NLS Testimonial Videos Available Online

NLS has produced three short testimonial videos featuring patrons of the Braille and talking book program. These videos are posted on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. Links with a short description of each video are below.

NLS Braille and Talking Books and Magazines
NLS patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials in the mail: the freedom to read their way. (1:50)

NLS BARD and BARD Mobile
Patrons speak about the benefits of downloading free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Mobile. (1:55)

NLS Music Materials
Patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free audio, braille, and large-print music scores, texts, and other instructional materials and recordings in the mail or downloading them through BARD. (2:26)

BARD-Related Websites and Email Discussion Lists

Although our BARD support team is always happy to assist patrons with any BARD-related question or concern, TBP patrons who use the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service to download books and magazines may also find the following websites and email discussion lists useful.

BARD Support is an e-mail-based list to which all program participants have the option of subscribing. This is a closed, one-way list to which NLS will occasionally post information of interest to the BARD community.

To subscribe to the NLS BARD support list, open the subscription page at:

Enter your e-mail address and select the Submit button. This will bring you to a confirmation page where you’ll be required to confirm your e-mail address and choose your delivery preferences. Finally, select the Submit button to subscribe to the list.

BARD Talk is an online resource and email community that provides BARD users a forum to discuss BARD. It has no official affiliation with NLS or TBP, but is owned and moderated by BARD users. To subscribe to the BARD Talk Yahoo Groups list or check out their FAQ or Quick Start Guide, go to:

DB Review is an email-based community that provides book reviews created by list members. Books reviewed are part of the digital talking book collection of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress. It has no official affiliation with NLS or TBP, but is owned and moderated by BARD users You can subscribe using the online form at this website:

Two new seminars from the Hadley School for the Blind

On Thursday, August 20, 2015, at 1 pm CDT, Hadley will present a one hour overview about the Zoomtext magnifier / speech software. Then on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, also at 1 pm CDT, Hadley will provide a one hour seminar about the vision accessibility features of the Apple operating software for iPhone. Both presentations are free but space is limited.

To register for the Zoomtext seminar, follow this link:

To register for the iOS seminar, follow this link:

Both presentations are audio only.

The Hadley School for the Blind provides free correspondence and Internet courses on a variety of topics for people with visual impairments. For more information, visit

Technology Tidbits

Here is some information regarding technology news and resources:

In a landmark partnership, Microsoft and GW Micro have combined forces to make Window Eyes software available free to anyone who purchases Microsoft Office products. Window Eyes will now come standard with Microsoft Office Version 10. Window Eyes is a screen reading software program that provides speech and Braille output to people who are blind and visually impaired. Please click on this link for the announcement:

Sitecues, by AI Squared, is a cloud-based, on-demand software tool that allows users to initiate magnification and text to speech capabilities within a web site. This technology can benefit individuals with blindness, low vision, and learning disabilities, as well as non-native speakers. AI Squared is the maker of ZoomText, a magnification and screen reading software product. For more information, including an FAQ, please visit

Appcessible is a site that aims to bring app developers and blind users together. Jonathan Mosen, the site creator, hopes that developers will invite members of the blind community to test their apps for accessibility. The web site includes a blog and podcasts:

Favor is an app that allows users to request errands from a team of runners. These errands can include anything from groceries to incidentals to take-out food. Individuals place orders and pay through their smartphones. The delivery fee is only $5 plus tip. For now, this service is only available in certain parts of Austin, but the creators hope to expand. This is a great service for individuals with disabilities who have limited transportation options. More information is available at:

iBUG, the iOS Blind Users Group of Houston

iBUG, the iOS Blind Users Group, was formed in 2011 out of a session given at the HAVIN Insight Expo at the University of Houston. The group’s goal is to help people become more proficient in using accessbility apps and features of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

iBIUG holds weekly conference calls and monthly face-to-face meetings, and has a website. The weekly Q&A call is held each Monday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The call is a help session for anyone with iOS or iDevice accessibility questions. The first 45 minutes are dedicated to the novice or new user. An app or iOS feature is demonstrated each week by one of the advanced members. The Q&A call is not toll-free, so it is best to use your cell phone or VOIP line to avoid long distance charges. To participate in the weekly call, dial (712) 432-0111. Enter the access code 154497, then the #, also called the pound sign. The calls are recorded and available through the iBUG website as podcasts.

iBUG also has a monthly face-to-face meeting on the fourth Saturday of each month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Apple Store-Highland Village, 4012 Westheimer in Houston. The next meeting is on Saturday, February 23, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Find out more about iBUG at their website




Some helpful and award-winning apps


Here’s an article about the winners and runners-up of the 2012 Vodaphone Foundation Smart Accessiblity Awards:

This is a European contest, and predominantly for Android apps, although some of them are also available for iOS. Here are the winners and runner-ups that are currently available in the United States:

A communication app. Winner in the Wellbeing category.

An accessible news-reader. Winner in the Independent Living category.

Hearing Aid – Cochlear
An app that amplifies human speech while filtering out background noise. Runner-up in the Independent Living category

IDEAL Group Reader
An easy e-book reader. Runner-up in the Independent Living category

Starting Blocks
An app that teaches individuals, especially those who are elderly, how to use a touchscreen mobile device. Winner in the Social Participation category.

Speech Assistant
A communication app. Runner-up in the Social Participation category.

Hopefully the other apps will be available in the United States soon.

Disability Information and Referral Staff maintain a growing list of Android and iOS apps. Please call 800-252-9605, or email for more information.