Services Offered by Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Audio Books (Talking Books)

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library houses a varied collection of books and magazines on cassette and digital cartridge (image below). A Digital Talking Book Machine and special cassette machine are needed to play these materials are provided free of charge to registered users.

Image of Digital Talking Book Container and Cartridge

Digital Talking Book Machine 

The digital talking book machine plays the digital cartridges, which are the new format for our audio books. The machine is about 6 by 9 by 2 inches and weighs slightly over two pounds. The body of the machine is dark charcoal grey to create maximum visual contrast between the background of the case and the colors of the buttons.

There are two types of machines, the standard and advanced (image below). Both machines have Power, Rewind, Play/Stop, Fast Forward, Volume, Tone, Sleep and Speed buttons. The advanced has a second row of controls between the Power, Sleep and Volume controls and the speaker. The advanced controls are for setting and retrieving bookmarks and for navigating through the structured levels of a book. 

Both Tone and Speed are shaped like the Volume buttons, up and down arrowheads, and are along its narrow axis. The Tone buttons are close to the left edge of the machine; the Speed button is close to the right edge. The Volume, Tone, and Speed controls all announce each press of the button, e.g. "tone lower," "tone higher," "tone middle," with similar announcements for the other controls. The Speed control changes the speech from 50% to 300% of normal, with no change in pitch.

The white band along the front edge of the machine is a pull-out handle and on the underside of the machine are two metal bars to which a strap could be affixed (not provided). Above the handle is the opening for the digital talking book cartridge. On the right side of the machine are the headphone jack, with a green ring. Headphones are not currently provided because the jack is a standard size. The library can provide pillowspeakers, which can be put underneath your pillow when listening in bed.  Next to the jack is a USB port, which can be used for listening to downloaded audio books on a flash drive (thumb drive). On the back side of the machine, is a compartment for storing the power cord.

Image of Standard Digital Talking Book Player and Advanced Digital Talking Book Player


Braille Books

The braille book collection includes adult and children's books. A special children's collection of books combines print and braille so that blind and sighted readers may share their reading enjoyment.

Local Audio Book and Brailled Book Production

Audio books and brailled books by Pacific Northwest authors and about the Pacific Northwest are produced at WTBBL and are available, as are children's books and special interest subjects not available elsewhere.

Partial lists of braille books and partial lists of digitally-mastered cassette books produced locally at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library can be viewed at the link Audio and Braille Books Locally-Produced at WTBBL. Braille books are available on-line for download as web-braille books. A partial list of digital audio books produced locally at WTBBL is available at the link Word Document List of Downloadable Audio Books. Digital audio books produced at WTBBL can be downloaded at the link Log in to Download Audio Books.

The Collection Development Policy of WTBBL includes selection criteria for local production of audio and braille material.

Large Print

Large print books are available for registered readers who cannot easily read conventional size print.

Evergreen Radio Reading Service

Information of immediacy such as newspapers, grocery ads, shopping news, magazines, and special news for those who cannot easily read regular print is provided in the Puget Sound area and parts of Eastern Washington. Special radio receivers are provided free of charge.The ERRS brochure is available as a Word document.Click here to listen to the Live Webstream of the Evergreen Radio Reading Service


WTBBL offers free subscriptions to many popular magazines, newsletters, and sports schedules on cassette, in braille, and in large print.

Magazines available in braille:

Magazines available in audio format, currently only on cassettes:

For more information about available magazines, contact WTBBL's magazine desk directly at 206-615-0416.

Youth Services

WTBBL offers braille, large print, and audio (cassette and digital cartridge) books for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens, for home and school. The Library offers a by-mail summer reading program, performances and events for children and their families, and an accessible children's room with toys and display books. For details, use the link above to go to the Children's Services page or send an e-mail to the children's librarian at or contact the children's librarian through our receptionist using the phone numbers listed below.

Deposit Collections

Deposit collections of large print and cassette books may be loaned to libraries, schools, senior centers, and long-term care facilities throughout the State of Washington. 

Jan Walsh Patron Computer Lab

The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library now has a computer lab that is open to patrons during business hours (M-F 8:30 AM-5:00 PM). For more information about the equipment available in the lab, please click here

Patrons of the library can contact the receptionist to set up a time to use the computer lab at (206) 615-0400. 


The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library offers reference service on issues of blindness, physical disabilities, and issues of general interest. You can contact the reference librarians through our receptionist using the phone numbers listed below. Reference services are also available by using InfoEyes, an online virtual reference and information service for the visually impaired.