Getting Started

How we decide what books to send you:

When you sign up with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) we will create a profile of preferences that we will use to select books for you. Alternatively, you can select your own books and contact us using a number of methods that are listed in the How to order more books section below. All materials are sent in the mail using the Free Matter for the Blind designation. Mail will leave WTBBL on Monday - Friday in the afternoon for distribution around the state.

A digital cartridge of the Talking Book Topics catalog will be sent out every other month to all patrons that request it. This catalog will list the newest titles that have been released during a given two month period. Using the book numbers listed in the catalog, you can develop a request list of titles that we will send you. Talking Book Topics is also available on the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) website: Online Talking Book Topics.

How to Return Books:

When you have completed listening to your books, instead of turning over the mailing card to return the cartridge, just remove it, as the library's address is printed on the container.

Large print titles will go into a blue canvas bag, braille books are shipped in large plastic or paper boxes, and digital cartridges are shipped in thin blue, gray and clear plastic containers with snap closures. Magazines, which are shipped in burgundy plastic containers, are shipped back in the same manner, but to a distribution center. To learn more about available magazines, please visit our magazines page.

How do I order more books:

By Telephone

Call the library at one of the two main phone numbers: 206-615-0400 or 800-542-0866 (toll-free in Washington) with a request list, title or author searches and reference questions. Phone lines are open Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. Calling the library by phone is the quickest way to make changes to your patron account, including adding new books to your request list.

During times when the Library is not open, patrons are welcome to use the Library's telephone voicemail system and leave book requests or other messages which will be attended to the next business day.

Using our Online Catalogs

All WTBBL patrons (individual and institutions) have an account in our Online Catalog. In the online catalog, patrons can request books, view checked out books, view preference lists and view the patron's record. To login to place a request, patrons will login with their Patron ID and Password in the Patron Information area. If you have not received this information, please call or email the library.

Online Catalog Tips

All books put into your Book Basket will go to your request list. If you would like a book to be sent on the next business day, put a check mark in the Rush box before checking out. Every book in WTBBL's system has an ID, called the KLAS ID. The first 2-3 letters tell you the format for the book. When searching, you can limit the format by selecting changing the "Media" in the Limit By search area.
Legend for formats:

  • DB = Digital Audiobook
  • DBF and DBG = Digital Audiobook in non-English language
  • BR = Braille Book
  • DBW = Digital Audiobook Washington, locally produced digital books
  • BRW = Braille Book Washington, locally produced braille book
  • LP = Large Print Book

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS)

NLS is WTBBL's parent organization and has an online catalog that lists books available in Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped around the country. This includes locally produced books, many of which WTBBL is able to interlibrary loan from other Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Patrons can search this catalog at NLS Online Catalog, but should contact WTBBL to request the book.

By Email

Contact WTBBL with book requests, patron record changes and other questions via our main email address: [email protected].
Everything mentioned in the phone request section above can also be accomplished by email. If you will need an item shipped immediately, please make a note within your email.

By Mail

Patrons are welcome to mail in written requests to WTBBL at our mailing address:
2021 9th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

A written book request or other message sent with books being returned is not the preferred method, rather mail in your question or request in an envelope addressed to WTBBL. Postage is not necessary when WTBBL patrons mail envelopes and boxes to WTBBL. Write "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND" where stamps would normally be placed.