New Free Reading Tool Available For Blind And Physically Disabled

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

People who have trouble reading standard print books due to visual or other physical disabilities have a new tool at their disposal: An application that allows them to download books and magazines in audio and digital braille formats onto mobile devices free of charge.

The new BARD Mobile application is compatible with Apple iOS operating systems for versions 4.3 or later. These include iPhones of version 3 or later, iPod Touch versions 4 or later, and all versions of iPad.

The application was developed by the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which is part of the Library of Congress. Tennessee users must already be registered to use the Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped's Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service in order to use the application.

Using a BARD user identification number and password, users can download the BARD Mobile application from the Apple App store. That will allow access to BARD's web page, where books can be downloaded immediately.

There are more than 34,000 audio books and 12,000 digital braille books available for download through BARD - as well as magazines and music - with new titles being added daily. This includes a selection of more than 120 audio books in 10 different foreign languages.

The BARD web page has been operational since 2010. Prior to the release of the new mobile application, users were able to download books onto personal computers. Those files could then be retrieved and transferred to a digital talking book player or MP3 device designed especially for the blind and visually impaired.

The new application does not require files to be transferred. They can be downloaded and played on the same device, which makes BARD's service easier to use.

BARD's service has become increasingly popular. In the fiscal year that ended September 30, more than 62,000 books and magazines were downloaded by users – an increase of 29 percent over the previous fiscal year. The total number of BARD patrons increased 12 percent over the same time period.

"BARD is a wonderful service that makes books and magazines available to people who have difficulty reading standard print books," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "This new mobile application should make the service even more popular since it’s easier to use. This is one more way we are trying to use technology to provide better service to our customers, the citizens of Tennessee."

The Tennessee Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is part of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division within the Secretary of State's office.


Alzheimer’s Association Support Group Coming To Rhea County

The Alzheimer’s Association support group in Rhea County will hold its kickoff meeting on Tuesday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. at The Veranda Assisted Living Community. Alzheimer’s Association Education Liaison, Wendy Winters, will be the guest speaker for the initial meeting. The support group, facilitated by Melissa Wood, will hold regularly scheduled meetings on the fourth Tuesday ... (click for more)

9th Annual "Press Out Domestic Violence" Fundraiser Set For May 22

The ninth annual "Press Out Domestic Violence" fundraiser presented by the University of Tennessee College of Medicine - Chattanooga Transitional Year Residency Program and Erlanger Health System, will be Thursday, May 22, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Erlanger Medical Mall. All proceeds will benefit the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults of Chattanooga. Since 2006, ... (click for more)

Haslam Signs Bill Ending Forced Annexation And Giving Tennesseans Right To Vote

Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2371/SB2464 on Wednesday. The law ends forced annexations and gives Tennesseans the right to vote. The law now requires cities to annex by consent of the landowner or through referendum approved by a majority of the landowners to be annexed. As an additional protection to farmers, land primarily used for agriculture purposes may not be annexed by any ... (click for more)

One Of "Worst Of The Worst" Gets 10-Month Federal Sentence

One of the men labeled as the "worst of the worst" in a Chattanooga roundup was sentenced Tuesday to 10 months and three years supervised release after he pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Guy Wilkerson told Federal Judge Sandy Mattice, "I'm just a young father and I want the best for my kids." He said he apologized and that he knew what he ... (click for more)

Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day - And Response

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Jim Coppinger Excels

Jim Coppinger, who as the mayor of Hamilton County has understandably had to grow some thick skin, wants no part of the repulsive billboards now seen around town that ask, “Do you have gonorrhea?”  His Tuesday morning telephone call revealed he is just as disgusted as the rest of us who see them showing a picture of a forlorn African-American male. “You need to know the Hamilton ... (click for more)