Bard Mobile Free App

  • The BARD Mobile free app allows you to download and read books from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Braille & Audio Reading Download (BARD) website using your iOS device. With BARD Mobile, you can play the audio materials on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 4.3 or later. Connectivity from a wireless carrier or a Wi-FI provider is required to download material from BARD. If your device is connected to a refreshable braille display through Bluetooth, you can also read the braille materials available on BARD.
  • Use of BARD Mobile is restricted to eligible NLS patrons, who have a BARD account. If you would like to sign up for the service, please contact Access Services at 703-324-8380 or email us at Once you have an account, you are ready to begin using BARD Mobile.
  • Download the free app from the app store on your device or from Apples online app store at You can search online in the app store using the term, “bardmobile” or “nls
  • You need to have a working BARD username and permanent password before you attempt to log in with BARD Mobile. The app will not work if you need to agree to the BARD pledge. Even if you have a working password, it's a good idea to log into the website and take the pledge if requested. Note that you can log into the BARD website using Safari on an iOS device if you like.

Steps for downloading a book with BARD Mobile

  • Open BARD Mobile, and Choose the Get Books tab.
  • Books can be downloaded from your Wish List or Recently Added titles.
  • If you want to download a book from your wish list, choose the first option, which is Wish List. If you double-tap this option, your wish list will be displayed in reverse chronological order. Double-tap the title of the item you wish to download.
  • Next is a section called Recently Added Titles. It includes four options: Audio Books, Audio Magazines, Braille Books, and Braille Magazines. Double-tap the option you want to see a list of recently added titles in that category. Each item on this screen includes the title and a More Info button. Double-tap the title of the item you want to download, or double-tap More Info to see a synopsis or other information. There is a Download button on the More Info screen, which you can double-tap if you decide to download the item.
  • The final section on the Get Books screen is called BARD Website. It includes one option: Browse BARD. If you double-tap this option, the BARD main page opens. Use the search options on this page to find books as you normally would. The link following each book title is an Add to Wish List button, so you can easily add the books or magazines you find to your wish list.
  • You have several navigation options while browsing BARD. In the top center of the screen is a heading called BARD. To its right are Back and Forward buttons. These work like the standard Back and Forward buttons in a web browser; the Back button takes you to the page you last visited, and the Forward button returns you to a page if you have used the Back button to go to a previous page.
  • To the left of the BARD heading is another Back button. This one takes you out of the BARD site and back to BARD Mobile.
  • This is the button you'll want to double-tap after you have added books to your wish list and want to download them. So the procedure for choosing and downloading books from the BARD main page is as follows:
  • Find the books and/or magazines you want to download, and add them to your wish list.
  • Double-tap the Back button to the left of the BARD heading to return to BARD Mobile.
  • Double-tap the Wish List option.
  • Double-tap the title you want to download. A confirmation message will appear.
  • Select OK.
  • While the title is downloading, you can double-tap it to pause. Double-tap it again to resume the download.
  • Selected items will download one after another in the order they were selected. If you double-tap an item already queued for download, it will be moved to the top of the queue.
  • If you leave BARD Mobile while items are being downloaded or the screen locks, downloading will stop. Downloading should resume the next time you open the app. If it doesn't, select the bookshelf tab. All items you are trying to download are listed there and labeled "Queued for download." Double-tap the item or items you want to download.
  • BARD Mobile will always download via wi-fi if it is available. If you're not in wi-fi range, BARD will download via the cellular network if you have turned on "Download over mobile network" in the User Account section of Settings. If this option is off, BARD Mobile will stop downloading until it has access to wi-fi again. 
  • If you want to read braille books with BARD Mobile, you'll need a braille display. Be sure to read Section 7 of the user guide, as it explains how to configure your braille display and provides keystrokes that will make it easy to read and navigate braille books and magazines.

User Guide

  • The full BARD Mobile user guide is available from within the application. To read it, open the Bookshelf tab. There you will find five categories: Audio Books, Audio Magazines, Braille Books, Braille Magazines, and Help. Double-tap Help and you'll find one item called User Guide or you can use the following link:
  • The user guide is displayed as a web page. The table of contents is at the top, and each item in it is an in-page link, meaning that if you select it, you will be taken directly to the text for that item. Each table of contents entry is also a heading, so you can skim through the guide by changing the rotor to Headings and flicking down with one finger.
  • Standard VoiceOver reading commands work just fine. To have VoiceOver read from the current position, swipe down with two fingers. To pause and resume the speech, do a two-finger single tap.
  • When you're finished reading Help, select the Help back button in the upper left corner of the screen, and then select the “Bookshelf: Select Category” back button.
  • If you have Internet access when you read the user guide, BARD Mobile will load the most recent version of the guide from the NLS website. If you don't, BARD Mobile will load the version that was current when your version of BARD Mobile was created. So over time, there may be discrepancies between the online and offline versions.
  • It's a good idea for everyone to read the user guide, but if you plan to read braille books, it's particularly important that you read Section 7, as it tells you how to configure your braille display and provides keystrokes that will make it easy to read and navigate braille books and magazines.


Source: User Guide & NLS training instructions.

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