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Talking Book Players

Talking Book Players

A Cassette Machine and an Advanced Digital PlayerA Cassette Machine and an Advanced Digital PlayerThe Andrew Heiskell Library's talking books may only be played on National Library Service issued talking book players, or NLS-compatible players that are available for purchase (see below). The library provides digital and cassette players on indefinite loan, free of charge, as long as patrons borrow talking books or magazines at least once a year. The players may be picked up at the library or sent through the mail. Currently, there are two types of talking books and talking book players: digital and cassette. 

Digital Talking Book players come in two designs: Standard and Advanced. The Advanced model has a few more features than the Standard model and is helpful to those who listen to non-fiction with many chapters and sections, such as a cookbook. 

The National Library Service updates the software used on the digital talking book player on a regular basis. If a recent talking book is played on your player, it will automatically update the software on your digital talking book player. 

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:

Some Third-party players compatible with talking books include:

  • APH Book Port Plus
  • Apple iOS mobile devices (for use with BARD Mobile app)
  • HIMS BookSense
  • HIMS BookSense DS
  • HIMS BookSense XT
  • HIMS Sense Notetaker
  • Victor Reader Stream by Humanware
  • Victor Reader Stratus by Humanware
  • Milestone 212
  • Milestone 312
  • PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1

The Andrew Heiskell Library does not supply third-party players or cartridges. These may be available from: Perkins Products, the American Printing House for the Blind, and other vendors. 

Cassette Playback Machines

NLS cassette talking books are recorded on four-track cassettes and run at a non-commercial speed.

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. 

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.


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