About the Service


BTBL has braille and audio book titles similar to what you would find at your public library. The library also offers magazines, movies, newspapers and more! Read about what else the library has on the page: What Can Be Borrowed.

Completely Free

Services are free to all eligible readers. Books (and the equipment needed to use the library’s audio books) are mailed postage-free to and from library patrons. There are no fines or fees for overdue or lost materials.


Eligible readers include Northern California residents who cannot read standard print material in the usual manner due to visual or physical disability. You must obtain a signature from a competent authority (doctor, etc.) confirming your inability to read standard print material. Read more on the page: Application for BTBL Service

BTBL Patron Handbook

The Patron Handbook includes helpful information about how to use our free service.

Reader Advisors

Each patron is assigned a reader advisor to help with his/her library service. Reader advisors can help with book orders, author or subject requests, machine problems, placing a temporary hold on service, and much more! Please do not hesitate to contact your reader advisor with any questions or concerns you may have about your service.

Presentations and Outreach

BTBL provides customizable presentations and demonstrations of the service to groups of all sizes. Demonstrations include: an overview of the service, eligibility requirements, application instructions, a demonstration of the talking book player, information on how to download books directly to a smart phone or tablet, and a Q&A session.

An Outreach Librarian is available for the following services:

  • Give presentation and demonstrations
  • Attend meetings and support groups
  • Host booths at expos, educational events, and information fairs
  • Visit libraries, schools, and institutions

To schedule a presentation or outreach event, please contact BTBL.

At this time, our outreach is 100% virtual.

About Us

BTBL is a branch of the California State Library which cooperates with the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS). The books and players are provided by the Library of Congress. The California State Library directly administers the program in Northern California. The Braille Institute Library in Los Angeles, which is also funded by the State Library, serves residents of Southern California.

Photo of a woman reading to another woman with a guide dog at the library.