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Guest Blogger – Emily Romero ’00

Highlighting the Colorado Talking Book Library and the BARD Mobile App          It’s back-to-school season for folks of all ages, and I want to take this time to feature a resource which has been an immense help to…

October 7, 2020
Savannah Wippel
Guest Blogger

Highlighting the Colorado Talking Book Library and the BARD Mobile App

         It’s back-to-school season for folks of all ages, and I want to take this time to feature a resource which has been an immense help to me all the way from preschool up to the present, which includes starting my Ph.D. The Colorado Talking Book Library is located in Denver and serves as Colorado’s branch of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, which is a branch of the library of congress. Eligible patrons of the Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL) receive access to the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service, as well as digital books and described videos on disc without having to pay for postage.

Getting Started

         To apply for services through CTBL call, email, or fax them. I personally find their response times to be awesome. They can be reached by phone at: 303-727-9277, and their fax number is: 303-727-9281. Email them at: ctbl.info@cde.state.co.us, ctbl.info@cde.state.co.us.

Alternatively, you can fill out an application form for National Library Service (NLS) membership at the following link.


Unfortunately, I can’t remember my own experiences with the signup process as my parents had to do this for me back in the 90’s when I was a little too young to do it on my own. I do however remember that during my time as an Anchor student I enjoyed a number of CTBL titles.

Once You’re In

         There are a number of different ways to request digital materials through CTBL and I will highlight a few of the simplest here. Firstly, it is possible to use the BARD Mobile application on your smartphone or tablet. Once you have or your child has an account, use the BARD Mobile app to search for, download, listen to, navigate through, and organize your title. BARD Mobile works for books and magazines and there are a number of high quality magazines for children available this way.

If you prefer, CTBL can also send you a digital talking book player and a reloadable cartridge onto which you can download BARD books via your computer, or individual cartridges containing one book or several. To subscribe to magazines, call CTBL and let them know which ones you’d like to receive.

You can call CTBL to request individual titles or order them to be shipped to your home via their website.


There is just one way to get descriptive DVD’s, and that’s good old-fashioned snail mail. Request them via a phone call or by ordering them through the CTBL website.

Other Fun

         When the world is functioning normally, that is, once we are through the COVID19 (Corona Virus) pandemic keep a look out for patron open houses put on every summer at CTBL. At such events, you can meet your reader advisors, the librarians with whom you speak by phone, enjoy refreshments, and when available even go into the recording studio with your child to record whatever you and your child choose. These are also a great networking opportunity for you and your child to connect with other patrons.

As an active patron myself, I’m happy to answer any of your questions about CTBL  and how to utilize its services. Feel free to send me an email at:


May each of you have a smooth and exciting start to the school year; happy early fall!



Emily Romero was born in Denver, CO in 1995 and attended Anchor Center from 1996—2000 and an Anchor Center contributor. She received a B.A. in Spanish along with a B.S. in psychology in 2018 and an M.A. in applied psychology and creative writing in 2020 from Regis University, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. She acts as a Spanish instructor for five private students as well as freelance writing. Emily Romero enjoys reading (especially science and historical fiction), creative writing, playing boardgames, cooking, and trivia. She lives in Northglenn, CO with her parents, sister, grandmother, two crazy dogs and two sneaky cats. Find her on Linked In.

Read Emily’s other posts: Learning During Uncertain Times: Remote Resources for You , Listen to Stories Over the Phone, and Braille in Spanish.