Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Accessing BARD Talking Books or Braille on your Apple mobile device

Did you know that persons who are enrolled in the National Library Service (NLS) program for talking books and braille can download books onto an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? BARD Mobile is the latest service offered by NLS. The NLS program in Georgia is called GLASS, which stands for Georgia Library for Accessible Statewide Services.

BARD Mobile provides convenient access to books and magazines any time, 24/7. It is very easy to use. You start by going to Apple’s app store on your Apple mobile device and downloading the free BARD Mobile app. Anyone can download the app, but only eligible and enrolled NLS patrons can actually use it. You will be prompted to agree to terms of service and enter your BARD login information. After that, it’s all fun!

Picture of BARD mobile with VanessaYou will want to build your personal bookshelf by browsing for recently added audio and/or braille books and magazines. The other option is to browse BARD, which gives you full access to the online catalog. If you are browsing BARD, you will want to “add to Wish List” to prepare a title for download. If you are browsing recently added titles, you simply select the title from the display list. To download from your Wish List of titles, you select the title you want to download from your Wish List option. The menu will prompt you to see if you intend to download a selected title. Select OK, and then wait for the chime to let you know you have successfully downloaded a title. It’s that simple!

After downloading, you can listen to your audio book or read your braille with a synced, refreshable braille display. You will not have to worry about returning the materials. You have the convenience of selecting and reading materials whenever it is convenient to you. There are no limits on the number of items you can have digitally checked out. The BARD app makes it easy to navigate within a digital book, using commands very much like the commands on the NLS digital talking book machines. The app also provides you with menu options to delete items that you have already read or no longer want stored on your device.

Lots of people ask, “Why Apple and not for Android devices?” Apple has proven to be a much easier platform for the software developers to work with. NLS engineers are working to create an Android app, but they are not quite there yet. We promise to keep you posted when that app is released.

For more information on BARD, read the online BARD Mobile User Guide. If you are not currently enrolled in the NLS program, contact your local GLASS library. Our statewide toll-free number is 800-248-6701. A Readers Advisor will be happy to help you become enrolled in GLASS and get you reading again.