Locate a book, magazine, or musical score. Search the NLS catalog and learn how to acquire special-format materials from many sources.
Braille & Audio Books – Downloaded or Delivered
The advantages of getting books from NLS are that they are free, easy to get, available in braille and audio with human-voice narrators.
Patrons may download braille and talking books through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD), a web-based service that provides access to thousands of braille and talking books, magazines, and music scores available. Books and magazines may be also downloaded through the BARD Mobile app in audio and braille, which requires a Bluetooth connection to a refreshable braille display. The BARD website and mobile app are password-protected, and all files are in an electronically downloadable form of compressed audio or formatted braille. BARD is available to registered users of NLS through their local braille and talking book library. You will need a free digital talking-book player from NLS or a personal device such as an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet or the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Digital audiobook players come in three types:
- NLS Digital Talking-Book Players (free)
- NLS-compatible digital talking-book players (for purchase)
- BARD Mobile is available at the App Store External for iOS or the Play Store External for Android (free)
- More reading material can be found through accessible mobile reading apps on which you can read non-NLS books.
All materials are free and easy to get in a variety of formats.
- Braille – Braille books and magazines on paper are delivered directly to your door at no cost.
- Talking books and magazines – Audiobooks and audio magazines are delivered to your door at no cost. You return them the same way, through postage-free mail. Digital talking-book players are also provided for free to patrons.
- Music — NLS provides music appreciation materials, music scores, and music instruction in braille, audio, and large print.
To get books if you live in the United States or its territories, contact your local braille and talking book library. Find a Library or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) to be connected with the library serving your area. If you are unable to locate a library or wish additional assistance, please contact NLS via [email protected], call (202) 707-5100 or toll-free 1-800-424-8567, or request an application packet be mailed to you. To get books if you are a United States citizen living overseas: Email the overseas librarian at NLS or call (202) 707-5100.
Your local library can send your reading material automatically if you tell them your favorite subjects or magazines. Some local libraries also have Web and email ordering options. Contact your local talking book library for more information.