Audio Books (Talking Books)

The Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library's audio or talking book collection is our largest and most popular. Until October 2010, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) produced audio titles on recorded cassette (RC). Since then talking books are only being produced in a digital book (DB) format. In addition to the NLS-produced titles, the library offers audio books produced by volunteers or commercial producers.

Everyone registering for the talking book service will receive a digital talking book player. Visit the Equipment page for more information on talking book players.

Locally Produced Talking Books

Locally produced titles are narrated by volunteers at either MBTBL or the Communications Center in St. Paul. These titles are generally of local and/or regional interest. These titles are only available on cassette. In the future, the library intends to digitize all of its locally produced titles so they will play on the digital talking book players.

The MBTBL loans copies of books aired on the State Services for the Blind’s (SSB) Radio Talking Book Network on digital cartridges and cassette tapes. This is a free, closed-circuit news and information service that broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to thousands of subscribers throughout Minnesota and the nation. Visit the Radio Talking Book web page for more information.

Playaway Audio Books

Playaways are commercially produced, handheld, battery-powered digital audio books. They require earphones for listening. Thanks to funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the library was able to create a collection of more than 200 Playaway titles. Since the successful launch of the digital talking books program, the library no longer adds to its Playaway collection. No new titles have been added since 2007.

The library has added braille labels to each Playaway. These labels provide title information as well as general usage instructions. Additional operating instructions are also available in braille or large print.