BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

BARD is a free library service of downloadable Braille and audio reading material for residents of the United States and U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use standard printed material because of visual or physical disabilities. BARD provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music scores. The site is password-protected. All files are downloadable as compressed audio or formatted e-Braille files. BARD is a partnership between the National Library Service (NLS) and its network of cooperating libraries. NLS maintains the website, uploads titles, and supplies libraries with circulation statistics. You must be a registered BPH/NLS patron to use BARD. Call us at 800-392-5671 or 334-213-3906 to be registered for BARD.

What is BARD Express?

BARD Express provides NLS patrons with an easy way to access BARD. Use BARD Express to browse thousands of audio books and magazines, download them to your Windows-based computer, and transfer them to an NLS cartridge. BARD Express simplifies the process by providing a menu-driven interface, reducing the need to memorize a complex set of keyboard commands. What does this mean? BARD Express can be used with as few as four keys, while providing advanced functionality for the more adventurous user.

Learn more about BARD Express by checking out the Frequently Asked Questions About BARD Express or by browsing the BARD Express User Guide. Visit the NLS website at for additional information.



The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is providing currency readers, free of charge, to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals. Currency readers became widely available to all U.S. Citizens, or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired on January 2, 2015. Qualified residents interested in receiving a currency reader through the U.S. Currency Reader Program can have an application submitted for them through the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (BPH).



In early 2012, BPH unveiled a project called Download Alabama, which was designed to offer patrons without computers and/or high-speed internet, access to customized downloads. With this process, a patron submits a list of books they want to read and BPH staff download up to ten books on one digital cartridge. Today, the process is called Books on Demand (BOD) and it works in a similar fashion. Rather than staff downloading items, the computer automatically assigns items based on the patron’s request list or author and subject preferences. Cartridges are checked out to patrons for a three-month period. This program allows access to a constant flow of books to each recipient.


There is always information to share with groups and/or individuals interested in the programs offered through BPH. If you are interested in having a representative join you for an upcoming community, social, or service group meeting; a health fair; or even a classroom visit, please give BPH staff a call and make an appointment. Staff will prepare formal presentations or simply set up a table and provide applications or information about the BPH program.


BPH is always looking for new volunteers to lend helping hands in several areas of the operation. If you are interested in serving as a BPH volunteer, or know someone who is, please contact us by e-mail or call 800-392-5671 or 334-213-3906. An application must be submitted to the Alabama Public Library Service Human Resources Officer for consideration.