[tabi] One millionth book downloaded from NLS BARD!

  • From: "Lynn Evans" <evans-lynn@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2010 13:05:32 -0400

March 25, 2010
Digital Talking-Book Internet Service Delivers One Millionth Download
On Feb. 21, 2010, Tonia Gatton downloaded the digital talking-book version
of "Charlotte's Web" to her home computer. She knew she was going to read a
classic of children's literature. What she didn't know was that she was also
making history.

Gatton's talking-book selection marked the one millionth piece of reading
material delivered by the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service,
a new initiative from the National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. Formally launched on
April 30, 2009, BARD quickly became popular. Today more than 15,000 of NLS's
more than 800,000 patrons are registered for access.

"We're gratified by the passionate response BARD has received," said NLS
director Frank Kurt Cylke. "At NLS, we strive to continually improve our
patrons' opportunities to access a wide range of reading material. BARD has
been an unequaled success in speeding delivery to our patrons."

Gatton, an NLS patron from Kentucky, selected "Charlotte's Web" from among
more than 18,000 titles currently available through BARD. In the past, NLS
patrons would have had to wait for E.B. White's children's classic to arrive
in the mail. BARD allowed Gatton to download a digital version for immediate

Gatton is a rehabilitation teacher at the Kentucky Office for the Blind. She
has been an NLS patron for more than 25 years.

"Finally having instant access to thousands of books and magazines that I
can download and read as desired, rather than waiting and hoping for new
books to come in the mail, has been an incredible experience," said Gatton.
"I've recently started going back and reading a lot of the classics that I
either hadn't read or didn't appreciate as a child, such as "Charlotte's
Web." After only a little over a year of using BARD, I can't imagine what I
did without it."

The next stage in BARD's development is to transfer administrative control
from NLS to state and local libraries serving blind and physically
handicapped readers. The Kentucky Talking Book Library, from which Gatton
receives services, assumed responsibility for administering BARD to its
patrons in March.

"Our patrons are enthusiastic about BARD. Some of the more computer-literate
readers have switched exclusively to downloading since the option became
available," said Barbara Penegor, branch manager of the Kentucky Talking
Book Library. "We are ready to become more directly involved in the service
and excited to learn that this milestone occurred so close to our assuming
full responsibility for the download activity."

NLS administers the free library program that loans materials to residents
of the United States and citizens living abroad who are unable to read or
use standard print materials because of visual or physical handicaps.
Materials loaned include braille and recorded books and magazines, music
scores in braille and large print, and specifically designed playback
equipment. The 121 network libraries-throughout the United States, the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands-provide
direct service to eligible individuals and institutions. Eligible American
citizens living abroad are also able to participate in the NLS program. For
more information about NLS, visit www.loc.gov/nls/.

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