By David Lenz
I am not one that uses a computer after work hours. But I do enjoy reading a good book. With digital talking books, I can take a book to the garage and work on a project and read at the same time. It works best when I am working in the garden or fishing.
Using the Braille Audio Reading Download (BARD) system, through the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, has become the best technology I use outside of work. It took me a short time to work out how to download books from the online site. I must say, if I can do it anyone can.
To store the downloaded books, I bought five cartridges to use in my digital talking book player from the Iowa Department for the Blind’s Aids and Devices store. On one cartridge I put magazines and books for learning, such as cookbooks, gardening, wood projects and fishing. On the other cartridges I put a mixture of fiction and nonfiction.
Talking book technology has changed a lot in the last 45 years. When I first started reading books from the library everything was in Braille or on hard records and played at 33 and 1/3 and 16. Then they went to flexible records and speed 8. At the time that was a big improvement. At one time the library had a record player and a cassette player combined.
I have seen the beginning and the end of cassettes, the future is in digital because is a lot more manageable and lets me have more choices.
To use the BARD system, you must be signed up for services from the ILBPH. Once there, you can download as many books as you want.