For Library Staff

Here are several resources to assist library staff serving customers with print-impairments:

Getting Started with TBBC’s Services

The services of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC) are just another no-cost and valuable service that your library can provide in your community.  By bringing TBBC’s services to your library, you will be serving residents with print impairments and offering them library materials in accessible formats: Braille (print and web Braille), digital audiobooks, digital audio magazines, digital audiobook players. In addition to serving individuals, you will be able to also serve places in your community, if desired, that serve eligible individuals, such as assisted living communities, senior housing residences, nursing homes, etc.  For some inspiration, read our kudos. We recommend that you review our Getting Started for Librarians to familiarize yourself with TBBC’s eligibility criteria, application certification process, services, and explore ways in which you can provide the services and market them in your library. Below is additional information that will be helpful to you. We also have a FAQs page. If you have any questions or suggestions for the content of this page, contact Mary Kearns-Kaplan at . Adult Services: Contact Mary Kearns-Kaplan at Children & Teen Services: Contact Liz Burns at .

Etiquette – “It’s the Individual First, then the Disability”

We all share the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Here is a list of several sources for guidance on the proper language and behavior to use when working with people who have physical, reading and/or vision challenges.

Applications & Eligibility Criteria

When the application is completed and certified, return it to TBBC:

  • Fax it: 609-406-7181.
  • Scan and Email it:
  • Mail it: The last page of the application is a postage-free return label.

Snapshot of TBBC’s Services

Here is a snapshot of all of the services TBBC provides to its members.


Operating Systems:

Audiobooks, Audio Magazines, Digital Players and Accessories for the Player

  • Audiobook Players: Each person or place registered with TBBC is eligible to receive, at no cost, a long-term loan of a digital audiobook player. There are 2 models:
    • Standard Player (DS1). There is a built-in audio tutorial for the DS1. Hold down the large, green, square-shaped Play/Stop button until you hear “Standard Player User Guide.”
    • Advanced Player (DA1). The audio tutorial for the DA1 can be accessed by holding down the white, diamond-shaped, Info button until you hear “Advanced Player User Guide.”
  • Audiobooks: To find available audiobooks, there are several sources:
    • Talking Book Topics (TBT). TBT is published every two months by NLS, it is mailed to all TBBC members and it lists new items. TBT is available in large print, on the web, and can be downloaded as an audio magazine from the Braille and Audiobook Reading Download site (BARD).
    • TBBC’s Online Catalog: TBBC members can search TBBC’s online catalog and request books; they must call TBBC to obtain their username and password.
  • Audio Magazines: TBBC members can subscribe to several digital audio magazines.  Talking Book Topics (TBT) lists audio magazines available to members.  To subscribe, the person must call TBBC at 800-792-8322.
  • Audiobook Group: TBBC has a book group, called “The Get Together.” The group meets quarterly. All readers are welcomed.  Those who cannot travel to TBBC can participate via conference call! For more information, call Karen Carson at TBBC at 800-792-8322, ext 806. If you do not have an audiobook group in your library, consider adding one or incorporating audiobook listeners and Braille readers into your print book group.
  • Accessories for the digital talking book player: TBBC provides several no-cost accessories. A TBBC member should call TBBC to order any of these:
    • Breath switch. For those who cannot use hands to start and stop a book.
    • Catridge Cable (connects a blank cartridge to the computer for downloading).
    • Lightweight over-the-ear headphones.
    • USB extender for a flash drive. The USB extender allows a flash drive to sit parallel to the machine.
  • TBBC does not provide devices for downloading, such as flash drives or blank cartridges. We will loan a flash drive to a patron; a patron can call TBBC for more information. Patrons or Libraries can buy blank digital talking book cartridges; NLS provides a list of sources.
  • Audiobooks, audio magazines and Braille files can be downloaded from the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD).


  • TBBC lends Braille books to its patrons. New Braille books available are listed in the NLS publication, Braille Book Review. It is published in large print, in Braille and it is available on the web. Braille books can also be located in TBBC’s online catalog and can be requested online; the patron will need to contact TBBC for a username and password.
  • TBBC members can download Braille files from BARD (a Braille output device is required).
  • Each button on the audiobook player has a Braille label.
  • Each digital audiobook cartridge provides the title in large print and in Braille.

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

TBBC’s patrons can download audiobooks, audio magazines and Braille files from the BARD web site to a flash drive or a blank digital cartridge.  A person must first be registered with TBBC and then must register for BARD. Librarians can assist patrons with the BARD registration process and with BARD downloading. As a reminder, BARD audio files are available only to those registered with TBBC and are encrypted for copyright protection; they will only play on the NLS audiobook player or on other (for purchase) authorized NLS players. Braille files require a Braille output device.


The 1996 Chafee Amendment to the U.S. Copyright Act governs NLS materials. The NLS audiobooks provided by TBBC are encrypted for copyright protection and are available only to registered TBBC members. They will play only on the no-cost NLS audiobook players provided by TBBC or on other NLS-authorized devices that a patron can purchase. The TBBC equipment and audiobooks must only be used by TBBC members.

Marketing Materials


TBBC ships all of its materials free of postage to the homes of its members as “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped.” If a library works with TBBC patrons and has materials of its own it would like to ship to them, the library may be able to ship them postage-free as well. For more information on materials covered as “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” and for information on how to package them and how to comply with the Free Matter law, consult 39 U.S.C.3403-3405. Additional information is also available in the Domestic Mail Manual from the U.S. Postal Service.


Here are selected statistics that will be helpful to your management of TBBC’s services in your library.

TBBC’s 2012 Patron Survey

Approximately 37% of TBBC’s patrons use public libraries, according to TBBC’s 2012 patron survey.

2013 Disability Status Report for New Jersey

      • 2013 Disability Status Report for New Jersey, prepared by Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute, states that the prevalence of disability in NJ in 2013 was 10.5% for persons of all ages (compared to 9.7% in 2010). Here is data by type of disability:
        • 2% reported a visual disability (1.7% in 2010).
        • 2.7% reported a hearing impairment (compared to 2.5% in 2010).
        • 6% reported an ambulatory disability (compared to 5.6% in 2010).
        • 3.8% reported a cognitive disability (no change from 2010).
        • 2.3% reported a self-care disability (compared to 2.2% in 2010).
        • 5.0% reported an independent living disability (compared to 4.7% in 2010).

Pew Study, “The Rise of E-Reading”

A Pew study,”The Rise of E-Reading,” indicates:

      • 61% of audiobook listeners prefer to borrow from public libraries, rather than purchase audiobooks.
      • Of non-book readers, 18% of those 16 and older report physical or health conditions make it difficult to read; 25% of those over age 50 report physical or health conditions make it difficult to read.

National Eye Institute Data

Here are highlights of prevalence/projection data for all vision impairment, based on the 2010 U.S. Census, provided by The National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health:

      • Between 2000 and 2010, there has been a 27% increase in the number of cases of vision impairment in the U.S. (2000 = 3,295,670; 2010 = 4,195,966).
      • In 2010, approximately 3% of the U.S. population had a vision impairment (64% female; 81% white). By 2030, a 71% increase is projected and by 2050 a 210% increase (2010 = 4,195,966; 2030 = 7,169,680; 2050 = 13,026,870).

New Jersey 2012: Estimated Number of Cases by Vision Problem Age 40

    • Total Population 40: 4,261,272
    • Vision Impairment and Blindness: 133,987
      • Blindness: 41,733
      • Vision Impairment: 92,255
    • Refractive Error
      • Myopia (nearsighted) 1.0 diopters: 1,010,209
      • Hyperopia (farsighted) 3.0 diopters: 416,670
    • AMD*: 65,272
    • Cataract: 730,408
    • Diabetic Retinopathy: 229,445
    • Glaucoma: 83,913
    • * Age-related macular degeneration, age 50 and older