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Talking Book Players
Talking Book Players
The library's special format audio books, known as talking books, must be played on NLS or NLS-compatible machines. The library provides, free of charge, digital and cassette playback machines on indefinite loan for as long as patrons borrow talking books or magazines, at a minimum of one per year. The machines may be picked up at the library or sent through the mail. Currently, there are two types of talking books: digital and cassette.
Digital Talking Book Machines
Digital Talking Book Machines come in two designs: Standard (DS1) and Advanced (DA1). The Advanced model has a few more features than the Standard model and is designed for people who listen to non-fiction which requires use of the index features.
- Operating Instructions for the Standard Digital Machine. (Listen to an MP3 file of the instructions)
- Operating Instructions for the Advanced Digital Machine. (Listen to an MP3 file of the instructions)
The National Library Service often updates the software used by the machines the library provides, especially the features required to download books from BARD, explained in the next section.
To learn which version of the software your player is using and to obtain your player’s serial number, press the SLEEP button (crescent-shaped button) ten times. The player will keep repeating the numbers until the PLAY button (green rectangular button) is pressed.
You can check for the latest version of the software and download it if needed by following the instructions at:
- Upgrade Digital Machine Software (National Library Service)
Download NLS Digital Talking Books
Digital books are also available for downloading from the National Library Service's BARD site: http://nlsbard.loc.gov. To register, follow the instructions on the site. Once accepted, you'll be emailed login information and will be able to download books and magazines from the BARD site to a computer, then copy the files onto blank flash or thumb drives or onto blank USB cartridges for playing on the Digital Book Machine.
- BARD FAQs
- Instructions for BARD Using a PC
- Instructions for Transferring BARD Books to Cartridge Using a Screen Reader
- Instructions for BARD Using a Mac
Smaller digital player that will play National Library Service downloadable files are available for purchase: The VictorReader Stream. And a compatible device that will play NLS digital book cartridges: The VictorReader Stream Library Edition. Both are from HumanWare, as are the compatible BrailleNote Apex and VoiceNote Apex devices. Other players include: Book Port Plus and Braille Plus Mobile Manager, both from APH (Product Catalog); HIMS BookSense and BookSense DS; Milestone 212 and Milestone 312 (see list of vendors in the US); and PLEXTALK.
To add a purchased player to your BARD account, you'll need to log in to BARD, go to Update Account Settings, choose the Add a Purchased Player link, then choose the player from the dropdown menu. You'll get an email from the library acknowledging your request and another email from the manufacturer of the player with a link. Connect your player to your computer, then click the link to get the file with the security key for the player. Save the file to the main directory of your player, then disconnect it from the computer. If you have any difficulties with a purchased player, you will have to contact the vendor directly. The library provides support for its own players only.
Magazines produced by NLS are available in BARD. Newsweek and Reader's Digest are available online for registered NLS patrons. Download them at the American Printing House website.
Cassette Playback Machines
NLS talking books are recorded on four-track cassettes and run at a non-commercial speed.
- Operating Instructions for the Standard Cassette Book Machine (text and MP3 audio)
In addition, NLS-compatible cassette players are available for purchase. For more information, read the NLS Factsheet: Sources for Purchase of Cassette Players and Player-Recorders Compatible with Recorded Materials Produced by the National Library Service (NLS).
Other Assistive Technology at the Andrew Heiskell Library
Kurzweil Computers: The library has computers equipped with Kurzweil Reading software for public use. These devices scan text and convert it into synthetic speech. To make an appointment to use this equipment or to learn more about it, please call the library at (212) 206-5400.
Adaptive Computer Technology: The library has computers equipped with JAWS screen reader, MAGic screen enlarging software, Duxbury braille translation software, braille printers, and refreshable braille displays. To make an appointment to use this equipment or to learn more about it, please call the library at 212-206-5400. JAWS requires typing abilty; MAGic requires users to be able to type and to use a computer mouse.
Computer Workshops: Ongoing classes are currently being offered in English for Basic Computer Skills, downloading books from BARD, JAWS screen reader, MAGic screen enlarging software, and the Kurzweil computers. You must be able to type to take these classes. To learn MAGic, you must be able to use a computer mouse. Training is also available in the use of Web-Braille and PAWS, the library’s online catalog.
If you are interested in any of these sessions, please call the library at 212-206-5400 to make an appointment.
CCTVs (Closed Circuit Television): These devices can enlarge text up to sixty times and can be adjusted for brightness, contrast, reverse image, and color scheme.
Other Equipment: The library has handheld magnifiers, braille writers, and braille and large print keyboards, screen readers, and screen magnification software to be used with the public internet computers. In addition, there is a sound amplification system to assist the hearing impaired who wish to enjoy our public programs.
To find out what's available at other New York Public Library branches, check Services for Persons with Disabilities.