Talking Book and Braille library services are available at no charge to any school serving eligible students. Eligibility is determined as one of the following conditions:
- Visual impairment - with correction and regardless of optical measurement - prevents the reading of standard printed material.
- Visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or the widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
- Physical limitation prevents the use of standard printed materials (for example, cannot hold a book or turn pages).
- Reading/learning disability is physically based and severe enough to prevent the reading of printed material in a normal manner
(must be certified by a medical doctor, who may consult with colleagues in associated disciplines).
An Annual Application for Education Institutions must be submitted for each participating school every school year. A certification form must also be submitted every school year for each eligible student who will be using the service.
Eligible students who are active readers are also permitted to have individual accounts for use at home. An individual application must be submitted for these readers.
Each school account can have a digital talking book player and a small circulating collection of digital talking book cartridges. School accounts are able to borrow books from NLS Braille and Print/Braille collections. Also, school accounts can have a BARD account and can download talking books, magazines, and web braille books.
Service to your school will be suspended by the last Wednesday in May of each year. Service will be resumed as soon as we receive your certification and application forms for the new school year. All talking books and equipment should be returned to us by the end of each school year.
If students prefer to continue library service during the summer, it is recommended that an individual application be submitted so that library service can be transferred from school to home.
Each school account must have a contact person; it is recommended that the contact person is a staff person or teacher who assists eligible students at the facility. The contact person is responsible for the books and equipment on loan to the school, ensuring that books and equipment are used by certified students only, and that books and equipment are returned to the library in accordance to policy.
If the school contact person submits an individual application for any student, it is necessary to include contact information for home – parent/guardian name/address/and phone number. The library will contact the parent/guardian to set up library service for the student at home.
Library Service Options
Upon receipt of your application, a librarian will call to set up library service. We will outline the service options available to your facility and discuss with you your service preferences. Any questions can also be answered at that time.
Books by Mail Service: A digital talking book player and books in digital cartridge format are mailed to your facility postage-free, and are returned to us postage-free. To return, you simply turn around the mailing card located on the outside of each mailing box and put in the mail. All books are loaned for one month and should be returned within a month of the date that appears below your address on the mailing label.
Books will be mailed to you automatically – when you return a book, another is automatically sent in its place. Selection is based on general reading preferences and reading levels set up by you with your librarian. You may also select books yourself from catalogs we send you, or from the online catalog located at the library website. If you’d prefer to opt out of the automatic service and only receive what you’ve selected, please let us know and we will accommodate your preferences. Please remember, you must order at least 2 books per year to remain active in the service.
Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD): With BARD you may download both audio and Braille books. Once we’ve set up your library account, you may apply for BARD. Please go to the Download Books with BARD page at our website, and click on the “online application” link to fill out the BARD application. Once you’ve submitted the application, we will verify your account and send you an email with login information.
Books are downloaded to your computer and must be unzipped. Audio book files can be transferred to either a standard flash drive (no larger than 8 GB) or a purchased NLS-type cartridge and played on the digital talking book player provided with the service, or a verified personal player. Please review the Download Books with BARD page at our website for further information.
BARD Mobile: You may now download books directly to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. You may listen to downloaded audio books on your iOS device through the BARD Mobile app. You may also read Braille books by connecting your device to a refreshable Braille display.
BARD Mobile is available through the Apple App store, best searchable using “BARD Mobile.” To use BARD Mobile, you must first have an active account in BARD. Please refer to the BARD section above for BARD application instructions.