The National Library Service (NLS) has more than 120,000 digital books and over 120 magazines available for download from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) main page. Digital braille books can also be downloaded via BARD. BARD is a free service and requires a short online application to register.
To download books or magazines, you will need:
Download the free BARD app and use it to listen to your books on your smart phone or tablet. Apps are available for the following devices:
The BARD Mobile app for iOS is available from the App Store. It enables NLS patrons to download audiobooks and audio magazines directly to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad or iPod) provided they:
The BARD app for Android devices is available from the Google Play store. It enables NLS patrons to download audiobooks and audio magazines directly to Android devices, provided they:
An Android BARD app is also available at the Amazon App store for patrons who wish to download their books to a Kindle Fire device. Note that only second-generation Kindle Fire devices are equipped to run the BARD Mobile application. A list of compatible Kindle devices is listed below. Some of these Kindle Fire devices do not include accessibility features.
You can download books to a blank cartridge or flash drive and listen to them on the digital player that TBBL provides. You will also need either an empty cartridge (available for purchase) or a USB flash drive (thumb drive) that has at least one gigabyte (1 GB) of storage.
Bookshelf Mode: When you have multiple books or magazines on your cartridge or flash drive, you need to use "bookshelf mode" to select the book you want to listen to:
Additional instructions for playing multiple books (Bookshelf Mode).
BARD Express is Windows-based software that simplifies searching for, downloading, managing, and transferring BARD audio materials to cartridges. BARD Express:
To get BARD Express, download the software from the Additional Links section of your BARD account. If your BARD account has become inactive and you would like to try out BARD Express, call your Bard Administrator at 800-342-3688 to reactivate your account.
NLS has provided some BARD Express video tutorials that can view or listen to.
The digital player has been pre-programmed to play the downloaded audio books and magazines. Due to digital rights management restrictions, BARD digital books will not play on your computer.
There are also some third-party players that are compatible with NLS downloadable books and magazines:
NLS also maintains a list of commercial players compatible with NLS Digital Talking Books.
There are also digital player firmware updates that are periodically available from NLS. Digital players shipped to patrons will have current firmware upgrades installed. This site lists software version enhancements and changes such as the ability to use a "bookshelf" mode that allows users to navigate among multiple books or magazines downloaded on one USB flash drive or blank cartridge or among multiple magazines received by subscription via US Mail on a digital cartridge.
The digital player can also play mp3 and WAV audio files. Create a folder on your USB flash drive named audio+podcasts. (Be sure to use the plus 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.
If you have a TBBL account, you can fill out an online application for BARD service. Please note that there are separate applications for individuals, children and teens, and institutions (schools, hospitals, libraries, etc.).
You can then search for and download audio or braille books from the NLS BARD website.
The National Library Service (NLS) provides additional information bout BARD, including:
Some additional TBBL pages that may be of interest:
Questions about BARD or your talking book library service? Call us at (800) 342-3688, Monday through Friday to speak to a library staff member or leave a message. Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.