New York State Library
New York State Talking Book and Braille Library logo

Upstate Update: Winter 2021

Changes are coming to the library this year and we are excited to share them with you.

Last fall, we unveiled a new logo that will be used to represent the library. TBBL's logo is a partially opened book where the front cover displays six white braille dots on a red background. The inside of the book is solid gray and depicts a speech balloon, used to symbolize audiobooks. The logo includes text that reads, New York State Talking Book and Braille Library. Our website is also getting a new look. We are in the process of redesigning the entire site to make it more accessible.

Library staff are happy to announce an anticipated service called Duplication on Demand. Duplication on Demand allows library staff to provide more books to patrons on fewer cartridges. Please read on to learn more.  

If you have questions for library staff, please call or email our library. If you call our library and receive our voicemail, please leave a detailed message including your full name and a call back number. Our reader advisors will respond to your message as soon as possible.

You may have noticed the new look to the TBBL website, including our new logo in the top banner.

We are redesigning our entire site to use responsive design which enables web pages to display properly on different-sized devices such as desktop PCs, tablets, or phones. Responsive design prevents visitors from having to scroll, zoom, and manipulate the screen size in order to view content. We hope this will make the site more functional and accessible.

The new design features a top navigation bar that contains drop-down menus with links to other pages on the site. This replaces the navigation links previously found on the left side of the pages. Please let us know what you think.

The NYS Talking Book and Braille Library would like to introduce an exciting service coming soon called Duplication on Demand (DOD).
In the next few months, DOD will allow library staff to produce customized audio cartridges for each patron by adding multiple books to a single cartridge. This service will result in patrons receiving more books on fewer cartridges. Books will continue to be selected based on reading preferences and requests.

How does Duplication on Demand work?

Currently, each audio cartridge we lend contains just one book. With DOD, a single cartridge can hold several books at once.

Duplication on Demand expands the number of available books to patrons. The National Library Service's collection currently consists of over 100,000 books. With DOD, patrons have immediate access to every title with no waitlists! Patrons will have easier access to older titles, entire series in order, books by favorite authors, and every new book in the collection.

Cartridges will continue to arrive in their familiar plastic mailing case and can be played using the talking book player. A folded card will accompany each cartridge and will be located on the outside of the mailing case. One side of the card will include your address and the other side will list the book titles on the cartridge. 

When it's time to return the cartridge, simply remove the address card from the mailing case and place the case in your outgoing mail. Our library's address will be printed on a sticker found on the mailing case, just under the address card, making the return process easy.

On occasion, patrons include notes for staff within a cartridge's mailing case. When you return a DOD cartridge, we ask that you do not include notes within returned cases as it will be difficult for library staff to identify the sender. If you have a question for staff, please call or email our library so we can be sure to address your concern.

What are the Benefits of Duplication on Demand?

Duplication on Demand provides immediate access to our entire audio book collection. There are no wait lists, even for new bestsellers.
With a smaller number of cartridges, the delivery time for each book is reduced and the number of lost or mismatched books is minimized.
When you receive a single cartridge, it could contain as many as 15 books. If you are someone who receives dozens of books in the mail, this service will certainly be beneficial.

When will this service start?

Our library plans to transition all patrons to Duplication on Demand by the end of 2021.

The transition will occur in stages, starting with veterans and new patrons. We will then shift small groups of individuals and institutions to the service until all patrons are participating in DOD.

If you would like to become an early adopter, please let us know. You can email us at or call us at 1-800-342-3688. If you prefer to email, please include 'Duplication on Demand' or 'DOD' in the subject line.

When you receive your Duplication on Demand audio cartridges in the mail, you can choose to listen to your books in sequential order or you can skip to the book you wish to read first using your player’s ‘Bookshelf’ mode. Both reading options are explained below.

Read Books in Sequential Order

  1. Turn on your talking book player and insert your digital book cartridge. The first book should start playing.
  2. When the first book is complete, you will hear the player announce, “End of Book”. Press the Play/Stop button to advance to the next book. The next book should begin.
  3. Continue to press Play/Stop at the end of each book to advance to the next title.

Read Books in Any Order Using "BookShelf" Mode

  1. “BookShelf” mode is an option on your player that lets you skip over whole books so you can decide what to read first. To use “Bookshelf”, turn on your talking book player and insert your digital book cartridge.
  2. Press the Play/Stop button for about three seconds until you hear the player announce, "Bookshelf". The player will identify the number of books on the cartridge and the first book title. Press the FF (Fast Forward) button, located to the right of the Play/Stop button, to hear each additional title on the cartridge. Press the RW (Rewind), located to the left of the Play/Stop button, to move to a previous book.
  3. When you hear the book title you would like to read, press the Play/Stop button to begin listening.
  4. To return to “Bookshelf” mode after you have started a book, you can select the Play/Stop button and hold it for about three seconds.  

The National Library Service’s downloading program, BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download), allows TBBL patrons to download books in the library at their own convenience. BARD patrons should be aware that for security reasons, the National Library Service requires each BARD patron to log into their account at least once every six months. If a patron does not login during a six-month period, the account will become inactive. If this happens to you, simply call or email TBBL staff for help. We can reactivate the account for you.

To prevent your BARD account from becoming inactive, we encourage patrons to login occasionally. This will ensure that your account is active the next time you want to download a book.

If you would like to set up a BARD account and start downloading books, please visit our BARD Application page.

These are a few books staff enjoyed over the last year and we recommend you check them out:

Becoming by Michelle Obama, DB 92627, BR 22497
A memoir by the former First Lady, the first African American in that role. Obama recounts her childhood in Chicago, her years balancing motherhood and her career as an executive, and her time in the White House. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2018.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, DB 99791
Desiree Vignes and her daughter return home to Louisiana in 1968, fourteen years after Desiree and her identical twin sister Stella ran away as teens. The sisters ended up on different paths, and as Desiree struggles with the racial tensions of her hometown, Stella has lived her life passing as white. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2020.

Haben : the Deafblind Woman who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma, DB 96188, BR 22702
The autobiography of the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School. Girma describes her childhood, world travels, development of a text-to-braille communication system, and time at Harvard Law, as well as the ways she uses her talents to advocate for those with disabilities. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, DB 54993 Four complete novels, A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear--and fifty-six short stories featuring Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John Watson. 2002.

Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, DB 100586, BR 11417 England, 997.
In the time of the Anglo-Saxon kings, Vikings rule the seas. A Norman noblewoman follows her new husband across the sea to her new home. A boat builder moves his family to safety, but doesn't fit in. And a monk dreams of a center of learning. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

Born a crime: stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah, DB 86608, BR 23032
The host of TV's The Daily Show shares his coming-of-age story as the child of a white father and black mother in South Africa. Their very union was considered a crime, and when the author was born during apartheid, his biracial status made him an outcast. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. 2016.

Did you read a great book last year? Would you like to recommend it to TBBL staff? We may feature your recommendation in an upcoming newsletter. Call or email TBBL to let us know. All recommendations can stay anonymous. If you prefer to email, please include ‘Book Recommendation’ in your subject line.

The New York State Talking Book and Braille Library acknowledges a memorial gift in honor of Helen Corbelli. She retired from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system, having started as a typist for catalog cards. When she lost vision later in life, she considered the talking books life savers, and truly appreciated the work of the TBBL staff.

Donations made in Ms. Corbelli’s memory help support the New York State Talking Book and Braille Library’s mission to ensure that all may read.

Institutions and Community Groups

Do you work for an institution or community group that serves individuals who have difficulty reading standard print due to a visual or physical disability? TBBL staff are available for virtual informational sessions to help share and explain the library’s service. If you are interested in scheduling a virtual event, please contact or call 1-800-342-3688.

We love hearing from our patrons! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

“I am sending a heartfelt thanks to the program and staff for this wonderful program. My iPad is with me almost always in order to listen to stories I would not be able to read. Also, I get so many chores done while listening!” – TBBL Patron

Friday, January 1 – New Year’s Day

Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, February 15 – Washington’s Birthday

Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day

Monday, July 5 – Independence Day Observed

Monday, September 6 – Labor Day

Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day

Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving

Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Reader advisors are answering calls between 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m

Toll-free: 1-800-342-3688
Fax: (518) 474-7041

Talking Book and Braille Library s
Cultural Education Center
222 Madison Avenue Albany, NY 12230-0001

Last Updated: March 12, 2021