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Talking Book Tools


Getting Started With NLS Talking Books

 One of the first steps to learning more about Access Technology may be the National Library Services (NLS) Talking Books program. Many people are unaware that the NLS offers a digital Talking Book player to anyone with a disability negatively impacting access to print. The player is available at no cost, and the books are sent through the postal service postage paid, so there is no charge for the books. The Talking Book Player is an easy-to-use device, with some great features, that make it a perfect tool for learning more about access technology, or just a simple way to get back to reading.

If you’re already familiar with the NLS Talking Book Player and thought it was limited to just reading audio library books, take a second look! Magazines, mp3 audio files, and podcasts may also be played on the Talking Book player, making it a very versatile learning tool. Users may download books and magazines directly from the Library of Congress website (see below), or a wide variety of other content websites, install the files onto a flash drive or blank Talking Book cartridge and listen to them on the player. If you are not a computer user or familiar with downloading files, ask a family-member, librarian, or other volunteer for assistance. Once you have the audio files on the flash drive or cartridge, you play them just as easily as any other Talking Books.

Resources to Get Started:

To become a patron and get the Talking Book Player, download an application for the NLS Talking Book Program from:

To review or print out NLS Talking Book Player training materials, go to:

The National Library of Congress also hosts BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download), which is part of the National Library ServiceTalking Book service. BARD will provide access to the National Library of Congress Talking Book Library online, so patrons don’t need to wait for their books to arrive via postal mail. To complete an online application go to

BARD Talk on the Web Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) covers many questions related to downloading files to flash drives and NLS Talking Book cartridges.

For a list of retailers selling the blank NLS Cartridges and USB cable for transferring files, check out Remember, the USB cable for these cartridges is not a standard USB cable!

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