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Resources for Educators

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Download Site where Library patrons and NLS-certified institutions can access books online. Books from the BARD catalog can be downloaded onto a user's flash drive, computer or other external drive.

Getting started:
To download books from the BARD site, borrowers need:

  • High-speed Internet service such as DSL or cable
  • Permission to download and unzip files
  • An active e-mail address
  • A player capable of playing NLS-produced digital talking books. 

First-time visitors apply for BARD with the link provided on the BARD site.  NLS will verify that the applicant is registered with an NLS-participating library. Readers then receive login information by e-mail.

  • Login will be e-mail account used to start the account.
  • Password will be assigned and will need to be changed the first time a borrower logs in.

Finding a book
More than 20,000 audio books are now available for download at the BARD site.  Many searching methods are available, including by author, title, subject, narrator, and keyword.   Avid readers might prefer to check the “Recently Added” link to find new titles.

Downloading a book for use on the NLS player
Downloaded books and magazines will not play on a computer.  However, users can copy the files to a flash drive and insert the drive in the USB port on the NLS player.  Ordinary USB flash drives (also known as “thumb drives” or “jump drives”) will work with the NLS player, and blank book cartridges will be available for purchase from the Iowa Department for the Blind in fall 2009.

Step-by-step instructions
At the end of each book annotation is a link labeled “Download Book Title, Book Number”.   Magazine issues do not have an annotation, and the screen will display only a link labeled “Download Magazine Title, Issue”. 

  • Press Enter on the “Download” link for the desired book or magazine issue.
  • When asked whether to SAVE or OPEN, choose OPEN.
  • The book will download.  This may take from 3 to 30 minutes.

When the book finishes downloading, you will be placed in a list of files. These are the files that make up the book, and all of them are needed for playing the book.   

To move the files to a flash drive or blank cartridge:

  • Press Control Key-A.  This will select all the files.
  • Press Control Key-C. This will copy all the files to the clipboard.
  • Plug your flash drive into your computer.   If, after a few seconds, your computer opens an autoplay window, press Escape to close the window.
  • Find the flash drive in your directory.  Usually the following sequence will work:
  • Press the Windows key-M. This will take you to the desktop.
  • Press M until you find "my computer." Press Enter.
  • Press the down arrow until you find your flash drive.  It may be called "removable disk," or it could have another name.  When you find it, press Enter.
  • Press Control-V.  This will paste the files onto the flash drive.   Note: The files must be pasted in the root directory of the flash drive, so you  should not store them in a new folder on the flash drive.

Once you have pasted the files onto the flash drive, it is ready to be played in the NLS player.

For more information:
Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone:  (515) 281-1333 or toll-free in Iowa: (800) 362-2587

Non-NLS institutions, such as nursing homes, academic institutions and hospitals, can also provide access to BARD services by filling out a short application on the NLS website. Click here for more information.