NLS and BARD Services
Katie Malloy, an Outreach Librarian at the Wisconsin Talking Books and Braille Library shared information on the National Library Service (NLS) and Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) services.
November 14, 2019
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Embracing Braille – NLS and BARD Services
Presented by Elyse Heinrich and Jennifer Ottowitz
November 14, 2019
Elyse H: Welcome, everybody, to our Embracing Braille call. My name's Elyse, and I'll be co-hosting today with Jennifer, who is standing in today as Vileen is still out of town. He will be back with us next week, so we'll all be anticipating, and looking for his safe return. Jennifer, would you like to say hi, tell us a little bit about you?
Jennifer O: Sure. Hi, everybody. I'm Jennifer Ottowitz, I'm a Senior Learning Expert here at Hadley, and I've had the good fortune to work with a couple of you in either Braille Lit 3, or Braille Lit 4. I've taught both those courses. I also am currently teaching the Introduction to Braille and Contracted Braille courses for family members and sighted professionals, and I'm a Braille reader myself. So, I'm really happy to be with you today.
Elyse H: Thank you, Jennifer. I am so happy you are with us, as your input and experience will be most helpful throughout. Feel free to jump in whenever you can.
Jennifer O: Thanks. Looking forward to it.
Elyse H: I'd like to introduce our guest.
This is Katie Malloy. She is at the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, and I'll let her explain a little bit about herself and what she does there, and share with the group about NLS, and also about BARD. Katie, are you with us still?
Katie Malloy: I am. I'm still here.
Elyse H: Wonderful. Okay.
Katie Malloy: Thank you for the introduction. My name's Katie Malloy. I am the Outreach Librarian here at the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library. We are a regional branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. You'll notice that they recently changed their name. They were formerly the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. That name change did not change who we're serving, that was just a change to be ... I think it sounded better, and it more accurately covered who we serve. A little bit about what I am going to talk about, and what I do.
As a librarian for the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, we serve the people of Wisconsin. The materials that we provide come from the National Library Service, the majority of them. That is how we serve the people of Wisconsin. However, as an employee I am not a direct [inaudible] NLS employee. Some of our policies and lending periods are slightly different state by state, so just be aware that, in your state, they might be slightly different. What I'm going to go over should apply to the nation and shouldn't be too different state by state. Some of the things I'm thinking of is, we offer audio described DVDs, and some libraries don't do that. Some libraries offer large print, we do not. What is the National Library Service? It is a free service for people with vision impairments, physical limitations that prevent the reading of standard print, and reading disabilities.
Regarding physical limitations, those are generally things that would limit your ability to handle a book, such as MS, severe Parkinson's. Anything that would limit your use of your arms, or limbs, or being able to turn pages, hold a book, things like that. Reading disabilities, we consider dyslexia, things that make it hard for a person to understand printed text. Then, vision impairment and blindness are the other things that can qualify a person for this service. The NLS provides material for any residents of the U.S., or citizens living abroad. If you are moving abroad and are going to be living out of the country for over a year, then NLS will provide you with materials abroad. If you're a resident in the U.S., and in the service area of one of the libraries, you can also get materials.
To get signed up, the first thing that you really have to do is just locate where your cooperating library would be. That would be done by going onto the NLS website, and finding the state supporting library. You can do that by just doing a Google search, and pulling up the LOC.gov website, and then selecting your state. Some states do have multiple libraries. Some of the bigger ones, like California, and even Virginia, with the bigger populations, do have multiple libraries, but a lot of the smaller states just have one. Once you get an application, and find out where your library is, you can either call us, or just download an application online, and get it filled out. The application does have to be signed by a certifying authority. That can be a doctor, or any professional staff that can verify that you have a qualifying limitation that would, basically, allow you to use the service. That's on the second page.
The only one that absolutely requires a doctor at the moment is the reading disability. This is true for the majority of the states, except for Texas and Pennsylvania, where they're doing a pilot program, and have different rules. Everywhere else, the reading disability has to be a doctor. To fill out the rest of it, the first page is just basic information, your address and everything. The second page is the certifying authority. The third page is where there's a little bit more fun information. You're selecting what kind of material you want, and also how you want the material sent to you. We do, primarily, two types of material. We'll do the audio, or the talking book, and braille material. A lot of people do both. You select either one, or both of those, and then you can also select if you want to have books picked for you or request only.
If you do request list only, that means that books will only be sent to you as you request them. If you have titles on your request list, they'll be sent out to you. If there's nothing on your request list, no books will be mailed to you. Auto select basically means you pick some categories, and then the computer automatically will send you books from those categories. For example, here, when a person gets signed up, if they select auto select, we'll put them at six books at a time, and the computer will select six books from their categories, such as Westerns, Best Sellers, History, and send them out six books. Then, when they send one back, they'll automatically get a new one from one of those categories. This works really well for someone who always wants to have books on-hand. You will get some, kind of, random books once in a while, because it's the computer picking out books from big categories. We have over a hundred thousand books on audio, so of course there's some duds in there. If you get one that you don't like, just send it back.
Speaking of sending materials. All of our material is mailed free matter for the blind or physically handicapped, so a patron never pays for any of it. The cartridges are sent out in cases that have a card on them. The card has the person's address on one side, and our address on the other side. When you're done reading the book, you turn the card over, and stick it in the mail, and it comes back to us. The same is true of the digital players. They come in boxes with a card on them that you turn over. If you ever have problems with it, let us know, and we'll send you a new one. You can send back the old one that's not working. That's a general overview of how we tailor the book selection, so you get things that you like. You can also give us authors. If you're on auto select, then that's a good way to make sure you're getting a little bit better books that you like. We do send out a bi-monthly catalog that comes from the NLS, of materials that have recently been added, that people can order from.
On the final page of the application there's more questions about some of the equipment that you are able to order. This includes the flash drive adapter. That's a cord that you can stick into your computer to make cartridges if you're going to download books from BARD, which I'll talk about in one minute. You can also select if you want to receive the digital player, if you want to just use BARD, or if you want to do both. You can get the player, and also download books from BARD, if you're interested in doing that.
So BARD is Braille Audio Reading Download, and it's the web and app version of audio and braille books that patrons can download. When you're first getting set up with BARD, you do have to already be a registered patron of your cooperating NLS library. Even if you're just going to use BARD to download the books, you do have to apply to become a patron of the library. Then, once you're set up as a patron, then you have to apply again to use BARD.
When you go on BARD, there is a link that says individual applications for BARD, where you fill out your basic information. It's kind of the same information that's on the application. Your name, address, and then email. Once you fill that in, we automatically get an email, and we verify that you're a patron. It will email you back, and let you set up a password. The password has a bunch of specifications, because it has to be secure. That's really the most common problem that we run into with people accessing BARD, is password issues. But once you get that set up, you can log in and start downloading books. You can download books to either a smart device, like a phone or a tablet, through an app, which you can download through the app store. It's just called NLS BARD. Then it will be right on your device.
You can stay logged into it, you can download up to 100 books a month, or every 30 days, and the books, you don't have to return them. They stay on your phone. You can delete them or keep them. Really, the 30-day limits with the 100 books is the only limitation that people have on BARD. You can also download the books to a computer and make your own cartridges. I personally think it's easier to download them directly to the smart device, because then you don't have to move the files, or zip them and unzip them. Using the BARD website is ... they're trying to make it a little bit more browsable. When you're looking up titles and books, you do have to search the title in quotation marks to get an exact search. You can search authors names, and they'll pull it up. There's a couple of different links where you can do the recently added.
Right now, NLS is in the process of contracting with a lot of commercial audio book makers, and they're getting a lot of new books. That is updated daily, so you can see all the new books that have been added on a link right on the BARD homepage. This is recently added books. There's a lot of different stuff that you can do with BARD. You can also download braille. At the moment, the NLS does not provide refreshable braille players. That is something that is in the works, and they are going to pilot a program within the next few years. That's the rumor going around, but we don't know who's going to get that, or anything like that. If you do want to download braille, you do have to have your own refreshable display. We can't provide them yet, but hopefully soon.
I can definitely open up for questions, because I know I've gone over a lot of material very quickly. If people have questions-
Elyse H: Yes, thank you. Thank you so much, Katie. This is really great information, and I'll let people have a minute to think about them. Or, I see some hands popping up. Also, maybe not right away, but we did have someone email in before, if you could talk about the founding to National Library Service, and of BARD. Or, talk a little bit about the background, if you're able to. That was a comment.
Katie Malloy: Yeah, I know a little bit about it. Not a whole lot.
Elyse H: Okay.
Katie Malloy: It was founded in 1931. I don't know how familiar people are with that. When it started, we sent out material on ... it was probably the Library of Copyrights and Material was sent out on records. It originally was just for adults with vision impairment. Let me grab something. It was eventually expanded ... let's see. Okay, yeah. It started in 1931, and it was originally just embossed format, so it was just braille. Then, in 1934, it included sound recordings. In '52, it included children's, and in '62, they started providing music scores. Then, in '66, they started also providing for people with physical limitations and reading disabilities. So, over the course of a brief period of time, they did a lot of big changes to expand. Basically, it started, pretty early on, providing just lifted braille.
Elyse H: Right. I think some other people in this group may talk to it, but remember the dinosaur of the cassette players?
Katie Malloy: Oh, yes.
Elyse H: They were so large, take up half the desk.
Jennifer O: I remember before that, you actually would give out record players, too, I believe, to play the records on. From records to cassettes, and now we got the digital cartridges.
Katie Malloy: From what I've heard of the records, too, those broke quite easily. They weren’t the greatest in the mail.
Elyse H: Oh, my gosh. Well, we'll keep the conversation going, and there's a hand up here, so please feel free to jump in for anyone in the group. I'm just going to start at the top of the list, and we'll keep going through.
Katie Malloy: Okay.
Elyse H: Beth, you're first in line. Go ahead.
Beth: Yeah. I was wondering. I already own a braille display, it's called a QBraille XL. I was wondering, somebody told me that you use the SD card to put a book on. Do you still need a cord that goes in the computer to do that, or do you just put the SD card in the slot there, and you download-
Katie Malloy: That I'm not sure about. The cord that we provide makes cartridges for the audio books, and I don't know that the cartridges that it makes would be compatible with anything other than the reader that we send out for the audiobooks. I don't think it's compatible with any braille readers right now, so I'm assuming you would need something to connect it.
Beth: This is for braille books. I'm not sure, even, how to do that.
Jennifer O: Beth, is your braille display connected to a computer, or is it a whole braille note taking device?
Beth: It's a whole note taker. That's what it's called. It's quite new, it's a QBraille XL. It's a whole note taker.
Jennifer O: Yeah, so my guess is, you would probably be able to download onto some kind of USB drive, and then put that directly into your device. That's usually the case with a braille note taker.
Beth: I don't even know how to do that. I want to start reading the braille books, but I don't know how to put it in. I would know how to put it in, but when it comes to downloading, I have a problem downloading BARD Express on the computer.
Katie Malloy: Oh, okay.
Jennifer O: Katie, I know in the Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, I believe you guys have somebody, if people have some technical difficulties, that they can talk through. You used to, I don't know, and that may or may not be the same in every state. But, would contacting the local ... I call the NLS libraries the talking book libraries. But their local talking book library, would that be the best place to start if you're having trouble downloading from BARD?
Katie Malloy: Yes, that would be the best place to start. Usually if you're having trouble downloading from BARD, we recommend you call us. Although, if you're having issues with the BARD Express, usually we can troubleshoot it, but I'm not even sure ... I guess I'm trying to figure out what the issue with Express would be. But yeah, I guess I would say contact the local library to see if they can troubleshoot it at all. If they can't, they might have you contact someone at the NLS to see if they can get more in depth with it, because they tend to be very familiar with it, too.
Beth: They can remote in the computer, and maybe see what's going on?
Katie Malloy: I don't know if they'll be able to do that, but they might be able to have you walk through what's going on and see if they can figure out how to fix it.
Beth: Okay, thanks.
Elyse H: That's a great suggestion, to call in for technical difficulties in your, I guess, local. But, according to what state you’re in, you can find someone that can help you with your accounts, and that ...
Katie Malloy: Oh, definitely. Yeah.
Elyse H: Very neat. Thanks, Beth. We have Rhonda, who's next in line.
Rhonda: Hi, Katie and Elyse. I'm also fortunate to live in Wisconsin, where there's been excellent service. This was the most comforting thing for me, when I could no longer read print, that I still could get audio books and stay up all night reading. The regional library has been able to get me books from all over the country, if they don't have it. It's easier now with the digital downloads, but I was thinking of the people who are calling in to Embracing Braille from other countries, especially from Canada. Katie, are you aware of any cooperation between services among different ... especially North America?
Katie Malloy: You know what? That is a good question. I don't know of any cooperating services. This is something I cannot verify, but I feel that Canada might have a similar service, because I have a friend up there whose mother was visually impaired and used a similar service. She's Canadian, obviously. She was the one ... when I started this job, she told me she was familiar with talking books, and the machine, and everything. I don't know if Canada has a similar library, but I think they might. I don't know much about it if they do.
Rhonda: I'm fairly certain they do, from questions people have asked in the past. In Wisconsin, we also get the Canada news in the evening, so they're always recommending Canada books that we don't have.
Katie Malloy: Oh, okay. Cool. We might start getting them, now that there's the Marrakesh Treaty, which is the international sharing of books.
Rhonda: Is that something that's pending?
Katie Malloy: No, it went through.
Rhonda: Oh, okay. Can you tell a little bit more about that? What you know about that?
Katie Malloy: I don't know too much about it, I just know that it's opened up our ability to get more sharing of international books. So there's hope that we'll be getting more translated English books from other countries. I don't know-
Elyse H: Oh, very neat. Can you spell that? You said Marrakesh Treaty?
Katie Malloy: Marrakesh, yeah.
Jennifer O: Marrakesh.
Katie Malloy: Oh, excuse me.
Jennifer O: Yeah, that might be an excellent topic for an upcoming Embracing Braille, too. I'm sure Vileen may have some more information about that as well. It was pending for many years and passed fairly recently. Right, Katie? Within the last year?
Katie Malloy: Yes, yes. Very recently.
Jennifer O: Especially now, in terms of braille even. It's a sharing of audio material as well as braille material, I believe, right?
Katie Malloy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jennifer O: Now, with Unified English Braille, most of the English-speaking countries are using the same code of braille, which actually makes sharing the materials a lot easier, too. Because now we're all using the same code.
Elyse H: Oh, I love it. I definitely will jot it down for a future idea here.
Jennifer O: Thank you so much.
Elyse H: Yes, it's really neat to learn from each other. Allison, I see your hand's up, so unmute your line.
Allison: I first wanted to make a comment, then I have a question. Katie, the library in Lansing, where I get my braille books, there is a gentleman who is a computer technician who is blind. He helps people solve technical issues. If people call him up, he's able to walk them through that sort of thing. Do you have any blind people working at your library?
Elyse H: We don't, no.
Allison: Okay. How big are the NLS players? I've never seen one. [crosstalk]
Katie Malloy: They're about, I'd say, maybe, eight inches by four inches. They're the size of a smaller cassette player.
Allison: Okay. I grew up with the four-track cassette, and those things are clunky.
Katie Malloy: Oh, yeah. They're not quite that clunky, but they're not very small either.
Jennifer O: It's not a micro cassette player, unfortunately.
Katie Malloy: No, no.
Jennifer O: But still a lot smaller than the one you probably remember, Allison.
Allison: Okay. What's the name of the catalog you send out? I get the Braille Book Review bi-monthly.
Katie Malloy: Oh, yes. The Talking Book Topics is the bi-monthly one for the audio books.
Allison: Oh, okay. Thank you.
Katie Malloy: Yeah.
Elyse H: Very neat. Thanks. Beth, you're next in line.
Beth: I was just curious. I have one of the Walkman size four track recorders, and the handy cassette, too. You don't happen to have any of the old four track cassette recorders by any chance? Because I have Guidepost. I get that on cassette. They're still doing cassettes, and I was wondering if you have used, or maybe not used, just ones that maybe ones that nobody ever used that ...
Katie Malloy: We don't have any cassette players anymore.
Beth: I even looked on eBay, because I thought maybe ... or Amazon. I thought maybe people had used ones.
Katie Malloy: I think they're hard to find now.
Beth: I was just curious.
Elyse H: Thanks, Beth. I know, some of those older model things are harder to find.
Beth: They are, yeah.
Elyse H: I'll keep my eyes and ears open, though. eBay might be an option, or some braille store. Like, it's stuck in the back of their shelves.
Beth: Yeah, that's true.
Elyse H: Somebody found it in the closet after so many years. Maybe the family doesn't know what it is, or what to do with it, kind of things.
Beth: Because, yes, if mine breaks, and then I ...
Elyse H: Yeah. I'm going to make a note here. We'll keep going down here. Allen K.
Allen: This is Allen. Couple of things. If you don't have a digital player you might want to get one, because there's nice features in it. You can bookmark parts of whatever you're listening to, and if you want to listen to it faster, like some people listen to their computer quicker, it doesn't change the pitch of the voice like it does on a cassette player. On a cassette player it sounds more like a munchkin when you speed it up, but it does not do that on the digital player. And, if you order multiple books, they can put more than one book on a cartridge, and you can toggle between the books using the bookshelf feature on the player as well. There's a lot of benefits to the new digital player. Over.
Elyse H: Thanks, Allen, for sharing. There sure are. Donald, you're next in line.
Donald: Hi. I still have a Library of Congress cassette machine, four tracks. When the one I had broke down, I got a replacement from my library. So, I think there are some regional libraries that can replace cassette players that break down. But as has been pointed out, there are still some magazines and books that are on cassettes that people listen to.
Katie Malloy: [inaudible] some libraries might still have some.
Elyse H: That's a good tip.
Donald: I was afraid mine wouldn't, but it did, it sent me a new one. I got it last year. I was happy that it did, but I was afraid it wouldn't, because I knew that the cassettes were phasing out of everywhere. I just wanted to let you know that I guess there are regional libraries that still service the cassette players and replace them. Fortunately, mine still does.
Jennifer O: That's a great idea, to check with your regional library first. Again, right? For many things.
Elyse H: That's neat. We have some open time, if anybody else would like to comment, or ask a question for our guest.
Jennifer O: Elyse, I actually have a question. Katie, I apologize if you mentioned this earlier, and I missed it.
Katie Malloy: Oh, no.
Jennifer O: The audio books, some of them are available in languages other than English, correct?
Katie Malloy: Yep. In our foreign language collection, the biggest group we have is Spanish, and we do have some other languages. We don't have a huge collection of any other languages, although Spanish, I would say, is definitely the biggest other language that we have. If you are interested in getting some of those books, you can look on BARD for them. There is a Foreign Language section where you can search. It's not real easy, but then we can also look them up for you, too. There are also music scores. NLS has quite a big music collection, and Music Appreciation, that's another special collection that they have if you're interested in it. Once again, if you're interested, contact your local library, and they can get you set up with information about that, too.
Jennifer O: Great, thanks.
Katie Malloy: Sure.
Jennifer O: It's good to know that there's lots of different options out there.
Katie Malloy: And we do have magazines, too. Those are available at all the libraries.
Elyse H: Oh, this is great information. Here we go, we have five other hands here. Denise, you are next in line.
Denise: Hi, thank you for getting to my question, and thank you for this. This is very informative, and I'm enjoying every bit of it. My question is about the BARD experience. I experience a lot of trouble trying to search books by author. Is there something that you can tell us that makes it easy? I go to find books, and then I'm trying to put the author's name in. Am I supposed to be putting punctuation marks in there that I'm not aware of, or what? Over.
Katie Malloy: No, you shouldn't have to put any punctuation mark in. Do you search with the last name first, or the first name first? I generally find just doing the last name easiest. Unfortunately, if it's a common name it will pull up keyword stuff.
Denise: Yes, I do that. It seems like it's hitting and missing. If that's just typical, then I'm not doing anything wrong. Over.
Katie Malloy: I would not say that you're doing anything wrong, because it is kind of ... at the moment, BARD does not really allow for any ... it's not the fastest searching stuff, though, with fuzzy searches. You're probably not doing anything wrong. It pulls up a lot of extraneous stuff, I find, when you do try and do searches. So I don't think you're doing anything wrong.
Denise: My next question is about BARD as well. I am a person that likes fiction and historical romance, and things like that. Right now it tries to take me to fiction that is suspense, and stuff like that. Is there something that I need to go to make changes? Over.
Katie Malloy: Let's see. Have you tried to do it by subject, or ...
Denise: You know how it will automatically select books for you, and show you titles that you like, and stuff?
Katie Malloy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Denise: And they're all about murder and suspense, and I'm like, well, I can take that a little bit. But, it's not my thing all the time. Over.
Katie Malloy: When you're on the app or the website, under the find books, if you try and do a search and do browse by subject, there is a subject that's historical ... What's it called? Historical Romance section. That might be a good way to go about browsing [crosstalk].
Denise: Maybe re-mark it.
Katie Malloy: I don't know why it would pull up Mystery for you.
Denise: It keeps doing it. I'm like, "No more murders. Please."
Katie Malloy: It must [crosstalk].
Denise: Thank you very much and thank you again for this topic. It's been a great topic.
Katie Malloy: Oh, of course.
Elyse H: I'm so glad you could join, Denise. Thanks.
Denise: Thank you.
Elyse H: Our next person in line is Binaebi.
Binaebi: Yes, I'm calling from Nigeria. I also want to ask a question.
Katie Malloy: Sure.
Elyse H: Okay, yeah.
Binaebi: I want to find out if, for an international student, if we can benefit from any of this. Can we?
Katie Malloy: For international, the library only does American citizens living abroad.
Elyse H: Binaebi, did you live in the U.S. before you were in Nigeria?
Elyse H: Okay.
Katie Malloy: Yeah, unfortunately I don't think so then.
Jennifer O: Katie, do you know if the Library of Congress, if people look that up online, could they at all help find resources for people in other countries? Lending libraries, or lending programs? Could they possibly try contacting the Library of Congress here in U.S. to find out, and get a referral?
Katie Malloy: That's a good question. That's something I don't know. I don't really see why not, but I'm not exactly sure where to even start with that. I'd have to do some more looking for that, too.
Elyse H: I'm jotting it down as well. We can follow up with it after this and connect. Maybe we can find a phone number for Binaebi to work with.
Jennifer O: It's a great question, and Vileen may have some more resources, too.
Binaebi: Thank you so much.
Elyse H: You're welcome. Thanks for joining us. Allen K, you're next in line.
Allen: I mentioned magazines as well, but another thing that the digital player does, is it can jump through either chapters or headers, so it's a little bit faster to navigate through those as well. That's one thing I forgot to mention. Over.
Elyse H: Thanks, Allen. Talking about those digital talking players. Lot of options for navigation. Donald, are you with us?
Elyse H: All right.
Donald: Just wanted to mention the possibility. I download books and magazines from BARD, and I haven't done subjects or authors too much, but my experience with any website, and any search engine is that, if you keep on trying to figure out different word combinations to put in, eventually you get the combination that will get you what you want. You might just have to do it for a while. Play with it for a while, do different words, and different ideas. I think Historical Romance was a great suggestion for beginning there and get that. I'm amazed at how the computer can find things, but at the same time, it's very aggravating when you have to go through about 10 searches to find out the thing you really want, because you didn't have the right words for the engine.
Katie Malloy: Exactly.
Jennifer O: Yeah, I agree.
Donald: But I think that might help, is just play around with it, and experiment with different word combinations, and finally, you might hit pay dirt.
Elyse H: Good idea, Donald. Let's go over to Jonathan. Are you with us here, with our sound?
Jonathan: Hello. Yes, thank you.
Elyse H: Wonderful.
Jonathan: I had two questions. One, I've been to the BARD website to download audiobooks, and that's great. I really haven't found much in the way of instructional materials, though, like educational materials. I'd like to know if BARD has those, or if there's a better way of searching for things like that. Like books about math or something, but not just general things about math. Like, teaching math, or teaching science, or something like that. My other question is about the ... you mentioned that there's a cable, or something that you can use to make the cassettes that go into the digital player. Could you tell me a little more about that, and how that works? Thank you.
Katie Malloy: Sure. To answer your first question, we do not have textbooks, and I think teaching material would probably fall under that. I think it's mainly because you can get it from places like Learning Ally. I could still look to see if we have anything similar to teaching materials, but I think it would fall under the textbook category.
Jennifer O: I was going to chime in, Katie, to agree with that. National Library Service generally tends to be recreational reading, where academic instructional material, professional manuals, things like DSM-IV, if you're a psychologist. Those types of materials would be more available from Learning Ally.
Jonathan: I see.
Katie Malloy: Yes, exactly.
Jonathan: I've gotten books from Learning Ally in the past, but it seems to me the NLS recordings generally tend to be higher quality with the description. For instance, I had books on anatomy, or neurology, and things like that. Any time there were diagrams, or images, they would simply say this is a picture of that. Actually describe. Whereas the NLS does a really good job of describing things, they weren't useful at all that way. Anyway, I'm sorry to interrupt you. You were talking about the other.
Katie Malloy: Oh, yes. The cable, it's a USB on one end, and then on the other end, it's also a USB, but it's bigger, so you can stick the cartridge into it. It's just a converter so you can make the cartridges. You can buy the blank cartridges on Amazon, and then if you want to make your own from BARD, instead of a flash drive, you can do that. We can send you the converter.
Jonathan: Oh, that's cool. Thank you.
Elyse H: That's a great option, and I'll be sure to add that to our show notes as well, for anyone else that's interested in the USB to cartridge, that converter, so they can follow up on that.
Jonathan: Thank you.
Elyse H: You're welcome. Our next caller, their name is E. Hernandez.
Elvia: Oh, hi. This is Elvia. I just wanted to make a comment. I'm a memory of the NLS Library of Congress here in Austin, Texas, and I have been for many years. I really, really enjoy it, and I use BARD, but I download directly to a USB. My favorite thing about NLS is the talking book club, because I get to listen to different types of books. That keeps me interested in listening, other than to just what I usually like to listen. It's a great service. A great service.
Elyse H: Thanks for sharing.
Katie Malloy: Yeah, thank you. I'm not sure what kind of book club you guys do, but in Wisconsin we also do a book club, and I know other places do book clubs. I know the Wolfner Library in Missouri does multiple book clubs, where they have different types of books that each book club reads. That's also something that each of the regional libraries does differently. It's also interesting to hear about what each state does, stuff. I'm glad to hear that you have a good one down in Texas, too.
Elvia: Thank you.
Elyse H: Allison, you're next in line.
Allison: I wanted to comment on Jonathon's question about where he could get academic material. If you're a student here at Hadley, I don't know now many courses you have to take, but if he takes a couple of courses through Hadley, he should be able to get a free account through Bookshare, and he could get those materials through them, too. Through Bookshare. They also provide academic material.
Jennifer O: That's another great resource, Allison. Thank you for mentioning that. I forgot about that one.
Elyse H: Yeah, for sure. I'll put that in our show notes as well, for Bookshare. Beth, you're next in line.
Beth: I also have a question for Katie about ... I have a challenge about, if you hear about some author on some shows, like these talk shows on TV, if you don't know how to spell it, do you try to spell it phonetically? Sometimes it's hard, because it doesn't come up, and I'm wondering if I'm, maybe, not spelling it right.
Katie Malloy: Oh, yeah. That's a hard one for me, too, because when I'm on the phone taking people's requests, and everything, if I can't spell an author's name what I always do is, I do [inaudible], to see if Google will tell me how to spell it, and then get the spelling.
Beth: You do what?
Katie Malloy: I just Google it to see how to spell it.
Beth: Oh, okay.
Katie Malloy: And then put in the right spelling, because I'm quite a bad speller, myself.
Elyse H: This is Elyse ...
Katie Malloy: That's what I always do. Oh, go ahead.
Elyse H: Sometimes I ask my A lady on the wall, how do I spell a word. Sometimes she's spot-on, and sometimes not so much. If you remember-
Beth: I had ... Oh, sorry.
Jennifer O: I was just going to say, another suggestion if you're not quite sure how to type it in whenever you're searching for something, again, I got back to call your local research library and ask them over the phone. They may be familiar with the author's name. You may be able to say it, but not know how to spell it, and they may know, and be able to look it up. So you can ask for help.
Katie Malloy: There's a lot of options.
Beth: Another question, you had said that there's a hundred books you can download a month, is it that way for braille books? Over.
Katie Malloy: That's a good question. As far as I know, there's not a limit. They have not told us there's one, but I assume that it would be the same. So far, I've only had people run into the limit with the audiobooks, but I assume that it's also a hundred a month for the braille books, too.
Beth: Okay, thanks.
Katie Malloy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Elyse H: Great questions. Roderick. We have a few more hands up. Roderick, you're next in line.
Roderick: Hello, this is Roderick. I've wondered about BARD ever since I first heard about it, and I don't think this has been addressed. Is it possible, when you download a book, or books, that you're able to keep them? That you don't have to send them back? That's my question. Over.
Katie Malloy: Yes, once you download it, you can keep if for as long as you'd like. You can either store it on your mobile device, or a flash drive. That's the nice thing about BARD, is you don't have to return them. Once they're downloaded you have them, unless you get rid of your smart device. Then you'd have to re-download it.
Elyse H: Right. You don't have to have a whole bookshelf ready to hold all these hard copy braille books somewhere.
Jennifer O: A virtual bookshelf takes up a lot less space.
Katie Malloy: A lot smaller.
Elyse H: I love that we're having such a great discussion. We do have a few minutes left before we wrap up, so I'll try to get a few more callers. This person's number starts 210. Can you tell us your name, please?
Kaliana: Yes, hi. I'm Kaliana, from New Jersey.
Elyse H: Welcome. Thanks for joining.
Kaliana: Actually, I have two questions. One is, for the magazines, do they also send the previous magazines, especially the eldest version of the magazine? Two, I believe you said that there's one that ... the books, is the request feature. If you ask for the request feature, and you haven't put any request for some amount of time, if they would happen to just send you random books, or if they happen to cancel your account, or like that?
Katie Malloy: With the magazines, we don't send the older ones, we just send the current issue. You can download some of the older ones on BARD. I'm not sure how far back that goes, though. If you are on request only on your account, you will not get any books sent to you that are not on your request list. If you don't order anything for a year, your account will be made inactive. The same is true for BARD. If you don't download anything for six months, your account will be suspended. They just changed that, it used to be a year, so now people who aren't real frequent users will sometimes go and their account's inactive. They just got to call their regional library, and we can reactivate them. Usually someone who hasn't ordered anything for over a year, we'll send them a letter to see what's going on. If they just want to be inactive for a while, that's fine. Or, if they want to cancel the service, they'll just let us know. If they're on auto select, of course, they would get books sent to them, so they shouldn't be inactive unless they would like to be, and then they'll just let us know. Like, if they went on a trip, or something.
Elyse H: Great questions. Thanks. Good news, bad news everyone. We are running out of time. I'm so happy to see the participation, but I do need to put a fork in it here. The good news is, next week we have our open question and answer session. For November 21st, please jot down your ideas right now, your comments, and we can continue the conversation going with BARD, and all things braille downloading. Also have some other follow-up information from last week we had some emails about. I'll bring those and bring your ideas to the table. Before we go, I do want to say thank you so, so much to Katie, our guest presenter today, for coming on and sharing your expertise, and sharing so much about the libraries with our group. It really was very informative, and I hope everyone learned a lot. I know I did.
Katie Malloy: Thank you guys.
Elyse H: We'll wrap up here. Thank you again, everyone, for joining our Embracing Braille call.