California NLS Libraries Offer Free Subscription to is only available to persons with a certified print disability. Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), California NLS network libraries in Sacramento, California NLS network libraries Los Angeles, California NLS network libraries Fresno, and California NLS network libraries San Francisco will be continuing with the fourth year of a four-year pilot project for their patrons to access>, a nonprofit service of downloadable electronic braille and text-to-speech (synthetic voice) audio books with a current archive of over 600,000 plus titles in all genres. Although some titles overlap with the NLS collection of roughly 110,000 titles, Bookshare exponentially increases the number of books for people with print disabilities, including fiction and nonfiction of all types, and scholarly works. This year we continue with 500 total seats/licenses for NLS patrons in California, and we are offering seats to new, eligible users as of September 1, 2020 and lasting through August 31, 2021. Existing participants may continue their subscription uninterrupted, but anyone who wishes to stop using the library-provided membership should contact us ASAP so your seat can be given to another patron. If the program continues to be successful, we hope to secure additional funding for extending the grant-based service.

If you are an enrolled student in primary, secondary, or post-secondary (college or graduate) school, you are eligible for a free Bookshare membership under a U.S. Department of Education grant and can indicate your school when applying for an account directly

Because Bookshare is an online, download service, patrons who are comfortable and experienced with computers and file management, including BARD subscribers or current Bookshare subscribers with limited resources when their accounts are about to expire, are most encouraged to partake of this ordinarily fee-based service. The books are available in electronic braille files that can be read on refreshable braille displays, text-to-speech (TTS) DAISY files, and TTS MP3 audio files that can be played on the NLS Digital Talking Book Machine in addition to several third party commercial players. There is a free online DAISY player software to listen to DAISY TTS files on one's computer as well. Please visit to read more about this great service.

If you would like to receive a one year free Bookshare subscription, please call 800-952-5666 or send an email to We will be accepting new participants throughout the 12-month grant timeline until all seats are filled. The seats will be divided with approximately 225 seat licenses available for BTBL patrons.

Patrons should contact the library to obtain a license/subscription code to begin Bookshare service. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Bookshare Support

Archived recording of free Bookshare Webinar
Bookshare Online Help Center

A young African-American man listening to an audio book.