Downloading Book Tips

If you have any questions about the following tips, or want more information, feel free to call the library at 206-615-0400 or 1-800-542-0866.

BARD Tips --- Locally Produced Audio Book Tips --- Locally Produced Braille Book Tips


BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Downloads) Tips

To log into BARD ( to download one of the thousands of audio book or braille titles available, you will need your email address and a password. To sign-up for an account, fill out the application at
Once you have access to a BARD account, the following tips will help you to find titles you want to download and change settings to you account.

Tip 1: Searching for Books:

Throughout this section, I will use James Patterson’s Alex Cross series as my example.

  • When you know part of the book title or the author’s name: Use the “Search the Collection” text box to enter your search keywords and use quotation marks around your search topic to limit the results.
    • Example: If I am looking for the first book in James Patterson’s series, I would enter Along came a spider, or even Came a spider,and BARD would pull up the audio book and braille version of that book. I could also enter “Patterson, James” (last name, first name) to see all of Patterson's books.
  • Finding books in a series:

    Now that I have found Patterson’s first book, you may want to see what else we have in the Alex Cross series. If you select the link for the book title, in this situation, Along came a spider DB 35894, you will reach the title page (summary listing) for this book. On this page you will find a link called “Alex Cross series,” which will take you to a list of all of the books on BARD in this series. The series field also tells you that this book is volume 01 in the series.
  • Finding books by the same author:

    Also on the title page, you can click on the link for the author’s name, Patterson, James, and receive a list of all of the other books by Patterson on BARD.
  • Add to my wish list:

    Another great feature found on the Title page is the “Add to my wish list” link, which will add Along Came a Spider DB 35894 to your wish list. To see what books are on your wish list, you will go to the BARD main page and look under settings.

Tip 2: Additional Links on BARD main page:

There are a number of items on the BARD main page that may make your searching faster and help to manage your account. The Additional Links section is a heading at the bottom of the main page. Here you will find links to My Wish List, My Previous Downloads, Update account settings, NLS Catalog, Braille Book Review, Talking Book Topics, Latest DTBM firmware and installation instructions and Help.

  • My Wish List:

    This is where the items you added to your Wish List will go in descending order of when they were added. From this list you can also download the books using the Download link below the book’s description.
  • My Previous Downloads:

    A list of items you previously downloaded with the most recent first. This is a great list to check when you are not sure if a book was downloaded completely. Periodically, WTBBL staff also receives a list of these titles so we can add them to you list of Has Hads on your main library account.
  • Update account settings:

    You will select this are to change your password (WTBBL staff can never see your password), change your email address, authorize a new commercial audio book player, change color settings to color or black/white, change what books (audio or braille) are displayed in results and change the maximum number of books displayed in results.

Note: when you search using the Search the Collection text box, audio books will be listed first and then braille books at the bottom. DB signifies an audio book and BR signifies a braille book.

  • NLS Catalog:

    This catalog shows books available from the entire network. You will also find links to the BARD files.
  • Braille Book review and Talking book Topics:

    Issues in HTML and plain text. Instead of waiting for the next TBT or BBR to arrive in the mail, you can see new issues in your internet browser or download the plain text version.
  • Latest DTBM firmware and installation instructions:

    Whenever a new firmware (software for the Digital Talking Book Machine) is released, it is put on this site. The current version is 2.1.7 - October 24, 2011, which improved the performance of thumb drives. There was recently an update that some digital cartridge magazine users may have notice. This was only for those who receive the magazines in the mail.

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WTBBL Local Audio Book Tips

To log into the WTBBL local book site (, you will need a WTBBL Username and Password (different from your BARD log-in credentials). If you have already signed up for BARD, you should have received information on how to access these books. This is the same username and password used to log into the WTBBL online catalog. Downloading from WTBBL’s local books uses the same procedure as that for BARD. On this page you will also find Recently Added Books at the top and a search box to find specific titles within all uploaded books.

  • Tip 1: Searching WTBBL Books

  • The Search text box is the only form field on the page. It features a drop-down menu with the following search limits: title, author, narrator, date. After you select a search limit, you then tab over to the text field and enter your keywords. On this site, you do not want to use quotation marks around your search keywords.
  • For author searches, books are entered first name last name. If I was searching for books by Jance, J.A. I would enter J.A. Jance in the search box and select submit.
  • For title searches, I can enter any word or phrase from the title (without quotation marks) to look for a specific title.
  • Note for Narrator search: some of our older titles do not have their narrators listed. However, you can find out who narrated the book by look at our online catalog or calling the library.

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WTBBL Local Braille Book Tips

WTBBL also has hundreds of locally produced braille books on our website ( You do not need a password to access these files. Like web-braille books on BARD, WTBBL braille books are in volumes, however, each volume can be downloaded individually.

This brief introduction should help you get started in enjoying the many digital options that WTBBL has available for all patrons and institutions. These books give the opportunity to quickly download content on your own time and create your own library!

Tip 1: Recently Added:

  • Like the local audio books, the newest braille titles are under this heading (alphabetical by author’s last name). This is a 2nd level heading near the top of the page. The only other heading is “All Books,” which is a listing (alphabetical by last name) of all downloadable braille books.

Tip 2: Searching for a specific title or book:

Since there is not a search box for the downloadable braille books, the best way to search is to use the Find commands built into your computer. This will be different depending on what program you are using, but generally the keystrokes are control + f for Windows operating systems and command (apple key) + f for Mac operating systems. This will being up a search box that you can enter a keyword or phrase. To move down the page you press the enter/return button until you reach a selection you want.

Example: If I type Jance into the Find field, it will pull up 27 instances of Jance on the web page. Her name is listed as the author, but they often mention author’s names in the book summary. If you know the full name of the author, adding “by” before J.A. Jance will help narrow your search. Using by J. A. Jance in the Find field brings up just 24 results and I can quickly move to her books and browse through them one by one.