People who are blind, visually impaired or have a physical disability may now download talking books to their Android phone or tablet, if they are registered with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in the Library of Congress. The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app is now available through Google Play for devices running Android OS 4.1 or later. The free app allows readers to download talking books from their NLS BARD accounts. Access to BARD is provided through your local cooperating libraries Rhode Island Talking Books Plus. BARD contains nearly 87,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats, with new selections added daily.
Download the free app and sign in with your BARD user name and password. You'll only need to do this the first time you use the app. The app contains a user manual that you may access through the Bookshelf feature.
"The BARD Mobile app allows searching, downloading, and reading books and magazines on one fully accessible, mainstream device," NLS director Karen Keninger said. "It's a library in your pocket." NLS released a BARD Mobile app for Apple iOS devices in 2013. The addition of an Android app "will give on-the-go access to an even larger number of patrons," Keninger said...
"BARD Mobile for Android continues our efforts to enhance the delivery and reading experience of NLS patrons," Keninger said. "Our iOS app has been very popular, with more than 36,000 mobile devices registered to use it. In the past year, demand for an Android version has increased dramatically. We're pleased to be able to meet the needs of the growing number of our patrons who use Android mobile devices."
The BARD Mobile Android How-to Series tutorial videos are available from the Library of Congress channel on YouTube. In the videos, Consumer Relations Officer Judith Dixon provides instruction on how to read an audiobook, navigate an audiobook, manage downloads, and use basic gestures with TalkBack, the Android screen reader service.
NLS, which is part of the Library of Congress, administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to residents of the United States and its territories and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness or physical disability makes reading regular print difficult. Through its national network of cooperating libraries, NLS mails digital audio players and books and magazines-in audio and in braille-directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, braille, and recorded formats. Select materials are also available online for download. Call Rhode Island Talking Books Plus at 401-574-9310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talking Books Plus is a program of the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services and is supported in part through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and materials and resources provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress.