NLS is a free library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability or other print disability that makes it difficult to read or hold regular print materials. Our collection rivals any library’s in selection, size, and scope, with books in braille for readers of all ages and interests: Bestsellers. Biographies. Romances. Mysteries. Westerns. And, of course, books by, about, and for people with disabilities. Plus dozens of popular and special-interest magazines.
NLS also has materials you won’t find anywhere else in braille. Cookbooks, for instance. How-to guides for gardening, knitting, card games, and other hobbies. Travel guides. First aid manuals. Books on health and wellness.
Many of these books and magazines are available in electronic braille and can be instantly downloaded—anytime, anywhere—from BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download service. BARD and the BARD Mobile app are designed to work seamlessly with refreshable braille displays. Even more books are available in hard-copy braille that patrons can receive and return by mail, postage free. And as an NLS patron, you can order hard-copy braille books for long-term use—cookbooks or religious materials, for instance, or popular titles or series that you want to return to over and over.
NLS also partners with the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing to distribute currency readers to eligible individuals, free of charge. The currency reader announces a note’s value in three ways, including a pattern of vibrations.
Have questions? Ready to apply? Visit the NLS website or email [email protected] to find out how to connect with your local NLS network library. You can also complete a short online form to request more information, or call 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323) and follow the prompts.
Reading allowed me to learn about lives different from my own. Discovering NLS when I was in middle school dramatically increased my access to stories, books, and the world.— NLS patron
NLS also produces resource materials on a variety of topics related to blindness and visual impairment. Below are links to some of them, including our guide to resources for individuals who are deafblind, as well as for parents and professionals who work with them.
Deafblindness Resources curates resources on topics related to deafblindness, book lists on those topics and books about deafblindness in the NLS collection, and contact information of the organizations listed in this guide.
Currency Reader is a program partnering NLS with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to provide a compact device that announces a cash note’s value in one of three ways: voice, pattern of tones, or pattern of vibrations. Devices are distributed free of charge to eligible individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Blindness and Visual Impairment lists information and assistance organizations that provide direct services to people who are blind or visually impaired, including assistance and advisory services, information and referral services, and counseling and employment programs.
Braille Embossers provides an alphabetical listing of braille embossers, which are similar to ink printers but emboss braille characters onto paper for tactile reading, listing machines for personal use at home, the office, or mass production.
About Braille shares general information about the history of braille, the life of Louis Braille, the braille alphabet, technological advances in braille, and braille educators and producers.
Braille Information lists information related to NLS resources including music materials in braille, braille courses and certification, braille magazines and publishers, and other resources.
BARD Access page shares steps to begin using Braille and Audio Reading Download service and lists information on how to begin using BARD Mobile and BARD Express.
Explore the variety of NLS Informational Publications on issues related to blindness, visual impairment, or physical disabilities, as well as compilations of current resources on many topics of interest to NLS readers and those who provide services to them.