BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

Talking Books and Braille Center Hours

Sun 12 - 5
Mon 10 - 6
Tue 9 - 8
Wed 9 - 8
Thu 9 - 8
Fri 12 - 6
Sat 10 - 6

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) offers downloadable digital audio books and magazines to eligible NLS patrons. There are more than 20,000 digital books and over 40 magazines available for download, with new titles being added regularly. BARD is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, making service faster and more convenient than traditional mail delivery. To apply for BARD fill out BARD’s online application. Once BARD has verified your eligibility you will receive an email with your username and a temporary password.


What you need to download books

  • A computer with high-speed Internet access

  • An active email address

  • A digital player issued to you from an NLS regional library (or you can buy a third-party player)

  • The ability to unzip the downloaded files and move them to either an empty cartridge (available for purchase) or to your USB flash drive (thumb drive) that has at least one gigabyte (1 GB) of storage


Digital players

The NLS digital Talking Book player has been pre-programmed to play downloaded BARD audio books. Due to digital rights management restrictions, BARD digital books will not play on your computer or MP3 player.

Some personal “third-party” players are compatible with NLS downloadable books. To download and play BARD books, you will need to ask the manufacturer to authorize your player. Player authorization will consist of an email sent from manufacturer with an attached file that will contain your player authorization key file. It is important that you keep a copy of this authorization email, as we will not be able to retrieve the authorization key file for you. Third-party machines that are currently available include:

  • HIMS BookSense

  • Victor Reader Stream by Humanware

  • LevelStar Icon

  • APH Book Port Plus

  • APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager

  • Milestone 212

  • Milestone 312

  • Other Library Provider Player


  • PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1

BARD Frequently Asked Questions

For more information contact LBPD staff at 415-557-4253, by email at, or drop by during open hours.