Talking Book Service

Services & Programs

Recorded materials on digital book cartridges are available on loan by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, a division of the Library of Congress. The digital recordings require specially designed playback equipment which is also supplied on free loan to eligible individuals and institutions wherever they reside.
Roanoke Public Libraries Talking Book Service

Available Media

A wide variety of books and magazines are available on recorded media and by download from the BARD website. Just a few of the categories you can choose from are adventure, bestsellers, religion, business, children's materials, gardening, history, poetry, sports, travel, and westerns. "Talking Book Topics", a bimonthly catalog of titles, is available in large print or on cassette.

The Roanoke Public Libraries' talking book service covers the cities of Roanoke, Salem, Covington, and Clifton Forge as well as the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Craig, and Roanoke.


Braille and Audio Reading Download

BARD stands for the National Library Service's Braille and Audio Reading Download. This is a free service featuring thousands of downloadable Talking Books and magazines and is a second way to receive digital books in addition to those delivered via U.S. Mail.

Patrons can register for BARD online. You must be registered with the Roanoke Public Library Talking Book Service, have an active email address and high-speed internet as well as knowledge of downloading, unzipping, and transferring files to download books. Once books are downloaded they can be stored on a flash drive or digital talking book cartridge.

You can purchase blank cartridges for your digital talking book machine at Perkins Products.

For additional information about BARD, check out their website!

NLS Digital Talking Book Player - Operation and Use

Using the NLS Advanced Digital Talking Book Player

iFocus Exploring the BARD Mobile App - Apple Accessibility

iFocus Exploring the BARD Settings - Apple Accessibility

iPhone and iPad Downloading BARD Books and Magazines

iFocus Exploring the BARD Bookshelf - Apple Accessibility

iFocus Exploring the BARD Book Player - Apple Accessibility

BARD Mobile Apple App and Android App  

The BARD Mobile apps enables NLS patrons to download audio and braille books, magazines, and music scores directly to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and Android Phone or Android devices  provided they have a BARD account. A refreshable braille display is required to read downloaded braille materials.

Bard Mobile IOS app

Bard Mobile Android app

User Guide and Help

The user guide is available in the Help section of the app and online in HTML format at this BARD link. You can also access videos on How to Use BARD Mobile or send an email to YouTube also has many helpful videos, including this one from The Blind Life.

BARD Express

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 or by browsing the BARD Express Continuous User Guide. If you’re already running BARD Express, access the help topics by pressing F1.

Library of Congress video series - Using Bard Express