Free Braille and Talking Book Resources


If you have a family member, neighbor, friend, or work with someone with impaired vision, impaired visual processing, or a physical disability, this might be a useful resource. National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped: That All May Read

From their website –

NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS offers books the way you want them: in braille or audio, mailed to your door for free or instantly downloadable.

NLS works to ensure that all may read by providing eligible patrons access to reading material regardless of age, economic circumstances, or technical expertise. Share the gift of reading, and spread the word about NLS so that all may read.

Please note – the disability does not have to be permanent. Also, this service is FREE.

Who can use this service?

Any resident of the United States or American citizen living abroad who is unable to read or use normal print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations may receive service through NLS. This includes those who are blind, have a visual disability that prevents them from reading normal print, or have a physical disability that keeps them from being able to hold a book.

What services do they offer?

  • Talking books and magazines — Audiobooks and audio magazines on digital cartridges are mailed to your door. You return them the same way, through postage-free mail. Digital talking-book players are also provided free to patrons.

  • Braille — Braille books and magazines are delivered directly to your door at no cost.

  • Music — NLS provides music appreciation materials, music scores, and music instruction in braille, audio, and large print.  Learn more about NLS Music Services and Materials External.

  • Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) — BARD is a Web-based service that provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music materials. The same materials that are offered on digital cartridges are also available for download in compressed audio or braille formats.

  • BARD Mobile — With the BARD Mobile app, you can download and play audio materials on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Many of the materials available on digital cartridges or in hard-copy braille are also available for download in compressed audio or braille formats.

Also, depending on the format the you prefer, you may not even need any special devices or technology

NLS has a long history of using the latest technology to provide accessible reading materials to patrons. Audiobooks and audio magazines are available on digital cartridges or via online download through BARD. And now, the free BARD Mobile app is available for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch so you don’t need special equipment to read.

As of this post, I have not yet used their services myself nor do I know anyone who has. If you are interested and eligible, and you try their services out, will you let me know what you think?

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