Nebraska BARD Information and Instructions

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Table of Contents

What is BARD?

BARD, or Braille and Audio Reading Download, is a website that lets patrons of the Talking Book Libraries download braille and audio books. The program was introduced by the National Library Service (NLS) branch of the Library of Congress. NLS updates and maintains the main collection.

Benefits of Using BARD:
  • Download immediately! You no longer have to wait for a copy to be available from the local library.
  • You also don't have to wait for the book to get to you through the mail.
  • BARD gives you access to current and past issues of magazines. Magazines through the mail only have current issues.

Eligibility Self-Assessment

You must be an active patron of the Nebraska Talking Book Library to sign up for this service.
To use BARD you must also have, or have access to, the following:

  • an NLS approved talking book player device. Go to NLS Site for Listing of Approved Devices
  • access to a computer with high speed internet service
  • a valid email account
  • access to a data storage device (examples include USB flash drives or NLS Cartridges and Cables)
  • technical skills adequate to download and manage computer files
  • You can also use a smartphone, tablet or another device with an Android OS or iOS. You will need to download the free BARD app to use these devices.

If you do not meet these qualifications, you will not be eligible to receive BARD service at this time, but we will be happy to continue serving you through the mail.

Note on Data Storage Devices: Try to choose a flash drive without file management/backup software, such as U3. If you have a flash drive you plan to use that does have this pre-installed software, delete it if possible before using it for BARD downloads.

BARD Application and Login Process

Note: These instructions are primarily based on computers, not mobile devices, and may not be applicable to your situation. If necessary, please contact your Reader Advisor for further instructions.

How to sign up for BARD:

  1. Fill out a brief form online:
  2. You will receive a confirmation email that your application was received by our system and is awaiting approval.
  3. Once a librarian has verified that you're an existing TBBS member, you'll receive a second email with a temporary password.
  4. Go to the BARD login page and use your email address as your username. Use the temporary password to log in for the first time.
  5. The system will automatically prompt you to change your password and choose some identity verification question and answer combinations, just in case you forget your password in the future.

Note: If you didn't set-up a security question when you first set-up, you will need to click on the link below the the header Additional Links on the BARD Main Page entitled Update account settings. Follow the Password Instructions to provide a secret question and its secret answer.

How to Download BARD Materials

Note: These instructions are primarily based on Windows OS computers and may not be applicable to your situation. If necessary, please contact your Readers Advisor for further instructions.

Standard Download Instructions:

  1. Login to the Nebraska BARD website with your email address and password.
  2. In some cases you may be asked to read a short message from the BARD maintenance team and then to verify that you agree to any and all conditions of use. Click the button at the end of the statement.
  3. You should now be on the BARD main page. Beneath the title are several options for searching and for browsing for downloads. Choose the search option you prefer and browse for materials until you find one you wish to download.
  4. Beneath the item that you would like to download will be a link with the call number and title of the book. When you select the link you will be prompted to either open or save or save as. Choose save as. Then you will prompted to select a destination for your download. Either click save, or select another destination and then click save.
  5. Your download should show up at the bottom of your browser with the percentage of the file that has downloaded. Leave this window alone until it says the download is complete. At which time you can logout or close your browser window, or if you would like to continue downloading you can simply close the download window on your browser.
  6. Go to the destination folder for your download and find the downloaded file. It should have the same file name as the link you clicked to start the download from BARD. The download should be in the form of a zip file. Zipped files are compressed files, and must be uncompressed before you can play the book. To unzip, or extract the files you must right-hand click your mouse on the file. If you are not using a mouse, or do not have a right-hand click button on your mouse, then you can click or otherwise select the file then simultaneously press the Shift key and F10 key on your keyboard. Doing either will bring up a pop-up menu. You will need to click the option that says Extract All.
  7. You will need to verify the location where the files are being extracted. If desired this location can be altered or you may create a new folder for the files. Then click Extract.
  8. Once the files have been extracted you will need to either copy and paste them, or otherwise move them, onto your external drive.
  9. And voila you are ready to try playing your downloads!

Alternative Downloading Option:

NLS has developed BARD Express, a Windows-based application that simplifies the process of searching for, downloading, and transferring audio materials to a cartridge or USB flash drive. BARD Express is designed for use on personal computers running Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. It does not run on Macintosh computers. The BARD Express application for personal computers is now available for download from a link on the BARD Main Page under the heading Additional Links.

Vist National Library Service's BARD FAQs for more information about BARD Express. Help screens are also available from inside the app.

How to Play Downloads

Note: These instructions are primarily based on the NLS Digital Players and may not be applicable to your situation. If necessary, please contact your Readers Advisor for further instructions.

  1. If you are using an NLS cartridge, you will want to insert the cartridge into the opening at the front of your NLS Digital player. Push it forward until it clicks into place. If your player is on, it will automatically wake up and begin playing your downloaded book.
  2. If you are using a flash drive, you will want to check the right-hand side of the player for a USB data port. It may have a small piece of plastic in it to keep dust out of the port, but you may pull that plastic out and insert the USB stick into the port. As with the NLS cartridge, your player should automatically start up and begin playing the downloaded book.
  3. If you have multiple books on your external drive, you will need to use the Bookshelf feature on your NLS Digital Player to listen to all the downloads.
  4. To access the Bookshelf on your player:
    • Hold down the square, green, play/stop button at the top lower edge of your player for a few seconds. You may let go when the voice announcement says "bookshelf".
    • Use the fast-forward and rewind arrow shaped keys on either side of the play/stop button to move between titles. When a title that you would like to hear is announced, press the play/stop key again to listen to that book.

BARD Mobile App

Note: You do not need to use the BARD Mobile app to use BARD, it is simply another way to download and play books from the BARD website.

Android devices can Download BARD app for Android OS through the Play Store.

Here are the instructions for using BARD mobile with Android (link will take you to National Library Service website).

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices can Download BARD app for iOS through iTunes.

Here are the instructions for using BARD mobile with iOS (link will take you to the National Library Service website).

The creator of the app will be listed as the Library of Congress. If you would like, you can connect a refreshable braille display to your device via Bluetooth and download braille materials from BARD.

BARD mobile is compatible with any Android device that is running Android OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or later. It will also work on second-generation Kindle Fire devices.

What is BARD Express?

BARD Express is a software application that was designed to search for, download, and transfer audio titles from BARD website to a cartridge or external USB flash drive. You can then listen to your audio titles on a digital player. Here are a few facts about BARD Express:

  • BARD Express enables users to download audio materials that are available in the BARD collection. It is not the only way to download materials. If you are already used to downloading using regular BARD and a cartidge or flash drive, you can continue to do so.
  • You must already have an active BARD account with a login and password to access BARD Express.
  • BARD Express only works on computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. It does not run on Apple computers.
  • It has been tested to work with the following screen readers: Window Eyes, NVDA, and JAWS for windows.
  • To download BARD Express, log in to BARD and go to the BARD Express link under the heading Additional Links.
  • Use your regular BARD login and password to log in to BARD Express.

For help with using BARD Express, download and open the app. Press the F1 key to access instructions and information about how to use BARD Express. You can also feel free to contact your reader advisor for an over the phone tutorial.

If you prefer, there is also a YouTube BARD Express How To Series available.

Technical Issues

Note: The Nebraska Talking Book and Braille Service staff is always happy to try to answer technical questions about BARD. You can reach our staff via email and phone at 1-800-742-7691 and 1-402-471-4038. Additionally, listed below are known issues that you might experience and temporary or permanent solutions. (In other words, NLS is well aware of these issues and will try to fix what they can in the next app update; and in the meantime here's what you can do.)

  • iOS 8.3 update bug:
    “Attention BARD Mobile users: Updating to iOS 8.3 may cause the "sliders" (for location, speed, and tone) in the BARD Mobile app to visually disappear. NLS is aware of the problem, and a vendor is working to update the BARD Mobile app to run properly with iOS 8.3. Users may wish to hold off on upgrading to iOS 8.3 until BARD Mobile is able to be updated. For those users who have already upgraded to iOS 8.3, the "invisible sliders" are still accessible when using VoiceOver and we are hearing reports that you can still use the sliders as if they are not invisible (they will still function if you touch where they should be). [...] For those users who have accidentally moved the invisible sliders, and can’t get them back to normal, resetting the iOS app should return the sliders to the default settings.” - BTBL Sacramento, CA staff
  • Troubleshooting BARD Mobile: (the following instructions were taken from the NLS BARD Support listserv)

    "We know that occasionally you may have trouble using the BARD Mobile app. If you do, you may be tempted to uninstall and reinstall it. This is almost never necessary. Uninstalling the app will cause you to lose all your books, your reading position in each one, and any bookmarks you may have set. Instead, try the following steps.

    If the problem is with a particular book, delete the book from your device and download it again. For other problems, try:

    Restarting your device.

    Completely close BARD Mobile and then restart it. To completely close BARD Mobile on an Android device, choose Overview, and then choose Close BARD Mobile. To do it on an iOS device, double-tap the Home button to bring up the app switcher. Swipe left or right until you find BARD Mobile, and then flick up with three fingers if you use VoiceOver, or swipe up if you don't.

    If you use BARD Mobile for iOS, re-initialize BARD Mobile. Note that it's possible to re-initialize BARD Mobile on an Android device as well, but doing so erases all your books, so you might as well reinstall the app. Here's how to re-initialize BARD Mobile for iOS.

    1. Close BARD Mobile.
    2. Choose the Settings option on your home screen.
    3. Choose BARD Mobile in Settings.
    4. Turn Setting Initialization on.
    5. Close Settings.
    6. Reopen BARD Mobile. You will need to agree to the terms of service and log in, as you did the first time you used the app.

    If these steps don't help, feel free to contact us at

    Please tell us what sort of device you are using, and describe in detail what you are trying to do and what is going wrong. Also, tell us anything you have done to try to solve the problem, and what happened as a result. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for us to help. We hope this information is helpful.


    The BARD Support Team"
  • "Shortly after the release of iOS 10, NLS staff discovered a bug in BARD Mobile for iOS that affects how we delete books and magazines.

    Prior to iOS 10, to delete a title we pressed the Edit button while in the bookshelf tab. From there a delete symbol appeared next to each line that, when activated, reveals a delete button for that line. Pressing the delete button would delete the book or magazine. If you’re using iOS 10, this function continues to work when VoiceOver is not being used.

    If you are using VoiceOver and have updated the Apple operating system to iOS 10 you will need to use a new set of actions to delete titles. Choose the Edit button, locate the book, and then flick up to invoke the delete function. Finally, double-tap to confirm the deletion of the title.

    The BARD technical support team"