Home > Services to American Citizens Abroad

How This Works


This program serves blind and physically handicapped U.S. citizens living outside of the United States of America who cannot use standard print library materials. With the cooperation of authors and publishers who grant permission to use copyrighted works without royalty, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines on recorded discs and cassettes and in braille. Special cassette and record players are needed to listen to these, because they are recorded at speeds slower than those of commercial equipment. Reading materials and special machines are sent to readers and returned to NLS by postage-free mail. The book collections consist of recreational and informational reading for adults and children at all grade levels. We publish two booklets every other month that list new audio books, Talking Book Topics, and braille books, Braille Book Review.

A librarian on our staff manages services for readers registered outside the U.S. If you are an American citizen and are residing outside of the U.S, please contact the overseas service librarian to provide the required proof of U.S. citizenship and workout the details of proper equipment for audio books, frequency of shipping books, new address, and so forth. A patron handbook provides some details on procedures. In addition, we encourage readers to work out arrangements with our overseas service librarian prior to departure, if possible. You may want to browse through our Overseas Patron Handbook to learn more details about how our overseas service works.

NLS publishes a patron newsletter, Overseas Outlook for patrons living outside the United States. The overseas librarian will automatically add a subscription for each reader for this large-print publication. Beginning with the January through June, 2002 issue, this publication is also available online. Link to the list of issues of Overseas Outlook.

The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

The Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) is also available to registered Overseas patrons. Eligible readers can download Library of Congress digital talking books 24 hours a day. You will need to be a registered overseas patron in good standing, and have an NLS-authorized digital player. You will also need to have a computer with high-speed internet access (not dial up), a valid email address, a flash cartridge and cable for connecting it to your computer. Note: those interested in BARD should have moderate computer knowledge, including how to search the Internet and fill out online forms, how to download, unzip, and save files, and how to transfer files from one place to another.

BARD requires the completion of a separate online application.

Registered BARD users—select this link to download NLS digital talking books.

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Posted on 2011-09-02