The latest news from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled
December Quarterly Patron Corner Program
On Monday, December 11, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. ET, the NLS Patron Engagement Section will host the quarterly Patron Corner. The topic for this program is The Life Cycle of the Talking Book. The session will be 90 minutes and will feature the NLS Collections Division, which is responsible for all phases of book selection, production, and distribution.
Please join us at: https://loc.zoomgov.com/j/1602528708?pwd=U0FWcDV0YS9VUXV2WUFsZUZHVDJiQT09
When you join this Zoom event, you will be in the waiting room until the program starts. When you enter the room, you will be muted. Please stay on mute unless you are called on. If you want to ask a question, you may raise your hand by pressing Alt Y on your computer or Star 9 on your phone. Once you are called on, press Alt A on your computer or Star 6 on your phone to unmute yourself.
This meeting will be recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, we ask that you avoid speaking during the call. Also, please note that since we are using Zoom.gov for these sessions, if you choose to dial in, you must use the Zoom.gov phone numbers provided. The regular Zoom phone numbers will not allow access to the Zoom.gov IDs.
One tap mobile:
US: +16692545252,,1602528708# or +16468287666,,1602528708#
160 252 8708
Join by Telephone
For higher quality, dial a number based on your current location.
+1 669 254 5252 US (San Jose)
160 252 8708
NLS has learned that Yoga Journal, YOG4, is no longer available as a print publication for our producers to narrate, and therefore will not be available to our patrons.
BARD Mobile Kindle version 1.4.6 release
NLS has released BARD Mobile Kindle Fire version 1.4.6. This is the second in a series of releases designed to support native Amazon Kindle Fire OS development and Amazon accessibility functions, including VoiceView for screen reader and braille output support.
This release includes several usability and accessibility enhancements, including improved color contrast and text sizing. Some issues related to the VoiceView have been resolved. Additionally, a few bug fixes have been implemented to enhance the overall user experience.
BARD Mobile users can confirm that they are running the latest version by checking the app settings.
BARD Mobile Android version 2.0 release
NLS has released version 2.0 of the BARD Mobile Android app. This is a major release and includes in-app search capability as well as several other feature updates, increased app stability, and bug fixes. This is the first in a series of planned releases to allow robust in-app searching and to eliminate the need to exit the app to search on the BARD website.
With this update, BARD Mobile no longer includes the embedded view of the BARD website. Instead, it gives patrons the ability to search within the app by keyword, author, title, or annotation and, from the search results listings, download the book directly to their Android devices. Other enhancements to search include:
- Search inputs are more intuitive. Author search supports First Name, Last Name format; Last Name, First Name; and Last Name only. Quotation marks are no longer required. For example, input “Mary Clark” (without quotations) to find all the Mary Higgins Clark titles.
- Keyword search supports searching all indexed metadata and can help users looking for multiple criteria. For example, to find a Terri Pratchett book narrated by Nick DePinto, a user can simply input “dePinto Terri” (without quotations).
- After a user inputs a search, they can amend the search type, the inputted term itself, or the format (audio or braille), and sort results alphabetically by author, title, or latest publication date.
- In-app search now includes NLS Music collection holdings, allowing users to access musical appreciation books, scores, and instructional titles.
- Users can switch between audio and braille searches. For example, input “learn guitar” (without quotation marks) with the search defaults set only to find audio instructional titles, then select the braille format and the search button again to find braille titles.
- Version 2.0 also includes enhancements to searching and sorting Bookshelf and Get Books listings.
The Android 2.0 release does not currently include non-English language collections, including music holdings, in the in-app search. Patrons can still find and access non-English books but must search for those books on the BARD website and save them to their Wish List to download to the app. Patrons can also sideload these books as they could before.
The Google Play Store rolls out app updates on a gradual basis, so devices running Android 9 and above will receive the update at some point over the next week.
You can check the bottom of the app’s Settings screen to confirm the version of BARD Mobile on your device.
The new release is supported by devices running Android 9 and above.
BARD Mobile iOS version 2.2.1 release
NLS has released BARD Mobile iOS version 2.2. The App Store rolls out software updates gradually, so be looking for the update anytime over the next week.
Version 2.2.1 includes:
- Supported in-app password reset functionality. BARD mobile users with previously registered mobile devices are now able to reset their BARD account passwords in the iOS app’s Settings tab itself. This is in addition to the existing ability to reset passwords from the BARD website.
High-Volume Player and Breath Switch Accessory
Did you know that qualified NLS patrons who are hard of hearing (as certified by an audiologist or physician) can request a high-volume digital talking-book machine (DTBM) and stereo headphones at no cost?
NLS also provides for free a breath switch compatible with both standard and advanced DTBMs. It is intended for those who are unable to use the buttons on a DTBM. The USB breath switch provides control of all functions of the DTBM using sip-and-puff actions. It comes with a shirt clip, removable mouth tube, and inline moisture filter.
To request a high-volume DTBM or breath switch, or to learn more, contact us at the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library at 1-800-242-8822 or WTBBL@milwaukee.gov
Continued Audio and Braille Production Delays
NLS continues to experience book and magazine production delays that impact the timely upload of materials to BARD and the physical distribution of materials to patrons. The delays have been caused by ongoing problems with the new production and inventory control system that NLS began using last year. Producers are diligently working through the resulting backlog, with priority being given to new books added to the collection and bestsellers. We apologize for the impact these production delays are having on patrons, and assure you that we are working with all parties to reduce the backlog as quickly as possible.
BARD Mobile Kindle Fire version 1.4.5 release
NLS has released BARD Mobile Kindle Fire version 1.4.5. This is the first in a series of releases designed to support native Amazon Kindle Fire OS development and Amazon accessibility functions including VoiceView for screen reader and braille output support.
The new release supports most Kindle Fire tablet models released 2019–2022:
- Fire HD 8 (2018) – KFKAWI
- Fire 7 (2019) – KFMUWI
- Fire HD 10 (2019) – KFMAWI
- Fire HD 8 (2020) – KFONWI
- Fire HD 10 (2021) – KFTRWI
- Fire HD 10 Plus (2021) – KFTRPWI
- Fire HD 8 (2022) – KFRAWI
- Fire HD 8 Plus (2022) – KFRAPWI
- Fire 7 (2022) – KFQUWI
Patrons can confirm their device model by going to their tablet’s Settings menu, selecting Device Options, and looking for the device model listed under Device Model or About Fire Tablet. Patrons using supported devices will be able to access the BARD Mobile app software update in the Amazon App Store
Long time users of Amazon Kindle Fire tablets may notice some changes in the layout and design. As part of NLS’s strategy to harmonize BARD Mobile applications across iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, the BARD Mobile tabs are now located at the bottom.
NLS Patron Announce-Only Listserv
Want to get the latest news and updates from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled? NLS’s Patron Engagement Section now hosts an announce-only listserv that will include announcements about NLS programs, services, and products that might be of interest to patrons. New announcements will be posted to the list few times a week. If you are interested in signing up for this listserv, please send your name and email address to the Patron Engagement Section at NLSPES@loc.gov. You will be able to unsubscribe yourself from the list at any time. So email NLSPES@loc.gov now!
Launch of the New NLS Spanish-Language Website
The National Library Service has launched a Spanish-language website to help connect Spanish speakers to a large and growing collection of Spanish books and magazines. Readers with low vision or blindness, or a disability that prevents them from using regular print materials can find information about NLS, apply for service, as well as find various resources and library materials in Spanish with ease. Take a look and share with your favorite Spanish-language readers. www.loc.gov/nls/es/
NLS Launches Braille-on-Demand Pilot Project
NLS is launching a Braille-on-Demand pilot project on Monday, June 20, 2022. This project will allow active patrons to request and receive one hard-copy braille title per month, which patrons can retain for their personal use. If an individual who is not registered as a patron submits an order, NLS will refer the individual to their local network library to begin the process of becoming a patron.
Braille titles will be limited to books that are currently available on BARD, the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download service. At this time, requests are limited to one book per patron per month. Only complete titles will be distributed. Requests for partial titles (for example, volume one of a three-volume book) will result in receiving the entire book. Braille titles will be limited to books that are currently available on BARD.
The form to request a braille-on-demand book: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NLSbrailleondemand.
You may also contact WTBBL or NLS Reference at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in completing the form.
NFB-NEWSLINE® Service Available
The Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library signs up WTBBL patrons for the free NFB-NEWSLINE® service which provides more than 300 publications, including fifteen Wisconsin newspapers (including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin State Journal), updated daily, accessible by telephone or an iOS (Apple/Mac) app. The user selects a newspaper, a section, or an article of interest which is read to them using synthetic speech (nonhuman computerized speech). The service includes job listings and death notices. To sign up for NFB-NEWSLINE®, Wisconsin residents should contact the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library at (800) 242-8822 or visit email@example.com.
Newspapers from throughout the United States cooperate with the NFB-NEWSLINE® service and send electronic text to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for processing and distribution. Access to this service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to anyone who is eligible to receive library services from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress and cooperating network libraries, such as WTBBL.
How to Use NFB-NEWSLINE®
All NFB-NEWSLINE® readers need an identification number and security code, which are assigned upon registration. Using the system requires a touch-tone telephone. A phone with a speaker is convenient but not required. Anyone who is registered can call NFB-NEWSLINE® at the number provided: (888) 882-1629. After a brief opening announcement, the system will ask for your preassigned identification number and security code, which you enter on the touch-tone keypad. Once admitted, you can then access the newspaper menu or select other information. When choosing the newspaper option, you can read papers in your state or nearby area, or you can read other papers from across the country. After you have chosen a paper, you can listen to today's edition, yesterday's edition, or the Sunday paper, which remains on NFB-NEWSLINE® for an entire week.
Once in the menu of a particular paper, you can choose any section presented on the menu as soon as you hear the one you want. You can switch from article to article, section to section, or paper to paper at any time and without delay; it is fast and easy. Also, when reading a particular section, pressing a single key on the telephone keypad will quickly move you from one article to the next, skip ahead in the article, return to a previous article, change the speaking speed, change the reading voice, or spell out or search for words. The keystrokes are few and easy to remember. NFB-NEWSLINE® reminds you to check the help page to learn more about the service and any changes each time you call.
Alexa instructions can be found on the NFB-NEWSLINE® website at https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-newsline/alexa-instructions