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NLS News

The latest news from the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled

America's Field Trip!

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled and the Library of Congress are excited to be participating in America’s Field Trip, part of the official celebration of the nation’s semiquincentennial – the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

America’s Field Trip is a nationwide contest inviting students in grades 3 through 12 to submit artwork, videos, or essays responding to the question “What does America mean to you?” First-place winners will have the opportunity to participate in special tours at historical, educational, and cultural sites across the country such as Yellowstone National Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Library of Congress.

The link for the PDF America's Field Trip flyer.

The deadline to enter is May 17, 2024. Find more information and submission guidelines at


BARD Mobile Fire OS Version 2.0.0 Release

NLS has released BARD Mobile version 2.0.0 for Fire OS. Build 226 is for 32-bit tablets, and build 227 is for 64-bit tablets.

The following enhancements are included in this release:

  • The app supports Fire OS versions 7 and 8.
  • WebView is replaced with a full in-app search, including search for music and titles in international languages.
  • Improved Spanish language app version support.
  • Refined deleting and moving selected titles.
  • Improved VoiceView experience, e.g., announcements for selected tabs/sorting options.
  • Improved issue tracking.
  • Various bug fixes, including:
  • Fixed skipping back by chapter.
  • Only one tap now required to accept Terms of Service.
  • Sleep timer no longer toggles off when user navigates away from tab.
  • Moving books to a subfolder no longer causes other books to disappear from the Audiobooks folder.

The version is available in Amazon Appstore.


BARD Mobile iOS Version 2.2.2 Release

NLS has released BARD Mobile iOS version 2.2.2 to the App Store. Please inform your patrons of the update so they can take advantage of the new features and improvements.

The enhancements included in this version are:

Siri shortcuts (voice user interface):

The app can now be operated by voice commands for playback and navigation, including stopping and resuming playback, fast-forwarding and rewinding by various intervals, and setting a sleep timer or a bookmark. Users can add Siri shortcuts in the app’s settings.

International language search:

Set up to four languages in the app's settings and then filter search results by selecting a preferred language.

Accessibility improvements for visually impaired users:

We have boosted color contrast between selected and unselected search categories. This update enhances visibility with Smart Invert, Classic Invert, and Dark Mode on.

Multiword search for Search/Search music

Bug fixes, including:

  • Garbled credentials error fixed
  • Switch from tone to speed is fixed on iOS 17.
  • Get Books and Bookshelf now return only titles matching the type selected in the Show Me setting, i.e. Audio Only / Braille Only / Both Audio and Braille

The app supports iOS versions 14 through 17.


Magazine Update

NLS has learned that American History magazine (AMH4) will no longer be available as a print publication for our producers to narrate. The Spring 2024 issue will be the last issue available to our patrons in audio.

New BARD Download Limits

Beginning February 6, 2024, NLS patrons will be allowed to download no more than 250 books and magazines from BARD in any rolling thirty-day period. This includes both audio and braille titles. It does not matter which platform or combination of platforms are used to download the books and magazines. You may download no more than 250 books and magazines in any rolling thirty-day period regardless of the format or the BARD interface used.

The authorization limit is calculated by adding up the number of “unique titles” downloaded. This means you can download the same title on additional devices in the same thirty-day period without that download counting against the authorization limit.


BARD Mobile Android Version 2.1.0 Release

NLS has released BARD Mobile Android version 2.1.0, introducing enhanced features and improvements.

Added app search functionality

  • A fully supported in-app search function, including Music Collection search, for a more seamless experience.

Spanish translation

  • The app can now be set so its text and audio are in Spanish. To switch to Spanish, select it as the default language in your device settings. The app's visual and TalkBack interface will adjust to Spanish.

International language search option

  • Explore the new international language search option by choosing up to four languages in the app's settings. Filter search results by selecting your preferred language.

Navigate to: App’s Settings > User Account Settings > Language Preferences > Select up to four languages.

When accessing Get Books – Search, you will have up to four languages based on your settings. Default languages are English and Spanish if no changes are made.

Compatibility and User Guide update

  • The app supports Android OS versions 9–14.
  • Please note that the User Guide is being updated and will be added later.

BARD Mobile users can confirm that they are running the latest version by checking the bottom of the app’s Settings screen.


Magazine Update

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

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 You will be able to unsubscribe yourself from the list at any time. So email 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. 

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:

You may also contact WTBBL or NLS Reference at 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

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.


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

To sign up for NFB-NEWSLINE®, Wisconsin residents should contact the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library at (800) 242-8822 or