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Talking Book and Braille Service

Playback Equipment for Talking Book Users

Talking book recordings require special playback equipment, which is available on free loan from our library. Accessories for these machines are also available. If you have questions about playback equipment and accessories, contact us.

To retain a Library of Congress player and accessories, an individual or facility must borrow at least one audiobook or audio-magazine from us each year.

Digital Cartridge Player

  • Plays flash memory cartridges. A single cartridge holds an entire book.
  • Is portable-smaller, lighter, and with better sound quality than the Library of Congress cassette players.
  • Is equipped with a rechargeable battery and an electrical cord.
  • Designed for convenience and ease of use. No need to turn cartridges over or change side-selector switches.
  • Offered in standard or advanced models.
  • Advanced model allows readers to jump to selected parts of a book or magazine.
  • Digital players can be used with headphones and adaptors.

Special Accessories for Playback Machines


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


  • For persons with a significant hearing loss; the sound is boosted to a level that can cause permanent hearing loss to persons with normal hearing.
  • Requires a separate application with medical certification. Contact us for more information.

Breath Switch

  • For persons with little or no use of their extremities.
  • Is used to control the Play/Stop function of the NLS digital players (advanced and standard); this unit controls no other functions.
  • Requires a separate application. Contact us for more information.

Pillow Speaker

  • For persons who are confined to bed.
  • May be used with any playback machine.
  • Is placed under the reader's pillow and is normally heard only by the reader.