Talking Book and Braille Service FAQ

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Where do I send my application?

Applications can be mailed to this address:
Talking Book and Braille Service
The Atrium, 1200 N St, Ste 120
Lincoln, NE 68508

Applications can also be emailed to or faxed to 1-402-471-6244.

What happens after I send in my application?

When your application reaches the library, we will give you a call to give you more information about the player, our collection, and how the service works overall. The application will get you thinking about the general types of books we have, but if you have anything specific you are looking for, feel free to ask when we call.

How do I request books?

You can request books over the phone, by mail, email, or through our online catalog. The online catalog requires a login and password, please contact TBBS if you would like access to the catalog. If you prefer, we have large print or audio catalogs called Talking Book Topics that go out every other month. All of the books in the library are associated with a catalog number which starts with DB or DBC. Talking Book Topics catalog comes with a paper order book. Check the box next to the book numbers you want, then mail it in.

How do I return books?

Books will arrive in hard, plastic cases. On the outside of this case there will be a white slip of paper mailcard inside a clear, plastic envelope. Remove this mailcard to return the book, as a return-address-label sticker is affixed to the case underneath the mailcard. There is a stamp in the upper right hand corner of the sticker that says “Free Matter f/t Blind”. This means that postage is free for you to send back and forth. Just put the case in the mail and you are good to go!

How do I get more books?

When we call to set up your library account, we will ask if you would like us to pick out books for you or if you would like to pick out your own books. You can also do a combination of both. If you choose to have us pick out books for you, we will ask for your favorite authors or which types of books you like to read. Based on those answers, we will select books we think you will like. With this option, you will receive books automatically. For example, if you mail back two books, we will mail out two books when we get them checked back in at the library. This way you will always have something to read!

If you choose to pick out your own books, you can select books from the Talking Book Topics Catalog, the online catalog, or just ask about titles or authors you like. You can request books over the phone, email, mail, or online. Ask us about a user id and password for the online catalog. When you elect to choose your own books, we will not send out any new books until you ask for them.

You can also go the route of having us choose books for you and also choosing some of your own books when you come across them. Whatever you choose, you can always change your mind at any time and we will adjust the way you get books.

How does the online catalog work?

You need a login and password to use the searchable online catalog. Logging in enables you to request books for your specific account. If you are already signed up with TBBS, ask us for your login information. Then you will be able to search our catalog by author, title or subject.

How do books get to me?

All of our books run through the United States Postal Service (USPS). They are delivered to the address you provide on your application, so you will not have to worry about picking them up anywhere. All books are stamped “Free Matter for the Blind” so postage is free to send books, catalogs, machines, and other library materials back and forth.

How do I play books?

When we call to set up your account, we will mail out a Talking Book Player. This player is about the size of a hardcover book and runs on a rechargeable battery. Each button on the player will verbally say what it is when you press it, so player navigation is pretty easy. There is also a place to plug in headphones. You can also listen to audio books downloaded from BARD with the USB port on the right side of the player. There will be large print instructions included with the player.

How do I access all the books on the multiple-book cartridge?

Many of our cartridges will have multiple books uploaded on them. The audio instructions should say how many books are on the cartridge when it is inserted into the player after it is turned on. To access the books, you can follow the instructions given in the audio statement at the beginning of the cartridge and use the bookshelf feature; or you can use the sequential-play feature:
  1. To use the bookshelf feature, you press and hold down the rectangular green play button at the top lower edge of your player. Let go when the voice announcement says "bookshelf". Then use the fast-forward and rewind arrow-shaped keys on either side of the play button to move between titles. When the title of the book that you would like to listen to is announced, press the play button again to listen to that book.
  2. To use the sequential-play feature, you must wait until the audio instructions at the beginning of the cartridge have concluded and the player tells you "End of Book". Then press the play button to continue on to the first title. Repeat to listen to all of the books on the cartridge.

What are audio magazines?

We have some magazines in audio and some in Braille. The audio magazines are recorded on the same cartridges as a regular talking book and can be played in the talking book player. Current issues are available for the player. Both current and back issues are available through BARD for download. You must have a BARD account to gain access to back issues. See what audio magazines subscriptions we have available here. To request them, you can request them directly from the online order form, call, email, or send us a note in the mail.

It says I have multiple magazine issues on this cartridge but it only plays one. How do I get the rest of them to play?

When it says you have multiple books or multiple magazine issues, you can access them by using the bookshelf feature of the talking book player. To access bookshelf, press and hold the green play/stop button for about five seconds until it beeps. The player will say "bookshelf" tell you the number of magazines available on the cartridge. You can then use the fast forward and rewind to navigate between the available magazines on the cartridge. When you hear the title of the magazine you want, press play again to play the magazine.

What do I do if my player has stopped working?

If your player stops working or has battery issues, please Contact TBBS and we will send out a new player. When you receive the new player in the mail, please send us back your old one. The machine the box comes in will have a white slip of paper in a clear, plastic envelope on the outside of the box. You can flip this piece of paper over and use it as a return address label. Shipping is free to send the machine back and forth. We do not charge for replacement players.

What do I do if I returned a case without the book cartridge?

No worries, it happens all the time! You can just tuck the cartridge in the same case with the next book you return. You might have to rotate a few times to get both books to fit, but they do both fit in there. We will match up the right book to the right case when we get it back at the library.

What is BARD?

BARD stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download. You can download and listen to books on a smartphone or tablet with the BARD mobile app. If you want to listen with your talking book player, you can download books onto a flash drive or an empty book cartridge and plug that into your player. To use BARD you will need a computer with high-speed internet access, an email address, and enough computer savvy to be able to browse the web and download. BARD runs through the Library of Congress, National Library Service. Check out our BARD instructions webpage for more detailed information about BARD.

How do I get access to BARD?

Fill out the short application for BARD here: We allow both facilities and individuals to apply for BARD accounts, so choose the appropriate application on the first screen. Hitting submit on the final screen of the application will send an email to the readers’ advisors here in Nebraska. We will double check to make sure you are already signed up for regular Talking Book service. If you are, we will approve your application and you will receive login information at the email address you provided.

Where is the library located?

We are located in downtown Lincoln in the Atrium Building. TBBS is a department within the Nebraska Library Commission. When you walk through the Library Commission doors, the TBBS desk is on your left. Here is our address:

Talking Book and Braille Service
1200 N Street, Suite 120
Lincoln, NE 68505

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