BARD Mobile App
The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app is now available through the Apple App Store. The app, which is free, allows readers to download audio and braille books from their NLS BARD accounts.
NLS Director Karen Keninger said, "The BARD Mobile app allows searching, downloading and reading braille and talking books and magazines on one fully accessible, mainstream device. It's a library in your pocket."
She explained, "With BARD Mobile, patrons can play talking books and magazines on their iOS devices. Patrons may also read electronic braille books, magazines and music scores using a refreshable braille display connected to their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch through Bluetooth." Patrons will be able to receive their reading materials faster and won't have to be weighted down with bulky volumes or playback equipment.
BARD Mobile will make reading not only more accessible, but more portable. "We anticipate that significant numbers of readers will adopt the app as their primary reading device," Keninger said. "As a growing percentage of blind and disabled Americans adopt mobile devices, the app will provide a highly valued avenue to NLS materials."
Eligible users may even find the free braille and talking-book program more attractive. Keninger explained, "This new, instant and convenient package will increase the appeal of audio and braille reading." NLS is also working on an app for Android devices.
We are pleased to announce the official transition of the NLS audio magazines from cassette to digital cartridge. Users who had been receiving cassette magazines have now been getting them on digital cartridge for a few months, and we invite any interested user, especially our newer ones, to also sign up for subscriptions. There are a wide variety of magazines to choose from. These magazines are also all available for download using BARD.
There are a few significant changes to the digital magazine program. The most important change is that magazines are being mailed directly from the producers, and must be returned just like the audio books you receive. The loan period for weekly magazines is 3 weeks, and the loan period for monthly magazines is 6 weeks. If you receive several magazines, you will most likely have several cartridges in circulation. The return mailing card will have the producer's address and the usual Free Matter postage already printed on it, so you return magazines the same way you return books.
With the introduction of loan periods for NLS digital magazines, users will also receive overdue notices if their cartridges are not returned on time. Users will be allowed 3 overdue cartridges before their magazines are put on hold. However, magazine overdues will not impact a user's book service from our library, and as always, if you download your magazines directly from BARD there are no loan periods to worry about.
To distinguish magazines from books, the NLS has introduced distinctively colored mailing containers and cartridges for the digital magazines. The mailing containers are a bright red color with the Library of Congress book flag logo on the lid, and the cartridges are blue with a print/Braille label that includes the word "Magazine" on it.
Lastly, if you subscribe to several magazines you may find multiple titles on a cartridge. To jump from one title to another you can use the player's bookshelf feature. Simply press and hold the green Play/Stop button until the player beeps and says "bookshelf," then use the fast forward or rewind buttons to toggle through the magazine titles. Once you hear the title you want, press the Play/Stop button again.
Talking Book Outreach
If you are a member of a group, church, or other activity that would like to learn about Talking Books, you can have a staff member come give a presentation. We will explain how the service works, demonstrate equipment, and even register new patrons. Just give us a call at 1-800-531-2063!
If you contribute to a newsletter or other publication and would like to include information about the Talking Book program, you are welcome to use any of the press releases found at http://www.loc.gov/nls/networkdocs/mediaservices/media_blitz/index.html.
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