Teachers' Resources

Welcome Teachers!

BTBL permits schools with qualifying students to have an institutional account with our service. Through this account, teachers are able to order digital talking book players and audio and braille books for their students, and/or sign up for access to BARD to download audio and braille files directly to a compatible device.

Teachers may wonder why they should get a BTBL account. In short, your students with visual and/or physical impairments need it! Our collection is similar to a public library, offering recreational reading materials on a large variety of topics. Although we do not offer traditional textbooks, we do have many of the other titles used in school settings. Best of all, our books are all human narrated, so it is a better reading experience when compared to other services that offer synthesized speech narration (such as Bookshare). Lastly, BTBL offers free, lifetime membership—students using the service today will be able to continue service as long as they want! To review the similarities and differences between book services available to students, see the attached book services comparison chart of NLS (BTBL), Bookshare, and Learning Ally.

Already have a school account?

Please fill out the 2016-2017 School Recertification paperwork by October 1st, 2016. The National Library Service of the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, requires every school recertify at the beginning of the new school year. This enables BTBL to verify that the schools are utilizing the service with qualifying students.

Tips and Tools

  1. Book Selections: BTBL has thousands of children's books for all ages and interests in both audio and braille formats. There are multiple ways to search for books on your own, including:

 Search NLS Catalog (Voyager): Search for books to order from all National Library Service (NLS) libraries. Call or email BTBL with these requests, either to be sent immediately or to be added to the school request list for the future. Use this step by step guide on how to search for books by grade level and author or subject in voyager.

Search BARD: Free downloads of Audio and Braille books. Only available for use by BARD members. Download the books yourself, or add them to your wish list for the future.

Talking Book Topics /Braille Book Review: Bi-monthly catalogs from NLS that list the most recent audio and braille books. A separate section titled "Books for Children" lists the books that have recently been added to the collection for this population.  Schools are automatically sent a large print copy of the bi-monthly Talking Book Topics to browse, but you can also view past copies online by clicking on the above links. Call or email BTBL with these requests.

Here are a few booklists that include book numbers to help you select popular titles (db- digital book, br- braille book):

  1. Equipment: Digital Talking Book Player Button Reference Sheet - become a pro with both the standard and advanced players. All digital talking book machines should be returned once there are no longer qualifying students and the school account is deactivated. Schools are allowed to keep the machines over the summer months, although books should be returned within the normal check-out period of 4 weeks. Books and equipment checked out under the school account are the responsibility of the school, and should not be loaned out to students to take home. Students should have individual accounts set up so materials can be sent directly to their home to avoid transferring machines and books back and forth from school.
  2. BARD Mobile: Want to learn more about going mobile? View the  'How-To Series' videos created by NLS on YouTube. Or go to BTBL's BARD webpage to get step-by-step instructions on how to sign up. Teachers can have access to BARD through the school account. Students that wish to download books from BARD should sign up under their own individual account. You should not share a BARD account with students.
  3. Personalized Trainings: Email BTBL at btbl@michigan.gov to request personalized training for yourself, staff, or students. BTBL staff offer customizable trainings to fit your needs for groups of all sizes. Learn more about downloading books from BARD, searching our catalog, using assistive technologies, and more. Help is just an email away! Please feel free to contact us today.
  4. Contact the Youth and Outreach Librarian: School accounts are handled by Stephanie Wambaugh. Please feel free to contact her directly at wambaughs@michigan.gov or 517-373-5357.