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Request Books from Home Using the Talking Book and Braille Library Online Catalog

Request your books from home using the NYS Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) online catalog. Braille and audio titles that you request from the online catalog will be delivered to your home address via the US mail. The online catalog allows you to search our collection, browse popular titles, request books, and view your library account settings.

Because downloading is the most efficient way to use the library, the online catalog also allows patrons to download books using the National Library Service's BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) system. Patrons can use a PC to download books, then listen on the digital player that TBBL provides. For added flexibility, BARD users can add the free BARD Mobile app to either iOS/Apple or Android devices and listen to audio books via a smart phone or tablet.

If you are interested in a BARD account, please complete this short online application.

Log in to the online catalog by selecting the sign in option in the upper right corner of the page. On the login page, enter your username and password.

Log in page with username and password bars

Please call or email TBBL if you forgot your login. TBBL Phone: 1-800-342-3688; Email:

Once you are logged in, you can begin to search. A 'Quick Search' option is available on the home page. Enter a title, author, or subject into 'Quick Search' and receive results that include your search term or phrase.

empty search bar with title quick search above i

For a more advanced search, select the 'Search' tab.


catalog search bar with query, index, and sort by drop down menus

The 'Search' tab offers a text box called 'Query' where you may enter a search term such as an author's name, title, or subject.
Use the 'Index' dropdown just below 'Query' to specify your search term. You may indicate whether you are searching for an author, title, or subject. Use the 'Author (sounds like)' option if you are unsure of the spelling.
Use the 'Sort by' feature to help organize your search results.
Select the 'Search' button at the bottom of the page to get results.

Search Tips for Better Results:

  • Enter keyword search terms into the search box, not an entire sentence, to receive relevant results.
  • If you receive too many search results, try modifying your search term. For example, a search for 'historical fiction' recalls over 9,000 results. To help reduce the number of results, try entering an additional keyword. For example, 'historical fiction suspense' will narrow the search to more specific results and offer a more manageable number of search results.
  • Search for authors by entering an author's name in either format: Example, 'first name last name' or 'last name, first name'. If you are unsure of a spelling, try using the 'Author (sounds like)' feature under the 'Search' tab and 'Index' dropdown.
  • Get creative with your search terms. Is there a different term for the same word? Is there are more general term, or a more specific term you could try?
  • Need help thinking of search terms? Try reviewing the subject terms of books you have enjoyed. Books in our catalog are classified under certain subject terms, or categories. If you enjoyed a specific book and you would like to read more books about the same topic, it can be helpful to review the subject terms of the book you enjoyed. To review a book's subjects, search for the book title. When the book displays in your results, select the book's title to view the book's details page. On the details page, locate the book's subjects listed next to the bold text, 'Local Subject' and 'LC Subject'. Use these subject terms to search for similar book titles.
  • Try using an asterisk symbol (*) in your search term as a placeholder for variations of a word. Using an asterisk can help broaden a search. For example, searching for the root word, 'myster', with an asterisk at the end, 'myster*', will display results that include words beginning with 'myster' such as mystery and mysteries. By searching for a commonality in a word, you can expand you search results.
  • Ask a TBBL librarian to help with your search. Email or call us with your questions.

When you search for a book, your search results will display on the 'Search Results' page. The total number of pages and total number of results are listed above your results.

The page lists your current search term in bold. Results can be sorted in a variety of ways using the dropdown located next to 'Sort your results'. Be sure to click the 'Sort' button to reconfigure your results page.

Just below your sort options you will find arrow icons which can be used to navigate to additional pages of results. The first rounded arrow icon will reset your search. The next four arrow icons will allow you to go forward and backward in your results. The 'Navigate your Search' icons are located at the top and bottom of the 'Search Results' page.

Search Results page:

search results displaying page numbers and descrptive words matching search criteria

Refine Your Search

If your search produced many pages of search results, you may want to narrow them down by using the 'Refine Your Search' options on the left side of your results screen.

To narrow results, select the highlighted text under the 'Refine Your Search' headings. For example, select the highlighted text under the 'Your Preferences' heading to view results based on your reading preferences. Your preferences can include language, media, and unread books. It can be helpful to select the 'Unread' option under this heading. If you select 'Unread', your search results will only show books you have not yet read.

It is also helpful to narrow based on format. If you would like your results to show only audiobooks, select 'Digital Book' under the 'Medium' heading and only books in audio format will display in your search results.

refine your search prefrence and medium options

'Refine Your Search' headings include Medium; Availability; Recently Added; Language; Reading Level; Audience Notes (such as narrator information); and Subject. For categories that have a 'Show more' option, select the 'Show more' text to reveal additional options.

To eliminate a search category, select the minus symbol next to text within the 'Refine Your Search' options, as seen in the image below. For example, if you are looking for a science fiction book, but you do not want a romantic science fiction story, select the minus symbol for any subjects related to romance. Books that included romance will be removed from your results.

If you exclude an option by accident, go back a page in your browser. 

Romance stories listed as ROM with a round negative sign and an arrow pointing to it


Review your results

In your book results, each book entry displays the title, author, unique book number, length of book, and publication year. There is also a status note for each result so you can tell if a copy is available.

Many popular books are already checked out and have a long waiting list. If a title has a status of "Copies available" displayed under the book's Status, you know that there are copies available in the library. Downloadable links are also available under Status. The download link will connect you to BARD.  

Image of a Book Result:
Title of a book highlighted in blue with book information listed underneath it with a white empty check box on the left.

When you find a book you are interested in borrowing, check the box to the left of the book's title. Then, select the 'Add Selected to Book Basket' button located at the top and bottom of the page. The book will be moved to your Book Basket.

Checkmark box filled in next to book title
Add Selected to Book Basket button highlighted

Multiple books can be selected and added to your Book Basket at once. If you select a book that is not currently available, the book will be added to your request list. When the book becomes available, it will be shipped.

To read a summary of a book and review book details, select the book's title. A new page will display with the book's details, as in this example image.   

You may add the book to your Book Basket using the 'Add This Item to Book Basket' button located at the bottom of the book details screen.

Add This Item to Book Basket highlighted at bottom of screen

When you add a book to your Book Basket, you are automatically brought to your Book Basket page.

Book Basket with listed items and options to proceed to checkout, clear basket, or email basket

The Book Basket is where you approve your request and move to checkout. To continue adding books to your Book Basket, select 'Search Results' at the top of the page. You can return to your Book Basket at any time by selecting the message in the 'Welcome' box in the upper right corner. The 'Welcome' box reminds you of the number of books in your basket. When your book order is ready, navigate to your Book Basket.

In your Book Basket, you have the opportunity to review your books. If you are no longer interested in a particular book, select 'Remove' under Action. 

If you need a book quickly, the catalog's 'rush' feature can help. A 'rushed' book will go out in your next shipment if a copy is available. Please be sure that the book you are selecting to 'Rush' has a status of 'Copies Available'.

If you are not sure about a book's availability, try searching for the title again to view the status. You can search by selecting the Search Results heading above the Book Basket. If you do not sign-out of the catalog, your Book Basket will save and you can access it again by selecting the Book Basket message under 'Sign Out' in the upper right corner of the screen.

If copies are available, navigate to your Book Basket and select 'Rush' under the Action column. Patrons may rush up to three books per day.

If you select to rush a book, an alert will display verifying the 'rush'. You may also 'unrush' or 'remove' the book title.

When you are satisfied with your book list, select the 'Proceed to Checkout' button at the bottom of the page. You will receive a checkout conformation message.  

Books that are available will be sent out via US Mail. If a book is currently checked out, the book will be added to your request list. You will receive the book when a copy is returned by another patron and if your name is next in the queue.

Tip: Many library patrons consult the most recent Talking Book Topics magazine they receive in the mail or listen to on audio. The new titles listed in Talking Book Topics are in high demand because so many library members use this magazine as a book ordering list.  This generates long waiting lists for many of the books listed, especially for the popular authors.   It may be useful for you to consult previous issues of Talking Book Topics for your book ideas.

The online catalog provides additional features to help you discover your next read and manage your library account. Learn more about Browse, Quick Request and My Account, available from the Home tab.

Get ideas for what to read next. Select the 'Browse' tab to view recently added books and popular checkouts.

Quick Request
Add books to your request list by entering book numbers into the 'Quick Request' text box. If you add several books at once, please make sure each book number is listed separately on its own line. Each book number should include the book prefix, BR or DB, followed by up to 6 numbers. For example, the correct format is, BR012345 or DB012345.

My Account
Under 'My Account', view your current checkouts, account history, and preferences.

'Account Summary' provides a description of your checkouts, requests, reserves, and magazine subscriptions.

Review your 'Contact Info' to ensure accuracy. If you need to make any changes, please let us know.  

Review your 'Reading Preferences'. Reading preferences are used by the library to select books for you. If you would like to update this information, please contact us.

'Reading History' is a searchable list of every book you have requested in the past, as well as items waiting to be shipped.

Contact NYS Talking Book and Braille Library Staff

Please call us if you have any questions about the online catalog or downloading books through BARD, Braille and Audio Reading Download. If you are interested in a BARD account, please complete this short online application.

Toll Free: 1-800-342-3688.  

Last Updated: April 12, 2021