Please note: The Talking Book Program is closed until further notice, in order to support the overall health and wellness of our communities and for the safety of our patrons and staff.
We are not able to answer phone calls during this time. Staff will be able to answer some emails; however, there may be substantial delays.
Welcome to the Texas Talking Book Program!
NLS has produced three short testimonial videos featuring patrons
of the braille and talking book program.
NLS Braille and Talking Books and Magazines - The freedom to read their way: NLS patrons convey the benefits of the Braille and Talking Book Program (1:50)
NLS BARD and BARD Mobile - Patrons express benefits the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Mobile. (1:55)
NLS Music Materials - Patrons speak about receiving music scores, texts, and other instructional materials and recordings. (2:26)
TBP provides free library services for Texans with blindness or visual, physical, or reading disabilities. Registered TBP users may borrow books and magazines in digital audio, Braille, and large print.
Materials and playback machines are mailed to your door, completely free of charge - you won't even have to pay for postage when you return them. Call or email our TBP reader consultants to apply for service and instructions on how to complete an application and send it in. TBP will call you to set up an account after the application is sent in. Contact us for any questions or comments you may have.
TBP reader consultants are available in our call center to assist you from 8 am - 12 pm and 1 pm - 5 pm Monday - Friday. Call us toll free in Texas at 1-800-252-9605, or 512-463-5458 (Austin area) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax to 512-936-0685.
Our mailing address:
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
Please contact us if you have any questions about our service, any changes to your contact info, any machine issues, if you need to discontinue service, or any other questions related to the TBP program. You can leave a voicemail message after regular business hours and our reader consultants will contact you on the next business day.
The Talking Book Program (TBP) works with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) in Washington, DC, a program administered by the Library of Congress.
Our collection consists of more than 89,000 titles, including bestsellers (fiction and nonfiction), classics, mysteries, westerns, science fiction, children’s books, biographies, books of interest to young readers, and more. Our collection also contains hundreds of titles in Spanish, and some in French, German, Russian, and other languages. NLS provides most items in our collection, but we also provide books by Texas authors, books about Texas, and books in Spanish, recorded by volunteers in our recording studios in Austin and Midland.
TBP also offers more than 70 different magazines, such as Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated, Cooking Light, Ebony, National
Geographic, Guideposts, and Texas Monthly.
Our collection is available on digital cartridge, in Braille, in large print, and in audiobooks from BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download service. Downloaded books can be played on the Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM) and on some commercial devices. Downloaded Braille books are for use with Braille reading devices.
We do not provide textbooks. For information about textbooks in alternative formats, first contact your school. An organization that produces textbooks in alternative formats is Learning Ally National Headquarters (formally RFB&D).
To remain active in our service, you must order one book or magazine per year, download one item from BARD, or be actively using Web Braille. If your service becomes inactive, you must return all materials and playback equipment to the library.
Go to our Find Books page to search the NLS Voyager Catalog here/(Buscar el catalogo NLS Voyager aquí!) , see our Large Print bibliographies for our Large Print collections, reading lists, and more. The most comprehensive catalog of books in our collection may be found on the NLS Voyager link. Go to Talking Book Topics for books on digital cartridge and Braille Book Review for books in Braille (both catalogs available in audio formats as well).
Upon request, annual catalogs can be available in large print and selected other formats. To request a catalog, obtain all catalog options, or if you need assistance selecting books, give our reader consultants a call.
Some catalogs have a prefix code for the book indicating its format. For example: DB (for Digital Book), BR (for Braille), and LB (for Large Print). Please note that not every book is available in every format.
For all book orders, please remember to provide your name and address. There are four different ways to order books:
- By telephone: 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas) or 512-463-5458 (Austin area), 8:00 am to noon and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Voicemail is available after hours and during the noon hour to take your book orders.
- By e-mail: email@example.com
- By mail: Talking Book Program,Texas State Library and Archives Commission, PO Box 12927, Austin TX 78711-2927. Do not return order forms with library books or magazines; this is against postal regulations and may severely delay your order.
- By fax: 512-936-0685
Your Book Requests - Selecting the Books Yourself
Browse through our catalogs or call us to request specific titles, authors, or topics. Ordered books are added to your personal request list. There is no limit to the number of requests on your request list. You should keep plenty of requests on file with us so that your selections are waiting to replace read items as they are returned. Quota of books: You set the number of books sent to you for each active medium (digital cartridge, Braille, etc.) by establishing a quota, which can be raised or lowered at any given time. If you would like to have 12 books checked out to you at any given time, then your book quantity would be set at 12. Your quota includes all books in transit as well as those in your possession. Please note: your quota cannot be raised if you have overdue books.
Books Selected for You
Books can be selected for you, based on your reading interests, through our automatic selection program. For example, if you enjoy westerns, you can determine the number of westerns you would like to have on loan, and each time you return a western, the automatic selection program will select another one for you in order to keep books circulating continuously. A wide range of subjects is available to you through automatic selection. Remember, for assistance, please call TBP during regular business hours at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas) or 512-463-5458 (Austin area). Help us help you receive the number and kinds of books you like to read.
Need Help Deciding What to Read? TBP’s Reader’s Advisory Service is available to you. Our Reader’s Advisory Librarians work with readers to help you find the books you want to read, and to fine tune your automatic selection profile to help ensure that your books are satisfactory. They can even help you venture out into new reading directions based on your current and past interests, preferences, and reading style.
See the TBP Loan Policies page for complete information. Contact us from 8 am - 12 pm and 1 pm - 5 pm Monday - Friday with any loan policy questions. Call us toll free in Texas at 1-800-252-9605, or 512-463-5458 (Austin area) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax to 512-936-0685.
Our digital talking books can be read only on the DTBMs on loan to you, and on selected players commercial players with special software from NLS. Equipment must be returned if you become ineligible or no longer use our service. TBP may also recall equipment for repair, maintenance, audit, inactivity, or other reasons. Please save the original box in which your equipment was sent to you as we cannot send replacement boxes.
Do not lend, sell, or give playback equipment or accessories to other persons. This playback equipment is Federal property, and maintained by the State of Texas. Digital cartridges are protected by digital rights management software, and can’t be played on unauthorized playback equipment.
If at any time your equipment is not working properly, call us first, then return the broken machine to us. Replacement machines will be sent only after we receive the defective machine. Do not include replacement requests or other notes with returned machines. This violates postal regulations.
All equipment may be returned postage-free to:
Machine Lending Service
Talking Book Program
4400B Shoal Creek Blvd.
Austin TX 78756-3213
Two types of DTBMs are available. The DS, or standard DTBM, has minimal features, and is designed to be very easy to use. The DA, or advanced DTBM, has many additional features, including bookmarking abilities and more sophisticated navigation. Both have speed, volume, and pitch controls, sleep buttons, and can announce their own serial numbers at the touch of a button.
Books to play on the DTBM come on cartridges. These are about the size and shape of cassettes, but have a beveled end to make it easy to insert them into the machine, and one large finger hole for easy removal. Because they use high-capacity flash media, one cartridge can hold as much as many, many cassettes, so each book you receive will be on one cartridge. They have no moving parts, and never need to be flipped over or rewound.
Cartridges circulate in mailing boxes that are similar to the plastic cassette boxes, but are slimmer.
Both the standard and advanced DTBMs “speak” to the user, telling the function of each button, as well as the amount of battery charge remaining. Upon request, these instructions can be set to speak in Spanish.
No computer skills are needed to play the books on cartridges that TBP mails to you. Simply insert the cartridge and turn the DTBM on. Readers with Internet access and some computer skills can also register for BARD to download books onto cartridges or flash drives. To learn more about BARD, call or email TBP.
Your DTBM should be fully charged when you receive it. DTBM battery life is approximately 29 hours per charge—a big improvement over the cassette players’ 6 to 8 hours. When the battery gets low, it can be recharged by plugging the machine into a standard electrical outlet. You may still play books while your DTBM is charging. Leaving the DTBM plugged in is not harmful to the battery. Because the DTBM tells you its available play hours every time you turn it on, you need never worry about unexpectedly running out of battery.
If your DTBM gets dirty, simply wipe it clean with a slightly damp cloth. Like all electronic equipment, it may stop working if it gets wet. Allow your DTBM to dry out completely before attempting to use it again. If it still doesn’t work, call us to report the problem and request a replacement, then send it back. The requested replacement will be sent to you once your broken DTBM is received.
Digital cartridges are protected by digital rights management software, and can’t be played on unauthorized playback equipment. They can only be played on the DTBM and on certain commercial players through special arrangement with NLS. Commercial players must have NLS software downloaded onto them before they can be used to play books provided by TBP. Contact us if you have questions about which players can be used, and how to get the appropriate permissions and software.
• Keep your player out of reach of pets—they often enjoy chewing on the electrical cords—this is harmful to your player and your pets.
• Adaptive attachments are available for use with the player. Please contact us for information about these accessories.
If you experience any problems with your playback equipment, please call us at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas) or 512-463-5458 (in Austin).
The Talking Book Program's Disability Information & Referral Center (DIRC) is a free reference service provided for anyone with a disability-related question, including the general public, teachers, counselors, family members of persons with disabilities, and other interested persons. You do not have to be a member of the Talking Book Program in order to use the services provided by the DIRC.
DIRC is available to assist people who have questions pertaining to disabilities. Information and materials on the different types of disabilities, health conditions, and information on related organizations, publications, products, and technology.
Examples of frequently asked questions include:
- Where can I purchase a digital machine that will play the books in your collection?
- What kinds of magnification devices are available for sale?
- Where can I obtain a Bible on audio or in Braille to keep?
- How do I find in-home assistance for my elderly parent?
- My child was just diagnosed with a learning disability. I need resources.
For answers to these and other questions you may have about disabilities, please give us a call at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas) or 512-463-5458.
TBP INFORMATION LINE
TBP’s toll-free information line provides readers with telephone access to the TBP News Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter full of helpful tips, book recommendations, and other items of interest. Important announcements are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the information line. Call 1-866-388-6397 and follow the menu prompts.
"Getting Started with the Talking Book Program" is available as a print publication in large print by request.
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas)
512-463-5458 (Austin area);