National library promotes free braille, audiobooks

May 26, 2013

nls libraryOptometrists are encouraged to share the availability of access to the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which is part of the Library of Congress, with their patients. The NLS has been producing and supplying braille and audiobooks, and related equipment, free of charge to U.S. residents for more than 80 years. Around 270,000 patrons receive its bimonthly catalog of new audiobooks, and another 10,000 receive its bimonthly catalog of new braille books.

BARD expands

BARD is the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download service with nearly 30,000 audiobooks available.

In late 2012, more than 12,000 braille books and magazines, and more than 2,000 braille music materials, also became available on BARD, making it a “one-stop shop” for NLS patrons. BARD also added new features including a “wish list” and more search options.

NLS also is developing BARD mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.

Visit https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login//NLS.

Magazine program goes digital

NLS patrons may request free subscriptions to more than 40 audio magazines and 30 braille magazines. Popular titles include Consumer Reports, Money, Sports Illustrated, Ebony, and People.

The audio magazine program began transitioning from cassettes to digital flash cartridges this year. Patrons who had been getting individual cassettes for each magazine they subscribe to will now receive multiple magazines on a single cartridge. Audio and braille magazines also may be downloaded from BARD.

To sign up, visit www.loc.gov/nls/signup.html.

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