For Library Staff

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

Getting Started with TBBC's Services & Outreach Toolkit

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 and an audio news reading service, Newsline. 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 community. We are partnering with many public libraries around the state.

Outreach Toolkit: Finding people in your community who need TBBC’s services often requires outreach.  To help you get started with outreach, we recommend that you review our Outreach Toolkit available in various formats below. The first format in the list is a mp3 audio file:

On this web page you will find additional information that will will helpful to you. We also have a FAQs page.

Children & Teen Services & Readers’ Services: Contact Jen Apgar 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 TBBC’s services:

Audiobooks and Audiobook Players: TBBC receives digital audiobook cartridges and digital audiobook players from the U.S. Library of Congress. Registered members of TBBC are entitled to long-term loans of audiobook cartridges through the mail and an accessible audiobook player. In addition, TBBC members will be eligible to download audiobooks and audio magazines from the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) web site of NLS.

Audio News Reading Service: TBBC members will have access to Newsline, an audio news reading service. Access to Newsline, available at no cost to New Jersey residents, is a web-based or telephone-based audio news and magazine service from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). Patrons need to register separately for Newsline.  There are no institutional accounts.  Apply by contacting TBBC at 800-792-8322 or NFB-Newsline.  You can also listen to sample Newsline content:

  • Dial 1-888-882-1629
  • Enter ID # 000999
  • Enter Security Code # 9999

Newsline for New Jersey residents is funded by the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NJCBVI). A patron needs to apply for Newsline by contacting TBBC at 800-792-8322 or by contacting NFB-Newsline. If the patron has any difficulty with the online application, he/she can call Newsline at 1-866-504-7300.


BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download):  Free downloadable digital audiobooks, audio magazines and Braille files are available from BARD through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).  A person or facility must first be registered with TBBC and then must apply separately online for BARD.  If any person or any facility has difficulty with an online BARD application, he/she can call TBBC toll-free at 1-800-792-8322.  Once a person applies for BARD, it will take approximately 3 days for the registration to be completed.

  • Does a person or facility need to apply for BARD?   The services from BARD require a separate online BARD application. Apply here.
  • Will the BARD audiobooks play on a computer or laptop? The files are encrypted by NLS to protect their copyright.  The BARD files will only play on the Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM) or other approved devices.  A list of NLS- approved devices is available to registered BARD users. Patrons will have to download software patches for their approved devices. If anyone has questions, he/she can call TBBC at 800-792-8322.
  • Do the BARD audiobooks expire? No, the BARD audiobooks do not expire.
  • Libraries can participate in the BARD Pilot Project to help TBBC members download from BARD.  Interested? Contact Adam Szczepaniak:
  • BARD Mobile app for Android, Apple and 2nd generation Kindle Fire devices. A person must first have a BARD account. With that account in hand, a person will log into BARD Mobile using his/her BARD username and password.
  • BARD users can log in here.
  • General BARD use and downloading instructions. Here are instructions using various browsers.

Braille Books: TBBC has a collection of Braille books that can be loaned to TBBC members. There are two ways to search our Braille collection: you can review the online index to Braille Book Review or you can search our online catalog at and limit your search to Braille. Call TBBC with any requests at 1-800-792-8322.

Large-Print books for Children and Young Adults:  TBBC has a collection of large print books for K-12 children and for young adults. To request a book, call TBBC at 1-800-792-8322 and ask for children’s services.

Downloadable Braille: Downloadable Braille is integrated into BARD. NLS provides access to braille books, magazines, and music scores. Braille files may be read online or downloaded for viewing off-line or for embossing. Reading Braille files requires a braille display, braille-aware notetaker, or braille embosser.  To download Braille, a patron must first be registered with TBBC and then must register for a BARD account.  The person can call TBBC at 800-792-8322 or contact us via email at


Design Guidelines:

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.”
    • Here are instructions on how to change the language of the instructions on the player to read in English or in Spanish:
      • How do I change the player language from English to Spanish?  English is the default language of the player. To change the player to Spanish, follow these steps:
      • Step 1: Turn off player. Make sure the player is plugged into an outlet.
      • Step 2: Hold down the Tone Down, Sleep, and Rewind buttons and press the Power button. After a few seconds, the player will beep and say “Player on” and then “Player Status.”
      • Step 3: Press the Rewind button twice. Player will say “Set Language.”
      • Step 4: Press the Play button. Player will say “English.”
      • Step 5: Press Fast Forward; then press Play. Player speaks Spanish.
      • Step 6: Turn the player off.
      • Step 7:  Turn the player on and insert the Spanish book.
      • How do I change the player language from Spanish to English? English is the default language of the player. Spanish is the secondary language. To change the player to English, follow these steps:
      • Step 1: Turn off player. Make sure the player is plugged into an outlet.
      • Step 2: Hold down the Tone Down, Sleep, and Rewind buttons and press the Power button. Begin Counting. Before you reach 10, the player will beep and say “Reproductor Encendido” and then “Estado del Reproductor.”
      • Step 3: Press the Rewind button twice. Player will say “Asignar El Idioma.”
      • Step 4: Press the Play button. Player will say “Ingles.”
      • Step 5: Press the Play button again.  The player will now speak English.
      • Step 6: Turn the player off and insert your English book.
  • 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.
  • 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 or 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.

  • Accessories for BARD downloading: BARD books and magazines can be downloaded to flash drives or to blank digital cartridges. TBBC does not provide these; a patron must purchase them. Flash drives can be purchased anywhere.  Blank digital cartridges with USB extension cables can be purchased from various vendors; NLS provides a list of sources.
  • TBBC provides USB elbow extenders which allow a flash drive to sit parallel to the machine, rather than jut out from the side of the player; a patron can call TBBC to request one.
  • If multiple audobooks or audio magazines are downloaded from BARD, you can access each item on the flash drive by finding the bookshelf on the player. To find the bookshelf, press and hold the large, green play/stop button until you hear “Bookshelf.”  Then, press the rewind or forward buttons to move through the flash drive.  Repeat this to find another book on the flash drive.
  • Libraries can participate in the BARD Pilot Project to help TBBC members download from BARD. Interested? Contact Adam Szczepaniak:
  • BARD Mobile app for Apple & Android Devices:  Visit our BARD Mobile web page for more information. Before a person can use this app:


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.

2015 Disability Status Report for New Jersey

      • 2015 Disability Status Report for New Jersey, prepared by Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute, states that the prevalence of disability in NJ was 10.3% for persons of all ages (compared to 9.7% in 2010). Here is data by type of disability:
        • 1.8% reported a visual disability
        • 2.6% reported a hearing impairment
        • 5.8% reported an ambulatory disability
        • 3.9% reported a cognitive disability
        • 2.4% reported a self-care disability
        • 4.8% reported an independent living disability

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