BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)
Digital Talking Books and Braille from the National Library Service (NLS) are available for download from the NLS BARD main page or from the BARD Mobile app for use on Apple mobile devices. There are more than 50,000 digital books and over 90 magazines available for download from this site, and new titles are constantly being added.
To apply to use BARD, you must have an Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library account and an active email address. The BARD application may only be filled out online:
Once you have been verified as an eligible and active Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library user, which usually takes about two business days, you will be sent an email with login information, your username and a temporary password.
You can then search for and download audio books from the NLS BARD website or through the BARD Mobile app for use on Apple mobile devices.
What you need to download and listen to talking books:
- A computer with high-speed internet access.
- A National Library Service digital talking book machine issued by the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library or a purchased third-party player (see list of compatible third party players below).
- The ability to unzip the downloaded files and move them to an empty talking book cartridge (available for purchase), a USB flash drive (thumb drive) that has at least one gigabyte (1GB) of storage, or to a third-party player. BARD digital talking books will not play on your computer or mp3 player.
- An Apple mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod with the BARD Mobile app installed on it. Talking books downloaded onto Apple mobile devices do not need to be unzipped.
BARD download instructions using a PC | BARD download instructions using a Mac
To play multiple books or magazines from one flash drive or cartridge:
- Hold down the Play/Stop button until a beep sounds to put your digital player in Bookshelf mode.
- Use the Fast Forward (FF) and Rewind (RW) buttons, to the right and left of the Play/Stop button to move from one book or magazine to another. The player will announce the title of each title. Hit the Play/Stop button when the desired title is announced and it will begin.
Third-party players compatible with NLS downloadable books include:
- APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager
- APH Book Port Plus
- APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager
- Apple iOS mobile devices (for use with BARD Mobile app)
- Apex BrailleNote/VoiceNote
- HIMS BookSense
- HIMS BookSense DS
- HIMS BookSense XT
- HIMS Sense Notetaker
- Victor Reader Stream by Humanware
- Victor Reader Stratus by Humanware
- LevelStar Icon
- Milestone 212
- Milestone 312
- PLEXTALK PTN2
- PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1
To add a purchased player to your BARD account, log into BARD, go to Update Account Settings, choose the Add a Purchased Player link, then choose the player from the drop down menu. You will receive an email from the library acknowledging your request and another email from the manufacturer of the player with a link. Connect your player to your computer, and click the link sent from the manufacturer to get a file with a security key for your player. Save the file to the main directory of your player to activate the player. If you have difficulty using the player, please contact the manufacturer.
Playing MP3 and WAV Files
The digital player will also play mp3 and WAV audio files. Create a folder on your USB flash drive named audio+podcasts. (Be sure to use the + sign between the words audio and podcasts). Put your mp3 or WAV files in this folder. The audio files will then play in sequence based on their file names.