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Available Items

Click on a link below, or scroll down, to view available materials and services available to WLBPD@AADL patrons:

       WLBPD Materials WLBPD Equipment Other Materials & Services

Please note: All Washtenaw County residents who are eligible for WLBPD service, as well as those living in the same household, are also eligible for Ann Arbor District Library >a href="/aboutus/librarycards">borrowing privileges.

WLBPD Materials

The following materials are available for use for free by WLBPD@AADL patrons. Contact WLBPD directly at (734) 327-4224, or email, to request any of the following materials:

  • Audio Books in Digital Format: Digital "talking" Book cartridges, or DB, are a USB storage device housed in a plastic easy to handle casing. The check-out period for DB is 4 weeks. No fines are assessed for overdue DB. To search for available titles in DB format, check out these Online Catalogs.
  • BARD: WLBPD patrons are encouraged to download books from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). There you will find tens of thousands of books to choose from and dozens of magazines too! Click here for more information about accessing BARD.
  • Large Print Books-by-Mail: AADL circulates over 4,000 titles in Large Print in all areas of fiction and non-fiction. With an AADL card, all WLBPD patrons are also eligible to receive Large Print Books-by-Mail sent to them from the AADL collection. Check our catalog to search for specific books or view all of our Large Print titles. You can also browse the Large Print titles specifically for children and teens. The check-out period for Large Print Books is 4 weeks. Click here for more information about the WLBPD Large Print Books-by-Mail service.
  • Books in Braille: Contact (734) 327-4224, or email, for more information about accessing Braille books.
  • Described Videos: Described Videos, or DV, are movies in which the visual elements are described - the action, characters, locations, costumes, and sets - without interfering with the movie's dialogue or sound effects. For a list of all DV available in DVD format click here. To request DV, please contact WLBPD. The check-out period for DV is 4 weeks. No fines are assessed for overdue DV.
  • Magazines: To request magazines on digital cartridge, fill out, and return this Magazine Application Form to WLBPD or call us at (734) 327-4224. Magazines listed on this form are available only to patrons and institutions registered for service through WLBPD.
  • WLBPD@AADL provides materials and support to Youth and Adult book clubs: Please contact us for more information.

Library staff is pleased to select reading materials for WLBPD patrons who do not want or are unable to select their own books. Selections are made based on the reading interests of the patron.

WLBPD Equipment

  • Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM): The DTBM is required to play DB. The DTBM is able to play DB in ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2002, DAISY 2.02, or CEA-2003 formats. The DTBM can play audio files stored as AMR-WB+, MPEG I/Layer 3 (MP3), and RIFF WAV formats, either as part of a talking book or as stand-alone audio files. The player is equipped with a battery which, when fully charged, will provide approximately 29 hours of play time. Further instructions on operating the DTBM may be found here.

Are you downloading books from BARD and want to load more than one book onto a cartridge or a USB thumb/flash drive? If yes, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the navigational feature referred to as "Bookshelf." DTBM "Bookshelf" instructions in audio format.

  • Headphones: Lightweight Headphones are available upon request.
  • USB Adapters: If your USB thumb/flash drive sticking out of the side of your DTBM is getting in the way, or if inserting or keeping a USB drive in the USB port is difficult, Assistive Technology Port Adapters are available at no charge. The adapters allow you to insert the USB drive at a right angle and make the USB drive flush with the side of the machine. Please contact us to request an adapter.

Other Materials & Services

If you qualify for WLBPD service, you are also eligible for all of the following free services! Verification of membership with a NLS library such as WLBPD is required. In order for us to verify your library membership with any of these services, you are required to sign a WLBPD Release of Information Form. Click here to download a release form, or call (734) 327-4224 to have one mailed to you.

See the descriptions below for links to the application for each of these services.

  • Braille & Talking Books for Students: For answers to frequently asked questions about Braille, talking books, and other resources for students with disabilities in Michigan, check out Braille & Talking Books for Students: A Primer for Schools & Parents.
  • Learning Ally® Please note, there is an annual membership fee to participate in this service. Available in every grade level and most subjects, Learning Ally's textbook and literature titles are used nationwide. In addition to the classics, Learning Ally's digital library provides current editions of state adopted texts ensuring students learn from the same versions as their classmates. For more information and to apply for service, visit the Learning Ally website, email, or call (800) 221-4792.
  • Bookshare®: Offers tens of thousands of digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals, and assistive technology tools for all U.S. students with qualifying disabilities. Students in grades K-12 can receive this service at no charge, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For all others, there is a one-time set-up fee and an annual membership fee to participate in this service. For more information and to apply for service, visit the Bookshare website or call (650) 352-0198.
  • NFB Newsline: Thanks to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), eligible individuals can subscribe to the NFB Newsline service, which provides audio access to over 250 newspapers and a number of magazines, including some in Spanish. By using a touch-tone phone, content of newspapers and magazines can be heard 24-hours a day, 7 days a week via the use of a toll-free phone number. This site will provide you with the appropriate toll-free number based upon your home telephone number. Michigan newspapers include: the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, the Flint Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, the Lansing State Journal, and the Mining Journal. National newspapers include: the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, and USA Today. For more information and to apply for NFB Newsline service, visit the NFB Newsline website, email, or call (410) 659-9314.
  • Bibles: Aurora Ministries provides Old & New Testament Bibles on MP3 CD's, Digital Talking Book Cartridges, or through their Online Download Library to sight-impaired and print-handicapped persons. For more information, and to apply to receive materials, visit the Aurora Ministries website, email, or call (941) 748-3031.
  • Radio Reading Services: There are two radio reading services in southeast Michigan that provide news and information at no charge to individuals who cannot read regular print. Both services provide special transmitters for the use of their subscribers.

Apply for Service

Eligible individuals and/or institutions in Washtenaw County need only return a completed Application Form to WLBPD@AADL in order to become certified to receive service. You may print the Application Form from our website, pick one up at any AADL location, or contact the WLBPD@AADL at (734) 327-4224, or, to complete your application over the phone or have one mailed to you.

A "certifying authority" (someone other than the applicant's immediate family) must complete a portion of the application. However, in almost all cases AADL can sign an application as the certifying authority. See below for more information, or contact us if you have any questions.

Once an application is received and approved, a talking book player is mailed out and service begins. Players and materials are mailed at no charge as Free Matter for the Blind. Within a few weeks of the start of service, the applicant is contacted via telephone by a Library staff member to discuss the service and answer any questions. Library staff is available in-person, by email, and by phone, to assist patrons with learning how to operate their players and ordering materials.


Anyone residing in Washtenaw County who is unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of a temporary or permanent visual or physical limitation, or who is dyslexic, is eligible for service from WLBPD@AADL.

Qualifying Disabilities

  • Blind: Visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses or the widest diameter of visual field subtending an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
  • Deaf-Blind: Severe auditory impairment in combination with legal blindness.
  • Visually Impaired: Lacks visual acuity to read standard printed materials without aids or devices other than regular glasses.
  • Physically Disabled: Unable to read or use standard printed materials as a result of physical limitations. Examples include: without arms of the use of arms; impaired or weakened muscle and nerve control; limitations resulting from strokes, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, polio, arthritis.
  • Reading Disabled: Organic dysfunction of sufficient severity to prevent reading printed materials in a normal manner (this disability requires the signature of a medical or osteopathic doctor as certifying authority). For an NLS factsheet on Reading Disabilities, click here.

This service is available to both individuals and/or institutions (e.g., adult foster care facilities, retirement centers, nursing homes, hospitals, etc.) who have eligible individuals among their regular clientele. Such individuals are eligible for service in the name of the institution or in her or his own name.

Service to schools is provided directly from the Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) in Lansing. Please contact the BTBL at (800) 992-9012 if you would like to receive information on how to receive service as a school.

Who is a "certifying authority"?

In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, "competent authority" includes:

  • Doctors of medicine and osteopathy
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Optometrists
  • Registered nurses
  • Therapists
  • Professional staffs of hospitals, institutions, and public welfare agencies (e.g. social workers, case workers, counselors, home teachers, and superintendents)
  • In the absence of any of these, the form can be signed by a professional librarian or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the BTBL or by NLS (Please contact WLBPD@AADL if you have questions about "certifying authority")

In the case of a reading disability from organic dysfunction, "competent authority" is defined as:

  • Doctors of medicine or osteopathy only, who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines.


The Directory of Visually Impaired Services

The Directory of Visually Impaired Services has been published to create awareness of the hundreds of organizations, services, and activities that are available to those with visual impairments. The fourth issue has almost 800 listings, which are divided into 26 categories. The Directory was created for Michigan residents, but includes hundreds of resources that will benefit people across the United States and around the world.

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

The Bureau's Central Administrative Office and the Braille and Talking Book Library are both in Lansing. The residential BSBP Training Center is in Kalamazoo. The Bureau's Regional Offices are located in Detroit, Escanaba, Flint, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Saginaw. Click here for a full list of office contact information and a complete staff directory (alphabetical by name and then alphabetical by name at each location).