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NLS Services to American Citizens Abroad

Overseas patrons have full access to the NLS collection of books and magazines, including recreational and informational reading for adults and children at all grade levels, in audio and in braille. The overseas service librarian will assist patrons in selecting and receiving materials.

Book Circulation

Books are mailed to you at regular intervals in hard-copy braille or on audio cartridge, as you prefer. The number of books and the frequency of mailings will align with your stated preference. If you do not indicate how many books you want, we will mail four per month. If you request that we select books for you on your application, we will do so according to your indicated reading interests.

You may keep books as long as you need, but please return them when you have finished. Reverse the mail card, exposing the NLS address, place in the cartridge container slot, and put the book back into the mail.

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

In addition to by-mail service, overseas patrons may access NLS materials via the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). BARD allows eligible readers to download books and magazines in audio or braille 24 hours a day. Talking books may be played on NLS-authorized digital players. Patrons may also download materials to their iOS or Android devices using the NLS BARD Mobile app, which requires a Bluetooth connection to a braille display to read ebraille materials.

To register for BARD, you will need to have a computer or mobile device with high-speed Internet access (not dial-up), moderate computer knowledge, and a valid email address. If you wish to download books to play on an NLS-authorized digital player, you will also need a flash cartridge and a cable for connecting it to your computer.

BARD requires the completion of a separate online application. Once patrons have registered, they can begin downloading NLS digital talking books and ebraille.

Book Selection Using Our Publications

Readers who request talking books receive a free subscription to the bimonthly large-print or audio publication Talking Book Topics (TBT), which lists new audio titles added to the collection.

Readers who requested braille service receive a free subscription to the bimonthly braille or large-print publication Braille Book Review (BBR), which lists new braille titles added to the collection. The braille version of BBR also includes an abridged version of TBT, which provides a one-line description of talking book titles listed in the full publication.

Both bimonthly publications include order forms, which can be completed out and sent to the overseas librarian. Patrons also may contact the overseas librarian and ask for a bibliography and/or minibibliography on a subject of your interest.

Book Selection Using Our Computer Catalog

Audio and braille materials produced by NLS and other organizations are listed in the NLS Union Catalog. Once you have located titles of interest in the catalog, you may send the overseas librarian your selections via email at [email protected] .


NLS supplies magazines on digital audio cartridges and in hard-copy braille. Most of these titles are listed in Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review. In addition, we can send you a list of other magazines available through the NLS network. Audio magazines on digital cartridge should be returned, but braille magazines may be discarded.

Reference Service

We provide information about issues related to visual and physical disabilities in large print and braille formats. Topics include assistive devices, tips for travelers with disabilities, and many other topics. Visit the Reference Publications area of our site for descriptions and links to online resources. Let us know if you have specific questions by sending a request to [email protected] .


Music scores and instructional materials in audio and braille formats are available free directly from the NLS Music Section. You may inquire about this service and materials by emailing [email protected] .

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