Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Free Library of Philadelphia
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BARD 24/7 Book Download Service

How the Program Operates


A wide variety of books and magazines for adults and children plus the necessary playback equipment may be borrowed. Books are available on many different subjects such as religion, sports, politics, science fiction and travel. The collection also includes best sellers, classics, biographies, poetry, plays, and much more.


MAGAZINE titles range in subject from Good Housekeeping to Newsweek, and National Geographic to Sports Illustrated. Children’s magazines include Cricket and Spider. Most recorded magazines are produced on cassette.

CASSETTE BOOKS require a special cassette player, which is loaned free to readers. It is necessary to have this special cassette machine that plays four track tapes at 15/16 inches per second. The cassette player operates by a rechargeable battery. Many readers like cassettes because they are portable and easy to store.

BRAILLE BOOKS and magazines are available for adults and children. The children’s braille collection includes books having both the printed word and braille on each page.

LARGE PRINT BOOKS are available for use by partially sighted persons who have difficulty reading standard print. These books are printed in LARGER THAN NORMAL TYPE. In addition to the Regional Libraries’ collections, many public libraries in the State have large print books.

ATTACHMENTS are available for use with the equipment loaned. Please see application for more details.

How the Program Operates:

Pennsylvania’s two Regional Libraries have over 40,000 individual book titles available for circulation. Many new titles are added each year. The collection is large enough to meet the general reading needs of most readers.

When a completed application form is received, the Library mails to the new reader catalogs of books and magazines available for selection. Patrons will also receive the bimonthly publications Talking Book Topics and/or Braille Book Review that announce the latest available titles. The necessary playback machines are delivered or mailed to new readers, and instructions on the use of each machine are included.

ALL SERVICES ARE FREE OF CHARGE. This includes mailing and equipment. Books, magazines and the playback equipment may be sent and returned free through the United States Postal Service. The loan period for all books is one month.

Although 95% of the service is provided through the mail to readers in their homes and/or institutions, all are invited and encouraged to visit the Regional Libraries in person.


After you are registered with the library you will receive: a welcome letter; catalogs listing cassette books or Braille books with order forms; and a catalog listing magazines on cassette and in braille.

Due to the way U.S. Post Office fourth-class bulk mail is handled, your cassette books will arrive a little before your cassette player arrives. Please be patient. You need our special cassette player to hear our four-track cassette books.

It takes about six weeks for you to start receiving your bimonthly copy of either Talking Book Topics, the NLS annotated catalog of new books produced on tape or the Braille Review, the NLS annotated catalog of new Braille books produced.