Materials and Equipment

After signing up with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, you will have free access to the following media formats, equipment and accessories. 

Media Formats

Audiobooks (Talking Books)

Audio books

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library houses a varied collection of books and magazines on digital cartridge. A Digital Talking Book Player is needed to play these materials, which is provided free of charge to registered users. Digital books are also all available for download on the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Downloads) website ( To learn more about downloading, visit Download Books.

Braille Books

The braille book collection includes adult and children's books. A special children's collection of books combines print and braille so that blind and sighted readers may share their reading enjoyment.

Braille books are available as ebraille from the BARD website as text files that can be read on a supported device. Supported devices include the NLS Braille eReader, which is provided free of charge to registered users, notetakers with braille displays, notetakers that can speak braille files, a computer with a braille display or a newer version of an adaptive scanning software and other braille reading devices. To learn more about obtaining assistive technology, visit Assistive Technology Resources.

As part of its braille modernization initiative, NLS is launched the Braille-on-Demand pilot project in June 2022. This project allows active WTBBL patrons to request and receive one hard-copy braille title per month, which they can retain for their personal use. 

Braille titles will be limited to books that are currently available on BARD, the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download service. At this time, requests are limited to one book per patron per month. Only complete titles will be distributed. Requests for partial titles (for example, volume one of a three-volume book) will result in receiving the entire book.

The form to request a braille-on-demand book can be found linked from WTBBL patrons may complete the form themselves or contact us at [email protected] or 800-542-0866 for assistance. 

Youth Large Print

A collection of youth large print books are available for registered readers who cannot easily read conventional size print. The majority of our large print books are in 16 pt fonts. Large print books are sent in a cloth bag.


If your equipment is no longer working, including no longer holding a battery charge, please contact the library at 206-615-0400 or 800-542-0866 to receive a replacement.

Standard and Advanced Digital Talking Book Player

  • plays NLS digital talking books.
  • plays Daisy 2.02 digital talking books, which can be found on sites such as Learning Ally.
  • plays AMR-WB+, MP3, and WAV audiofiles.
  • Both players have Power, Rewind, Play/Stop, Fast Forward, Volume (up and down), Tone (up and down), Sleep and Speed (up and down) buttons.
  • The advanced has a second row of controls for setting and retrieving bookmarks and for 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 (6 by 9 by 2 inches and weighs slightly over two pounds).
  • is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord for recharging.
  • includes built-in audio instructions for using the digital player.

NLS Zoomax Braille eReader

  • a refreshable braille display with small pins that move up and down through holes representing a braille cell. Users move fingers across the cells as if they were reading braille on paper.
  • reads NLS braille books.
  • reads BRFs, DAISY, Word, HTML, and PDF files.
  • connects to a computer or smartphone so information on the screen will be displayed on the braille display.
  • connects directly to NFB Newsline.
  • connects to Wi-Fi to download braille files directly from BARD.
  • has Bluetooth capability.
  • has 20 braille cells and a Perkins-style keyboard.
  • can display files in both uncontracted and contracted braille.
  • 16BG of internal memory, with the ability to use an SD card and USB drive for additional storage.
  • is portable (8 by 5 by 1.5 inches and weighs under 2 pounds).
  • is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord for recharging.
  • to learn how to use NLS eReader check out the Zoomax User Guide (docx) or watch the NLS Zoomax How-To Series YouTube playlist.

Special Accessories

Please contact the library to request one of the following accessories for your Digital Talking Book Player


  • is for individuals with a significant hearing loss.
  • requires a separate application with medical certification; the sound is boosted to a level that can cause permanent hearing loss to persons with normal hearing. Please contact your cooperating library about the application procedure for obtaining this accessory.

Breath Switch

  • controls the Play/Stop function of the digital player. These are the only functions that this accessory controls.
  • is intended for eligible patrons who are confined to a bed or have little or no dexterity.
  • requires a separate application. Please contact WTBBL if you are interested in using this accessory.
  • is used in conjunction with a usb adaptor, which is also provided when shipped.


  • are issued only to readers who require them for reading talking books where speakers are not permitted, as in nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

USB Adapter

  • is used in conjunction with a USB flash drive to listen to downloaded books.
  • will allow USB flash drive to lay flush with side of player.