“Talking books” are going high-tech

“Talking books” are going high-tech

There is exciting news coming out of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in downtown Seattle: WTBBL just received its first shipment of digital talking book machines. These new machines (DBMs) represent a huge transition for WTBBL and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and it marks a major advancement in technology. In fact, WTBBL Program Manager Danielle King said it’s the biggest thing that WTBBL and the NLS have done in 30-35 years.

Mary  Danielle 3As you can guess, it’s a big deal for WTBBL’s many patrons. They are thrilled and cannot wait to get their new digital talking book machines. For years, the WTBBL patrons have had to use cassette tape players to listen to talking books (imagine having to listen to music on cassette tapes or an 8-track player instead of a CD or MP3), so this is a definite step forward. 

Last Friday, Danielle hand-delivered a few of these digital talking book machines to some veterans in the Seattle area. (Federal law mandates that the players first go to veterans.) One of her deliveries was to Mary Tift, a 96-year-old woman who is a huge user of WTBBL’s services. As you can imagine, Mary (pictured with Danielle) was thrilled to receive the digital player.

WTBBL patrons with these new digital players will receive, upon request, a blue plastic case containing a cartridge that is played by the digital player. WTBBL and NLS also have large online collections of audio books that patrons can download from their computer to a flash drive to play on the digital player.

To learn more about WTBBL, go here . WTBBL is part of the Washington State Library, which is a division of the Office of Secretary of State.

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