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Do You BARD?

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Digital Talking Book Cartridge and ContainerDigital Talking Book Cartridge and ContainerIf Google can be used as a verb, why not BARD? BARD is the acronym for the National Library Service's Braille and Audio Reading Download service. If you're registered for Talking Book service from the Andrew Heiskell Library and have a digital player, either a National Library Service (NLS) machine or one you purchased from an outside vendor such as HumanWare, you're probably already downloading books. But if not, what are you waiting for?

People already receiving digital books on cartridge overwhelmingly agree that they're easier to use and the sound quality is superior to that of the soon-to-be discontinued cassette format. But as good as getting digital books on cartridge is, being able to download them from BARD is even better. All you need is a high speed internet connection, an email address, and knowledge of navigating the web, filling out online forms, downloading large items, and unzipping files.

Once you're signed up for BARD, you'll be able to download digital books from NLS 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the books will always be available! No more waiting for that book you must read now. No more waiting for people to return the books on your request list. No more waiting for the Post Office to get books to you. Now that's what I call instant gratification.

So, if you haven't signed up for BARD yet, now is a great time! Just fill out the form linked to on the instructions page. And if you haven't received your player yet, call us at 212-206-5400 or email us and we'll get a machine out to you right away.

For people already downloading NLS books, BARD has made a change for the better! Since April 2009, NLS has managed BARD and they did a dynamite job. But the plan was always for the day to come when the Andrew Heiskell Library would take over the management and support of this service for our own readers. That day came on July 22, 2010.

From now on, Andrew Heiskell Library staff will help you with:

  • Approving BARD applications and managing accounts for eligible readers within two business days.
  • Approving your requests to authorize third-party digital players.
  • Maintaining readership records.
  • Resetting passwords.
  • Instructions on how to download a digital book and save it to a cartridge from a personal computer.

For people using a NLS player, the National Library Service has released a software upgrade. If you haven't yet done so, you can download version 2.1.6 at the NLS Firmware site.

Other useful links:

(Co-authored by Mark McCluski, Head of the Andrew Heiskell Library)

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