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
  • Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital machine.

Digital Advanced Player

  • Plays NLS digital talking books;
  • Has thirteen controls, including a row of controls for setting and retrieving bookmarks and navigating through the structured levels of a book;
  • Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed without changing the pitch;
  • Is portable;
  • Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
  • Includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital player.

Cassette Book Machine

  • Plays 2-track and 4-track audiocassettes at 15/16 ips and 1-7/8 ips;
  • Has ten controls;
  • Includes a variable speed control that permits speeding up or slowing down playback speed;
  • Is portable;
  • Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord; and
  • Includes separate instructions for using the cassette machine: instructions for using the cassette book machine.

For additional information about playback machines, their use, maintenance or repair contact the Head of the Machine and Materials Unit at (225) 342-4945 or toll free at (800) 543-4702.

Special Accessories for Cassette Players

Special accessories for cassette players are available. Some accessories require a separate application form. Currently there are special accessories for the digital talking book players in development by NLS. Please contact the Talking Books and Braille Library if you are interested in receiving any of the following special accessories:

  • Amplifier (only for profoundly hearing-impaired individuals);
  • Breath Switch (only for individuals confined to bed);
  • Extension Levers (for individuals who have limited use of their hands);
  • Headphones (for individuals in institutional settings);
  • Pillow Speaker (only for individuals confined to bed);
  • Remote Control Unit (only for individuals confined to bed);
  • Solar Panel Battery Charger (is for readers who do not have access to electricity); or
  • Accessories are on loan to you for as long as you are using the program.
 

Background

Recorded materials loaned free (by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress), are available on digital talking book cartridges and audiocassettes. Both digital and cassette recordings require specially designed playback equipment that is loaned free to eligible individuals and institutions.

Every patron is allowed to have one Cassette Book Machine (cassette player) and one Digital Talking Book Machine (either a Standard or an Advanced model).

The Talking Books and Braille Library is currently transitioning from cassette books and cassette players to digital cartridges and digital players, a process that will take several years to complete. Please contact your reader advisor if you would like to borrow a digital talking book player and digital books. The Library asks that you hold onto your cassette player even if you receive the new digital player since a large portion of the collection remains on audiocassette.

All playback equipment comes with recorded, large print, and Braille instructions. If you have questions regarding the instructions, please contact your reader advisor. Please keep the box in which your machine arrived. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE BOX OR THE RETURN CARD THAT IS ATTACHED. You may need to return your machine at some point if it malfunctions.

Recorded books from TBBL will play on the playback equipment loaned out to you. Our cassette books and digital cartridges are recorded at special speeds. For example, the unique four-track format of our cassette tapes allows us to put more material on each tape, reducing the number of tapes needed to record a book. This special format also protects the copyright.

 

Bookshelf

E-mail Print

You can store more than one book on the same storage device (such as a USB flash drive) but if you are using the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped’s Digital Talking Book Machine to play downloads, you must have a software update to use the Bookshelf feature to move between books. You can obtain the latest update at NLS DTBM Firmware if it is not already on your DTBM. With this update, you can access the Bookshelf feature on NLS’s DTBM by pressing and holding the Play/Stop key until it says “Bookshelf,” then using the FF and RW keys to move forward and backward between titles. When you reach the title you want, press “Play.” For commercially bought machines, check your machine’s documentation.

 

Standard USB Flash Drives

E-mail Print

Standard USB flash drives, also called thumb drives or jump drives, are available at most large retail stores or electronics stores. It is most beneficial to buy a smaller USB flash drive size (2-4 GB) without any additional software already pre-loaded onto it. The number of books that will fit onto a flash drive depends on the size of the books being downloaded. A 1GB flash drive will hold 96 hours of audio books. Almost any NLS book will be smaller than 256 MB, so you should be able to fit several titles on a 1GB or 2GB flash drive.

 
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