The following collections are available from the library, either onsite or via mail service, or from our BARD download system or the BARD mobile app for iOS devices, or from other agencies we work with. To borrow talking books, special format playback machines, and/or braille books, you must register with the library by meeting eligibility requirements, submitting an application, and providing proper certification. Materials are sent to registered borrowers by using the U.S. Postal Service's Free Matter for the Blind and Physically Handicapped service.

  • Talking Books: These include titles offered through the National Library Service for the Blind and Phsycially Handicapped (NLS); titles recorded at regional libraries of the National Library Service, including the Andrew Heiskell Library; and titles available through interlibrary loan from cooperating libraries. They are currently available in two formats: cassettes and digital cartridges.
    • Audio Book Studio collection: These titles were recorded by volunteers at the Andrew Heiskell Library Audio Book Studio. These titles are found in the PAWS catalog.
    • Digital Books: Talking books available on cartridges from the library or by downloading from the BARD website. Patrons should contact the library to set up their BARD subscription. 
    • Cassette Books: These books are recorded on cassettes. The cassette talking books are being phased out by NLS.
    • Talking Book Players: The library loans talking book playback machines free of charge, as long as a patron borrows at least one book or magazine per year.
  • Magazines: An annotated list of magazines available from the National Library Service in braille, digital audio (cartridge or download), and digital braille. Contact the library to subscribe to audio and braille magazines. In addition, magazines recorded by local Regional NLS libraries are also available on cassette. Non-NLS magazine available: Choice Magazine Listening.
  • Talking Books and Magazines in Many Languages: Although the primary languages in the collection are English and Spanish, materials in French, German, and other languages are also available on a limited basis. Contact the library for more information.
  • Braille books: These titles are offered through NLS and include grade 3 and grade 1 braille. In addition, patrons who have refreshable braille displays or braille printers may register for BARD, the National Library Service's online digital book service, in order to download braille books. Contact the library to set up their BARD subscription.
  • Large Print Books: May be borrowed on-site with a New York Public Library card.
  • Reference Materials a small collection available in standard print, large print, and braille for use in the library.
  • Music Services: Scores and music instruction on cassette, records, and in braille and large print are available from the National Library Service's Music Services division. Call 1-800-424-8567 for assistance. 
  • National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Newsline: Hundreds of newspapers are available in synthetic speech for eligible readers using a touch-tone telephone. People receiving braille or talking books (cassettes) from the library may register for this service through the library or directly from NFB by calling 1-866-504-7300.
  • Children's Books in standard print and large print, as well as in Talking Book format and in braille or twin-view, are available on site for checkout.