Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
The National Library Services offers a Braille and Audio Recording downloads(BARD) program for individuals with visual and physical disabilities. The program provides access to over 21,000 books and 40 magazines. The program is designed to allow registered patrons to download books and magazines directly from your state’s National Library Services program using two different methods.
Method one is using a flash drive to download books. A patron possessing a computer, Internet service, a flash drive and is registered with an access password into the BARD program can record books. A flash drive with two MB is required and can hold up to twenty books or ninety-six hours of recordings.
Once the flash drive is loaded the patron must have a National Library Services Digital Book Player. Placing the player so the front is facing you run your hand along the left-hand side until you feel a ridge. When you feel the ridge approximately halfway down the player, you have found the cap covering the USB port for the flash drive. Turn on the player and then, pop off the cap and insert the flash drive. Press play and enjoy your downloaded book.
Method two involves purchasing a two GB blank digital player cartridge and a USB cable to download books. Once, you have registered, obtained an access password, purchased a blank cartridge and cable, then you are ready to begin the download process. Login to your state’s library program and choose the book you want to download. Place the cable into a USB port on your computer and connect the cable to the blank cartridge. Following instructions download the book then disconnect cable and cartridge. Place the cartridge with the downloaded book into the player and enjoy.
**User’s of screen reader programs and those who are unfamiliar with zip files may require some sighted help. Once, you have successfully downloaded a few books the process becomes easier.
The program is free, but each patron must purchase his or her own flash drive (approximately twenty dollars). In addition , if you wish to use the blank cartridge and cable you must order one from a list of carriers, the cost is approximately twenty-five dollars. A suggested list of carriers to order materials from appears on your state’s BARD site.
Using a flash drive or cartridge allows a patron to avoid the waiting period while ordered books are shipped. In addition, a patron downloading a book avoids the problem of the book not being available because of a shortage in the number of taped copies.
I enjoy using a flash drive to download books but both methods work well.