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 and read near-instantly! You no longer have to wait for a book to be mailed from the local library.
  • BARD gives you access to current and past issues of magazines. Magazines through the mail only have current issues.

Eligibility Self-Assessment

You need the following to download books and magazines:

  • an active account from the Nebraska Talking Book Library
  • a valid email account
  • have or have access to either:
      a) a smartphone, tablet or another device with an Android OS or iOS with the free BARD Mobile App; or,
      b) an NLS approved talking book player device and a data storage device (examples include USB flash drives or NLS Cartridges and Cables) with access to a computer with high speed internet service and technical skills adequate to download and manage computer files.

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 header My BARD on the BARD Main Page entitled 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 audiobooks from the BARD website. Conveniently, you can also connect a refreshable braille display to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth and download braille materials from BARD Mobile.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices can download the BARD Mobile app through iTunes. View NLS iOS BARD app instructions. The creator of the app will be listed as the Library of Congress.

Android devices can download the BARD Mobile app through the Google Play store. View NLS Android BARD app instructions. The creator of the app will be listed as the Library of Congress. 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.

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. Also many technical issues are best handled by alerting NLS via email.

  • Troubleshooting BARD Mobile:

    "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" (these instructions were taken from the NLS BARD Support listserv)