Available materials and equipment

The following materials are available for use for free by eligible TBBC patrons. Contact the KDL TBBC by phone, mail, email, or in person to request any of the following materials.

Books on Digital Cartridge

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers over 70,000 audio books in digital format, with a collection that is continually growing. They are specifically designed to play on specialized machines that are provided upon registration with the LBPH program. Digital talking book cartridges are about the size of a cassette and are beveled on one end so they will fit into the machine in only one way. In most cases, one cartridge will hold an entire book with no need to turn it over, rewind or flip switches.

The NLS catalog's most recent book titles can be viewed in online or on BARD. Talking Book Topics is available in HTML and downloadable PDF, and can be requestd as a bi-monthly subscription in audio format. Braille Book Review is available in HTML, downloadable Braille, or can be requested as a bi-monthly subscription in hardcopy braille. International Language Quarterly, a catalog of the most recently added international language materials, is also available online. 

The Kent District Library TBBC staff can select digital books for patrons based on favorite subjects or authors. Patrons are welcome to change their reading preferences at any time by contacting the library.

Digital Talking Book Machine

The Digital Talking Book machine is specially designed to play books on digital cartridge produces by the NLS. Written instructions are provided with the player, and an audio user guide is embedded in the machine itself.

The DTB machine is available in two models: a standard player and an advanced model. In most cases, a standard player will be sufficient for most users. Those patrons that read mostly non-fiction or would like more navigational features may prefer the advanced player. The machine is roughly 6x9x2 inches and weighs slightly more than 2 pounds. It also includes an external USB port for playing audio files from a thumb drive.

Specialized adaptive equipment is available for the machine, including:

  • Headphones
  • Pillow speaker (for those confined to a bed)
  • Amplified headphones

A separate application is required for use of the amplified headphones equipment. Please contact the Kent District TBBC to request an application or receive more information.

Books in Braille

Kent District TBBC works in conjunction with the Library of Michigan Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to provide Braille books to registered patrons.

The NLS catalog's most recent book titles are available in the Braille Book Review publication. TBBC patrons that receive Braille will automatically receive this publication in the mail every two months. The Braille Book Review is available in large print, in Braille, or online.

Described DVDs

Described DVDs are movies in which the visual elements are described — the action, characters, locations, costumes, and sets — without interfering with the movie's dialogue or sound effects. KDL offers an ever-growing collection of described DVDs in a variety of genres to LBPH patrons.

Described DVDs are available by request only. Please contact the Kent District TBBC for more information. View the list of available titles as a PDF or Braille Ready Format or contact the library to receive this list by mail.


Several magazines are available to TBBC patrons in large print, Braille, and audio format. To request magazines, print, fill out, and return the Magazine Request Form to the KDL TBBC or contact the library to have a form mailed.

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

The NLS also provides a means for patrons to download audio books through the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) program. Any current TBBC patron in good standing is eligible for this service and can access thousands of audio and electronic Braille books and over 40 magazine titles. Patrons can download books from BARD to their computer and transfer them to a flash drive or blank digital cartridge. The books can then be played on a Digital Talking Book machine or other third party digital book players. Blank cartridges can be purchased from the KDL TBBC office.

Users must have access to a high speed internet connection, a USB drive, and have the necessary computer skills to download and unzip computer files, as well as the ability to transfer files from a computer to a separate device. To enroll in BARD, patrons can fill out an online application on the BARD website.