BARD: Download Talking Books

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 160,000 digital books and over 60 magazines available for download from this site, and new titles are constantly being added.

If you are applying to joib our library as a new member, just check the box on the application indicating that you want to use BARD and give us your email address. You will automatically be signed up for BARD and get an email askig you to set up a password and login for the first time.

If you are already a Heiskell Library member and want to newly apply to use BARD, you  can either call or email us, give us your email address and a librarian will set you up with an account, or  The BARD application may be filled out online: 

Once you apply online at the links above, the library gets an email asking to verify that you're a member.  This usually takes about two business days, and when completed you will be sent an email with login information, your username and a temporary password.

When you log in the first time, you'll be asked to change your password to something you've selected yourself. You'll also be asked to agree to terms of use for the service.

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 or digital braille from the BARD Website or Mobile app:

  • 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


  • A mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod, Andriod phone or Tablet (eg Samsung) , or a Kindle Fire with the BARD Mobile app installed on it. Talking books downloaded onto mobile devices do not need to be unzipped.


  • Use the simplified interface of BARD Express, if you have a Windows computer.  BARD Express simplifies the process by providing a menu-driven interface, reducing the need to memorize a complex set of keyboard commands. What does this mean? BARD Express can be used with as few as four keys, while providing advanced functionality for the more adventurous user. More information at this link.


  • A refreshable braille display


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. 
  • -- OR--  you can listen to each title in the order they come up. When one book finishesm, the next one will automatically start. 

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 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.

Helpful Information