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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AccessWorld Teaser: BARD Express Provides Talking Books and Magazines When and Where You Want Them

Date: 2/21/2017

by Bill Holton, AccessWorld contributor

Just because you’ve lost your sight, it definitely does not mean you have lost your desire and ability to read books, magazines and newspapers. AFB has produced a comprehensive primer on accessible reading. In this primer we trace the very first accessible books and magazines to the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS,) where they still produce recordings known as Talking Books. Perhaps you are already familiar with this excellent service because you regularly receive NLS book cartridges in the mail, which you play using the free on-loan NLS player. If not, visit the National Library Service homepage or call 1-888-657-7323 to get signed up.

Currently, the easiest way for a new NLS patron to obtain Talking Book titles is to contact your NLS regional library and request a book, or enjoy one of the occasional selections that match your reading history your librarian may periodically send your way. You can also subscribe to a supported magazine, such as People or Sports Illustrated and each new issue will be sent out on an NLS cartridge for you to listen to, and then return.

You can also download NLS titles directly from the BARD website. However before you can listen to these recorded books and magazines you must first transfer them to a blank NLS cartridge. This does require some basic browser and file management skills. BARD downloadable titles arrive in archived .zip files. These files must be located in your downloads folder, unzipped, then copied to the blank cartridge. New accessible computer users may find this task daunting, and not feel it’s worth the effort. Happily, NLS recently released a Windows program called BARD Express. This free, easy-to-run software makes it easy to find some great new reads and add them to your Digital Talking Book player.

Want to get started? Find everything you need to know about this app in the February 2017 issue of AccessWorld.

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