The Talking Book Library, located at the Worcester Public Library, is funded in part by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The Library provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability.

Customers have access to more than 800,000 volumes of recorded books and magazines. Providing mail-order service by telephone, as well as immediate service on a walk-in basis, the Talking Book Library serves patrons of every age.  Recorded books can be found by searching the library's ONLINE CATALOG or calling the library with specific titles or authors. Future fiction and nonfiction audiocassette and Braille titles that will be added to the collection can be viewed in the NLSBPH Bestsellers Report at: http://www.loc.gov/nls/networkdocs/bestsellers/index.html An explanation of Source code is found by clicking the Background Information Link on the Bestsellers Report.

Tips for Better Talking Book Library Service

How to Play a Cassette Tape.

Each cassette has 4 tracks called sides. Every book begins with side 1. If the book requires more than one cassette, the second cassette starts with side 5, the third with side 9, and so on.

To start a cassette, push the "side" switch down to the left and then push the "play" key. At the end of side 1, turn the cassette over and side 2 will be ready to play without further adjustment. At the end of side 2, push the "side" switch down to the right, turn the cassette over again and play side 3. At the end of side 3, turn the cassette over and side 4 will be ready to play without further adjustment. To hear the first side of the next cassette, push the "side" switch back down to the left, insert the cassette into the player and repeat the steps above for sides 2, 3, 4.

Problems With Your Cassette Player

If a tape plays too fast and sounds like the Chipmunks, first make sure the speed switch is pushed down on the 15/16 side and that the variable speed control is pushed all the way to the left. If the speed switch and the variable speed control are in the correct positions and the tape is still running too fast, taking the cassette tape out of the player and slapping the broad side of the tape on  a hard surface will often correct the problem.

If the tape plays for a minute, then stops, or the volume fades as you're listening, plug the machine in and let it charge for a few minutes. Then try playing the tape again. If the problem persists try another tape. If that doesn't solve the problem, call the Talking Book Library for a replacement cassette player.

If the tape sounds like two sides are playing at once, it might simply be a bad tape. Try another tape to determine if it is the tape or the machine. If the problem continues with all tapes, call the Talking Book Library for a replacement.

If We Send You Damaged Tapes

The Talking Book Library staff tries very hard to inspect every book that is returned to the library, but inevitably patrons will sometimes receive a tape that is damaged. The staff wants to repair or replace those bad tapes so please put a rubber band around the damaged tape and make an X on the side of the return label which shows the Library's address.

Returning Cassette Books

To return a cassette book, simply turn the mailing label over so that the Talking Book Library address faces up. Give the book to your postal carrier or drop it in a mailbox. You will be less likely to run out of books if you return each one as soon as you finish it. Most customers automatically receive a new book when a book is returned.

How You Can Help

Open only one book container at a time so there's no chance that tapes from different books will get mixed together. Be sure all the tapes that belong in a container are inside the container before you send the book back to the Talking Book Library. The side label on the container indicates how many cassettes are in the container. Look in the upper right hand corner of the title label on the narrow side of the green container for that information. It will show 2C or 3C or the number of how many cassettes make up the book. Your help in making sure that all cassettes for a particular book are returned together is appreciated and insures that more complete books will be available for everyone who uses the Talking Book Library.

Rewind any tapes that you did not read all the way through on all four sides. To be sure a tape is rewound, place it in your cassette player with side one up and push the rewind button.

Call the Talking Book Library or send a note through regular mail or e-mail if you want to request books by a certain author or make any change to your service.

Let the Talking Book Library know if your interest areas change or you're getting too few or too many books.

Remember to put your name and address on the request lists you send to the Talking Book Library.

If you're planning to move, please let the Taking Book Library know your new address before the moving date and then call again when you know your new phone number.

If you are moving permanently to a different state, the Talking Book Library will transfer all your records to the regional library in your new state. That way the new library will have a list of what you've already read and you won't receive a book a second time unless you request it. It also saves you from filling out a new application.

Patrons who have more than one address and normally go back and forth according to the season should also notify the Talking Book Library when they're getting ready to make their seasonal moves. Books and magazines can be sent to to you anywhere in Massachusetts or in the United States. Two addresses can be permanently maintained for you in the TBL's computer files. It normally takes four to six weeks for magazines mailed to you by CMLS to change to your new address. If you leave a forwarding address with the U.S. Post Office, your CMLS magazines should follow you until CMLS makes the address change.

Please keep food, drink and heat sources away from your cassette player. All those things damage your machine and shorten its life.