Talking Books

Talking Books & BARD

National Library Service for the Blind and the Print Disabled

The National Library Service of the Library of Congress (NLS) is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical, perceptual, reading, or print disability that prevents them from using regular print materials so That All May Read.

There are over 100,000 titles by thousands of authors available through this service, which can be browsed or seen in the online catalog.

Our Access Services Department houses the Fredericksburg Subregional Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (or “Talking Books library”), which is one of the 97 network libraries that offer this vital service.

Through the Subregional Library, people with the above qualifying disabilities who live in the cities of Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park, as well as the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, Westmoreland, Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, King George, Orange, and Prince William are able to receive free braille and talking book materials and equipment.

Individuals or institutions who serve qualifying individuals may also be eligible for this service.

The Talking Books Program

Those who meet the above qualifications are able to apply for Talking Books, through which books on cartridge and machine players that will read them aloud are sent to users free through the mail.

Upon completion of the application, it can be returned to the Subregional Library by e-mail, fax, or by mail.

E-mail: PDF/set of pictures to

Fax: 540-834-0767

Address: Access Services Department
Library Administration Center
125 Olde Greenwich Drive, Suite 155
Fredericksburg, VA 22408


To apply for this service, fill out the appropriate application below.

*Applications for those Individuals or Institutions serving qualifying individuals

Note there is a certification portion: while librarians can certify individuals, it is preferred that a professional certify when possible.

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Those who meet the above qualifications, have a working email, and have enrolled in Talking Books may also apply for the Braille And Audio Recording Download (BARD) program.

BARD is a free mobile app which allows users to directly download and listen to books for free on an Android or Apple/iOS smartphone or tablet.

[Note: There is also a Windows version of BARD, but this can be harder to use.]

Applying for BARD services

  1. Enroll in Talking Books using the applications above.
  2. Mark your email on the application. If you have already enrolled in Talking Books and wish to have BARD added, you may either enroll directly online or contact the Access Services Department and tell them your email.
  3. Once Access Services has your email, they will enroll you in BARD.
  4. Upon enrollment you will receive an email stating you are enrolled, as well as a temporary password that lasts 10 minutes to use to login and establish a permanent password. For privacy purposes, librarians are not allowed to create or store permanent passwords, though they can reissue you a temporary one.
Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Instructional videos on how to use the BARD mobile app or BARD for Windows can be seen on YouTube.

These videos are led by NLS Consumer Relations Officer Judy Dixon, who is herself blind. 

Talking Books & BARD

For more information about the Subregional Library, Talking Books, BARD, or, other materials and services for those with disabilities that are available, please contact:

The Access Services Department
540-372-1144, ext. 7054

Back to Top