New Free Reading Tool Available For Blind And Physically Disabled

Wednesday, December 4, 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.


Legislation To Address Out-Of-Pocket Costs For Cancer Patients Heard In Senate Committee

The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, SB2091/HB2239, was before the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee Tuesday. Committee members heard testimony from a variety of sources about the benefits of the bill that allows cancer patients to get the treatment that is determined by their doctor to be the best option without out-of-pocket costs being a deterrent, said officials.  Bill ... (click for more)

Northside Neighborhood House Receives Gift From Food Lion

Northside Neighborhood House has received $1,000 from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation to help feed and provide education to local residents. Northside Neighborhood House will use the gift for its Healthy Families Program, which offers cooking classes and family dinner nights.  “The NNH is so grateful for this support from Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation,” ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Chickamauga Lock Construction Will Continue For 2nd Consecutive Year

Senator Lamar Alexander says the latest Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan includes great news for East Tennessee – and everyone who benefits from river traffic passing through the Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga. In addition to funding slated for the first three priority projects of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, the Corps of Engineers’ plan includes $29.9 million to continue ... (click for more)

Couple Arrested After 373 Grams Of Ice Meth And Loaded Gun Found At Their Hickory Valley Road Apartment

Federal authorities have arrested a Chattanooga couple after finding them with 373.4 grams of Ice meth at an apartment in East Brainerd. Charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance are Sergio Lizaola and Amy Lee Ramos-Collazo. Lizaola is also charged on a firearm count. Agents said two small children were present along with the couple during a search of ... (click for more)

Rick Smith Should Not Be Paid To Leave

Taxpayers of Hamilton County should take note that a majority of the members of the school board are getting ready to give Rick Smith the buyout that he wants.  Do you agree that someone should be paid for taking the coward's way out?  Rick Smith should be fired for cause. Not paid to leave.   If you don't want the board members to pay him off, call or ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Momma Bears Roar

If I could count Hamilton County’s best educators on one hand, Normal Park Elementary Principal Jill Levine would be the biggest finger. What she and her faculty and a dazzling commitment from both her students and parents have accomplished is an educational dream. I am told people literally move to North Chattanooga just so their children will be zoned for the award-winning school. ... (click for more)