The Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled is one of 55 network libraries partnering with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress. Special format materials and unique playback equipment are provided free of charge to those who qualify for the services. Through Congressional funding to the United States Postal Service (USPS), free mailing privileges are provided to all network libraries. Books are checked out for a 90-day loan period and can be renewed once for 30 days. In order to remain active in the library program, a patron must check out at least one book or subscribe to one magazine per year.

Regional Library patrons are very familiar with the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). Since late 2013, our patrons have been able to use mobile devices to download books, magazines, and music from a collection of more than 115,000 BARD titles available through the NLS.

Application and Eligibility

You are eligible for services if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You are legally blind.
  • You are unable to see standard print with corrected vision.
  • You have a physical limitation that keeps you from holding a book or turning its pages.
  • You are certified by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy as having a reading disability due to an organic dysfunction.
  • You are deaf-blind.

Whether a temporary or permanent loss, services are available when your disability is approved by a certifying authority as defined by NLS. Institutions who serve people with qualifying disabilities are also eligible for library service, with the certifying authority being the administrator of that facility or program. Veterans are given preference in all areas of service.

National Library Service Catalog

The Web Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) for the Alabama Regional Library For the Blind and Physically Disabled.

Currency Reader Program

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing provides currency readers, free of charge, to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals. Qualified residents interested in receiving a currency reader can have an application submitted for them through the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled.

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

BARD is a free library service of downloadable braille and audio reading material for residents of the United States and U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use standard printed material because of visual or physical disabilities. NLS maintains the website, uploads titles, and supplies libraries with circulation statistics. You must be a registered Regional Library/NLS patron to use BARD. Call us at 1-800-392-5671 or 334-213-3906 to be registered for BARD.

BARD Express FAQ

BARD Express provides NLS patrons with easy access to BARD. Use BARD Express to browse thousands of audiobooks and magazines, download them to your Windows-based computer, and transfer them to an NLS cartridge using a menu-driven interface. BARD Express can be used with as few as four keys while also providing advanced functionality for more adventurous users. To learn more, check out the FAQ on the NLS website. Bard Express Frequently asked Quesitons.

Books on Demand

The Regional Library first offered books on demand in 2012 through a service called Download Alabama. The program was designed to offer patrons without broadband access the ability to read up to ten books off of one customized cartridge. Today, the service is called Books on Demand (BOD), but it works similarly to the original service. Cartridges are individualized based on a patron’s request list or author/subject preferences. Cartridges are checked out to patrons for a three-month period. This program allows access to a constant flow of books to each recipient.


There is always information to share with groups and/or individuals interested in the programs offered through the Regional Library. If you are interested in having a representative join you for an upcoming community, social, or service group meeting; a health fair; or even a classroom visit, please give us a call and set up an appointment. Staff are always eager to provide applications and information for people to learn more about our many services.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Regional Library is always looking for new volunteers to lend helping hands in several areas of the operation. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer or know someone who is, please contact us by email or calling us at 1-800-392-5671 or 334-213-3906. An application must be submitted to the APLS Human Resources officer for consideration.