BARD, BARD Express, and BARD Mobile

Please visit the Illinois State Library's Talking Book and Braille Service website at:

Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) is a free service for active Talking Book patrons through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).  Patrons can download digital audio and braille books and magazines to their computer and then transfer the files to a flash drive or a blank book cartridge for use with the talking book digital player. More than 70,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats  available for download, with new titles added weekly. Items that are downloaded to a computer can then be stored on a flash drive or blank book cartridge and played on the talking book digital player.

BARD Login (to search the BARD catalog)

BARD Application and Instructions


BARD Express (New!)

BARD Express is a free Windows-based application that's designed to simplify searching, downloading, and transferring audio materials from the BARD catalog to a cartridge or a USB flash drive for playback on a digital player. Patrons who use BARD Express will no longer have to unzip files to enjoy them! 


BARD Express simplifies the downloading process by providing a menu-driven interface, reducing the need to memorize a complex set of keyboard commands. This means BARD Express can be used with as few as four keys, while providing advanced functionality for the more adventurous user. BARD Express can also be used with Windows-Eyes, NVDA, and JAWS screen readers, and you only have to log in once! 


The free BARD Express app is available for download from a link on the BARD Main Page under "Additional Links." 


An active BARD account and a personal computer running Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 are required to use BARD Express. It is not compatible with Apple computers. 


Visit the BARD Help page for BARD Express tutorials and instructions.

BARD Mobile App

With the free BARD Mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices, patrons can download BARD materials directly to their smartphones or tablets for listening and storage. They can also read braille materials when their device is connected to a refreshable braille display. BARD Mobile is easy to use, and the interface is very similar to the talking book digital player. The apps are also compatible with Voice Over and TalkBack accessibility settings on iOS and Android devices.

Download the BARD Mobile App for iOS Devices (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch)

Download the BARD Mobile App for Android Devices (Android smartphones or tablets)

Download the BARD Mobile App for Kindle Fire Devices (2nd generation tablets)

Download the free app and sign in with your BARD user name and password (instructions below). You’ll only need to do this the first time you use the app. The app contains a user manual that you may access through the Help feature.

Signing Up for a BARD Account

Before you start, you need:

1.    An email address

2.    A computer

3.    Internet access

4.    Talking book membership - if you are unsure about this, email info [at] illinoistalkingbooks [dot] org or call (800) 426-0709

5.    A flash drive (also called a thumb drive) or a blank book cartridge

To start, go to

Where it says “Please select a library”, click on the drop down arrow to expand the list and select MidIllinois Talking Book Center (East Peoria) or (Geneva), choosing whichever is closer to the town you live in, and select "Submit."

Fill put the application accordingly, using the same information as your regular talking book account, and select "Submit."

The application will automatically be sent to the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center. We will review it and send you an email that accepts or rejects the application. If you are rejected, the most common reason is that the name or address used does not match our records. Please call us for assistance if needed.

When you are approved, go to again and sign in using your email and the temporary password from the acceptance email. You'll be asked to provide a permanent password when you login, so make sure to choose a new password you'll remember.

You can call a reader advisor at 1-800-426-0709 to reset your password if you forget it.


Please visit our BARD Help page for downloading instructions, tutorials, and more!