Harold Washington Library Center
Talking Book Center
Books in Accessible Formats
Registered patrons have access to a national collection of approximately 80,000 titles in audio or Braille formats. Each year the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped adds approximately 2,500 books to its audio and Braille collections. TBC’s collection consists of popular fiction and nonfiction—general informational and recreational materials for all ages and tastes, similar to that found in any public library. Available genres include bestsellers, classics, poetry, westerns, travel, history, biography, romance novels, mysteries, religious literature, cookbooks, historical novels, science, philosophy, short stories, humor, politics, adventure, current events, plays, historical fiction, sports, children’s and young adult books, foreign language material and much more.
All NLS audiobooks are recorded in professional recording studios by experienced professional narrators who are often professional actors as well.
Braille for Adult Readers
The local collection of Braille books serves children and young adults. For Braille service for adults, TBC has contracted with the Utah State Library Division for the Blind and Disabled to provide Braille library service. Contact TBC for more information on receiving Braille service for adults.
NLS BARD is a free service from the National Library Service for the Blind for registered TBC patrons that offers instant access to downloadable digital audiobooks via the Internet.
Foreign Language Materials
TBC’s collection includes books and magazines in Spanish. In addition, a selection of audiobook materials in more than 60 different languages, including Polish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Hindi and Urdu are available through interlibrary loan from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
More than 100 popular magazines subscriptions in recorded, Braille and digital formats are available through TBC. Available titles include: Bon Appetit, Consumer Reports, Ebony, Good Housekeeping, Money, National Geographic, New York Times Large Type Weekly, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Sports Illustrated, Time and many more.
Descriptive videos are enhanced with narration, which describes actions, settings, gestures and other key visual elements. TBC’s selection includes titles such as NOVA, The American Experience and Eyes on the Prize as well as blockbuster movies. Descriptive videos require the use of a VCR.
Old-Time Radio Shows
Classic 1930s to 1940s radio plays, dramas and variety shows are available for free loan to registered patrons.
A playaway is a self-contained digital audiobook and audiobook player that is simple to use. Merely plug in the earbuds, press play and listen.
The Web-Braille service provides, in an electronic format, many Braille books, music scores and magazines produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Web-Braille website is password-protected, and all files are in an electronic form of contracted Braille, requiring the use of special equipment for access. Web-Braille registration requires email access and must go through TBC.
Music Scores and Instructions
Music scores and instructional materials in Braille and audio format are available to registered patrons from NLS. Please note, this collection, which excludes musical performances, is intended for musical instruction and musicians. It is composed primarily of Braille and large-print scores, texts and instructional recordings about music and musicians on cassette.
Additional Service Information
- The loan period for a talking book is six weeks; however, there are no late fees.
- Talking books may be ordered by mail, phone, email or through the online catalog.
- Talking books may be sent to patrons according to personal preference, including daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly.
Machines and Accessories
The audiobooks and magazines are recorded at slower than conventional speeds requiring special playback equipment. TBC loans audio players for as long as the patron is registered for service and repairs them as needed free of charge. Assistive devices are available for use with audio players such as headphones and extension levers, which facilitate the use of the switches on the audio players. An amplified headphone system is also available.