NLS Talking Books

Reading Time: 3 minutes

One Service that many Blind/Low Vision sign up for is the NLS Talking Book services. NLS means National Library Service. This is a service that anyone with a print disability can qualify for Audiobooks or Braille through NLS services. If you are low vision or even have difficulty turning a page, you will qualify for NLS. To find your State’s NLS library webpage, click on the following link, NLS Libraries by State.

How this works? Once approved a person can receive a free permanent loan NLS Player. Once received, the user will start receiving by post mail cartridges of Audiobooks in a special shipping plastic case. The user can pop the cartridge in the NLS Player and listen to the Audiobook. Once done, they can pop the cartridge back in the special plastic carrier, flip the mailing address and put it in the mailbox. All free. This also can be the same for Braille publications. The Braille books will come in large plastic shipping containers so it can be shipped back and forth from the Library.

Another option is the reader can also sign up for BARD services. Once approved to receive NLS Talking Books or Braille books, a reader can sign up for BARD online. BARD is an online service that you can directly download books to your iPhone, iPad, Android device or to Windows so it can be put on a flash drive to be plugged in the NLS Player. With this setup, you can download as many books you want in any order and keep it as long as you want. There are BARD Mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices. For Windows based, there is BARD Express that can easily look up books and download them. Or you can add them to Wish List to be added to your Apple or Android device. To learn more about BARD services and apply, Click on the following link, BARD Application.

One Advantage of the NLS Player is that it have very good navigation keys that a Blind/Low Vision can either see the brightly colored buttons or feel them. Each button feel differently so you can notice which button to press. The NLS Player also have special navigation that you can move by chapters or bookmarks. Suppose you are reading a Bible, you can move from Bible book to Bible book. Once you are in it, you can move by chapter by chapter. On top of that, you can add Bookmarks so you can go back to it anytime.

List of Quick links for References

List of NLS Libraries by State By clicking on the above link, you will be directed to a webpage listing all States where you can apply for NLS. Choose what State you are in, and fill out the application.
BARD Application Once you get approved for a NLS player, you then can click the above link to fill out a BARD application to get online access to download and read books.
How to use the NLS Player Instructions Here is a webpage on how to use the NLS player.

List of How-To Videos

Feel free to watch Videos below to learn more how to use the NLS Player, VBARD Mobile, and BARD Express.

How-To use the NLS Advanced Player This is a Training series by Hadley on how to use the Advanced NLS Player.
BARD Mobile ‘How-To Series’ This is the Youtube channel on how to use the BARD mobile app on Apple devices.
BARD Mobile for Android How-To Series This is a YoutTube Channel for BARD Mobile for Android devices.
BARD Express How-To Series for Windows PC This is a YouTube Channel on BARD Express for Windows PC.

By Daniel Hawkins

Daniel Hawkins is the owner and founder of the Inclusive Ability Initiative, LLC since November 2019. Daniel is DeafBlind with experience in Adaptive technology and Peer support Training. He also builds and maintain this website and approves all content.

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