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BARD Frequently Asked Questions

What is BARD?
BARD is a free Braille and Audio Download service for active Talking Book patrons registered with a National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped network library. Along with Digital Talking Books (DBs), BARD includes more than 40 magazine titles.

How do I register?
Go to Application Instructions on the BARD login page to apply for an account. You must be an active Talking Book Patron and have an email address.

How do I get to the books and magazines?

Once you've received your registration acceptance and your login information, log into BARD to browse and download books and magazines. You may also browse the NLS catalog and limit your search to NLS Digital Books (an option in a dropdown menu). There is a Downloadable Talking Book link for each book available for download. You'll find the link when you click on the book title in the search results. When you click the download link, you will be taken to the BARD Login page. You will need high-speed internet access for downloading.

What machines will play the downloaded books and magazines?
You must use an authorized player, either one from NLS provided by the library (the Standard or Advanced Model) or a compatible, commercial machine you've purchased and registered with BARD. The audio books will not play on your computer.

What do I use to store the book or magazine?
When using the NLS Digital Book Player, you may store the book or magazine on a NLS-Flash blank cartridge or a USB flash drive. If you are using a commercial machine, check the documentation for what type of storage media is used.

What kind of Flash drive do I use?

Blank NLS digital cartridge

Flash drive

  • Also called jump drive, thumb drive, it fits in USB port on the side of the NLS machine.
  • Some brands work better than others; get those without built-in U3 software. Kingston and HP make drives that usually work with BARD files.
  • You'll need 1G to 8G of memory; those with more memory may not work.
  • Advantage: Available locally at most discount, electronic, or department stores; can be found for $10-$15; available in larger sizes that hold more books.

Can I store more than one book on the same cartridge, or flash drive?
Yes. You'll be able to listen to the books by accessing the Bookshelf feature on your NLS Digital Book Player. See the Operating Instructions for either the Standard or Advanced Model of the Digital Talking Book Machine.

How do I download books or magazines from BARD?

Downloading from BARD does require some basic computer skills, including navigating the web, filling out online forms, and downloading, unzipping, and transferring files. If you have experience with these processes, downloading from BARD is not difficult. These BARD Download Instructions can get you started.

Since computer software and configuration vary widely, as well as any screen readers or other assistive technologies you may be using, library staff can offer limited download support. If you are able to visit the library, we also have a computer drop-in center, run by experienced volunteers, who can assist you.