Skip to main content
Labor and Economic Opportunity

Digital Machines and Equipment

The Braille and Talking Book Library provides talking books and talking book playback equipment through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. Talking books and machines are shipped as "Free Matter for the Blind" at no cost to our patrons.

Digital Talking Book Machines 

Digital Talking Book Machines, also known as digital players, are available in standard and advanced models. Both machines have basic operations, such as Play/Stop and rewind/fast forward. Both machines also have an USB port on the side near the headphone jack for a flash drive, which enables patrons to play books downloaded from BARD. The advanced player (shown below) has enhancements that, among other benefits, allows the reader to set bookmarks for reference purposes. View this button reference sheet for information on each feature of the player.  For additional information, or to request a digital player, please contact us at 517-373-5614, or toll free 800-992-9012. 

Advanced digital player shown with 2 digital book cases and 1 digital book.

Digital Books 

Digital books (DB's) are contained on a cartridge similar in size to an audiocassette. The cartridge can only be inserted into the player in one direction which makes insertion and extraction easier. Each digital book is contained on one cartridge. The loan period for each book is four weeks from the date of shipment, but patrons can request renewals by calling the library.


Headphones and headphone adaptors, as well as USB adaptors, are also available for loan. If you prefer to purchase a pair, we encourage you to take your machine with you to ensure proper fit and the correct adaptor (if needed). Digital cartridge cables are also available. This cable is an accessory that enables patrons to download books directly from a personal computer to their own, individually purchased cartridge. NLS also provides Amplifier Headphones for patrons with severe hearing loss, and Breath Switch remote controls to patrons with severe handicap. To obtain an application for these materials, please contact us at 800-992-9012.


Talking Book Machines remain the property of the Federal Government and are loaned only to eligible, active library patrons. Machines may not be:

  • Loaned to other individuals
  • Sold or traded
  • Thrown away or dismantled

Defective machines may be returned to us by reinserting them into the original packaging, affixing the postage-free label contained in the box, and taping the box shut. Please enclose a note detailing the nature of the malfunction, if known. To order a replacement, please contact the Braille and Talking Book Library at 800-992-9012. Please do not repair equipment yourself or take equipment to a local repair shop.