Talking Books is a service of the National Library Service (NLS), Library of Congress. People who are certified as legally blind, or otherwise unable to comfortably read print, may access over 50,000 titles in audio format at no cost.
Until now, participants have been sent audio materials on tape, playable on special machines provided by a cooperating local library. Now, however, the books may be downloaded through a free application onto portable iDevices, making the service much more accessible.
The app provides access to Braille and audio materials directly from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). With BARD Mobile, audio materials may be played on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. If the device is connected to a refreshable Braille display through Bluetooth, Braille materials can also be accessed.
Before using the BARD Mobile app, a user must be registered with a library in the NLS network. To apply, find a cooperating library at www.loc.gov/nls/find.html or call 1-800-NLS-READ.