NLS BARD Seeking Smart Speaker Volunteers!

The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) team at the National Library Service (NLS) is always working on ways to improve BARD by making it more accessible for patrons in Texas and across the country. Most recently, NLS has developed a BARD component that is compatible with Amazon and Google Smart Speakers.

To help assess and fine tune this feature, NLS is inviting interested BARD patrons to assist in beta testing.

To participate, you must meet the following three criteria:

  1. You must own either a Google or Amazon Smart Speaker; NLS and TBP cannot provide the device.

  2. You must be an active patron of NLS or TBP. If you want to participate and are not an active patron or do not have a BARD account, please contact us at 1-800-252-9605 or

  3. You must agree to access the skill at least three times per week. This might include checking the recently added books, looking for a specific title, reading a book, accessing and manipulating your Wish List, etc.

For this round of testing, NLS is seeking 500-600 volunteers.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email with the following information to or

  • Name
  • Current BARD email address
  • Type of smart speaker that you own
  • Telephone number for receiving confirmation via phone calls or text messages
  • Agree to be on a discussion listserv for the NLS smart speaker beta

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE ALREADY PART OF THE SMART SPEAKER BETA, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN UP AGAIN. If you are actively using the system, you will remain part of the Smart Speaker beta.

If you have any questions, please contact Don Olson at

We appreciate your willingness to help make BARD more accessible. Thank you!