Category Archives: Talking Book & Braille Service (TBBS)

The Big READ and Talking Books

Put The Big READ and Talking Books together to include more readers in your discussion groups! . Almost all of the titles are available as digital books on the new cartridges from Talking Book and Braille Service. Contact Dave Oertli or Annette Hall to find out more.
Remember, Talking Book and Braille Service is for anyone who can’t use regular print because of a visual or physical impairment. Individuals can qualify if they can read large print but struggle with regular font. Individuals with Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and arthritis may also qualify for the service.

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Recording a Nebraska Talking Book: From Farm to Fork

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For Someone Who Needs Talking Books, You Can Make It Easy!

During 2009 NLA/NEMA conference, we enjoying visiting with you at the Nebraska Library Commission booth. We especially enjoyed showing off the talking books on cartridge and the new digital player. Talking books are a wonderful, liberating resource for someone who struggles with regular print because of visual or physical impairment. But at the same time, talking books frequently enter someone’s life at a point where they are trying to come to terms with macular degeneration, stroke, glaucoma, or some other unwelcome disability. They may feel a deep personal lose and have a hard time accepting that talking book service is a gain.
The good new is: you can make it easy for someone who needs to transition to talking books! A librarian can sign the application form for an individual who qualifies because of visual or physical disability–someone who cannot see regular print or hold a book or turn its pages. It is only reading disability, such as dyslexia, that requires a medical doctor’s signature. Sometimes a prospective talking book reader has no problem taking an application to an optometrist, or a nurse, or a family doctor. But sometimes, in the midst of a suddenly complicated life, a prospective reader struggles with the logistics of obtaining the signature of a medical professional.
So please remember that your signature on a talking book application form is pure gold to someone who needs talking books. If you need a supply of application forms, please let us know. If you would like some of our new rack cards, let us know that as well. E-mail. Toll-free: 800-742-7691.

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NCompass Live Taking Brief Hiatus

On Wednesday, January 7, 2009, the Nebraska Library Commission premiered our new weekly online event, NCompass Live. Since the first broadcast, more than 230 people have attended NCompass Live sessions and the recordings have been watched over 125 times.
NCompass Live will be taking a short break while the Nebraska Library Commission switches to new online meeting software, Microsoft Live Meeting. We’re not sure how long the transition will take, but we hope to be back with new NCompass Live sessions sometime in July. As soon as the new system is ready, we will announce the new schedule via our mailing lists and blog.
Until we are back live again, you can watch archived recordings of our previous NCompass Live sessions.

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NCompass Live Update

NCompass Live, the Nebraska Library Commission’s weekly online event, has now been online for seven weeks. Session topics thus far have included an overview of the Commission’s departments, Bibliostat, new downloadable audio books from Library of Congress Talking Books, free health resources from the National Library of Medicine, and a wrap-up for Nebraska Learns 2.0.
Future topics already scheduled include the new NebraskAccess web site, tips on buying computers, and One Book, One Nebraska. We don’t schedule too far out, so if a hot topic comes up, it can be fitted in quickly. If you have a suggestion for a topic of interest to Nebraska library staff, please let us know by e-mailing Christa Burns.
Sessions usually fill up quickly. So if you are interested in a topic when it is announced, sign up right away. If the class is full, do join the waiting list. When a topic is super popular, we will try to accommodate additional attendees.
Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and make comments. If you have a microphone, you may chime in vocally. If you don’t have a microphone, you may use text chat. Or, if your library doesn’t have a microphone to use with your computers, you may request one from the Nebraska Library Commission, at no cost to your library, by contacting Jeannette Powell at least a week in advance of your session.
NCompass Live sessions are recorded and may be played back at anytime via the Internet. Library staff who attend the live sessions or watch recordings may receive Nebraska Library Commission C.E. Credits. For more information, see

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NCompass Live to Premiere in January

On Wednesday, January 7, 2009, the Nebraska Library Commission will premiere a new weekly online event, NCompass Live.
NCompass Live will cover NLC activities and library topics presented by NLC staff and guests. The free one-hour sessions will be offered every Wednesday at 10:00AM (CT) and will include a mixture of presentations, interviews, book reviews, Web tours, mini training sessions, and Q & A sessions.
NCompass Live will be presented online using Centra Live eMeeting software. Centra sessions are live presentations that you access from your own computer via the Web. Audio is provided via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) using a microphone. Sessions will be recorded for anyone who may want to see it again or who cannot attend it at the scheduled time.
Check out NCompass Live for the schedule and to register for a session.

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Talking Books Without Green Boxes?

Talking book readers are now able to download their favorite talking books instead of waiting for green boxes to arrive through the mail. Library of Congress now offers an expanded test site with over 11,000 recorded books and 37 magazines. Active borrowers of the Talking Book and Braille Service can sign up for this free service if they have access to 1) a computer with email; 2) a high speed connection (sorry, dial-up is too slow); and 3) a digital player that is equipped for the talking book special format, plus a digital card. During this expanded test phase, individuals may sign up, but not facilities, including schools. Facilities will be able to sign up later on, probably by next spring.
Eventually talking book readers will be loaned free digital players, in the same way they are being loaned free cassette players from the Talking Book and Braille Service. But right now, and for at least the next few years, readers would need to purchase a digital player and card in order to access the online books and magazines from Library of Congress. At this moment, there are three models of digital players which can be purchased:
1) The VictorReader Stream.
2) The LevelStar Icon.
3) Braille Plus Mobile Manager.
We wish we had a free Library of Congress digital player to loan to all talking book readers; and that will happen later. For now, if a reader cannot afford one of the commercial players listed above, they can still borrow the very same new books and magazines on audio cassette from us.
Individuals who decide to purchase their own digital player should give us a call, so we can tell them how to sign up for service from the Library of Congress direct download web site. We will also keep current information about any new digital players that could be purchased for use with this site.

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Another Twitter Reference Question Revealed

About once a week, it’s fun to reveal the answers to questions we’ve received, posted on our Twitter page and answered. This week, Dave Oertli, our Talking Book & Braille Service Director received a question about a recording of Edward R. Murrow that commemorated the 25th anniversary of talking books. Dave made a series of calls and lo and behold, found out the original recording does exist and was produced for the Library of Congress by the American Foundation for the Blind in 1951. Great sleuthing Dave!

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NLC Web Sites Down Saturday January 5th

All Nebraska Library Commission web sites, including NebraskAccess and Nebraska Memories, will be down for 10-12 hours on Saturday, January 5th, beginning at 6am.
This power outage is due to electrical work being done in the Atrium building and affects all NLC web sites. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to your own services.
1. If your library links directly to the database resources from your own library web site, and does not go through or login via the NebraskAccess web site, the power outage will NOT affect your use of the resources.
2. Libraries that use the NebraskAccess web site to link to the databases can use direct links and passwords during the outage. If your library has IP access, you will not need the usernames and passwords from within the library.
3. For those libraries and patrons that use the NebraskAccess web site to link to and login to the databases, you may use the direct links to login to select resources during this time.
A message with the direct database links and passwords has been sent to all Nebraska Library Commission mailing lists. If you did not receive this message, please contact the Reference Desk for the information at 800-307-2665 or 402-471-4016. Please note that the Commission closes at 5:00pm tonight.

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Champion for people with disabilities passes away

Former Nebraskan Alice Hagemeyer is a nationally-recognized advocate of library service to deaf individuals and founder of Friends of Libraries for Deaf Action (FOLDA). Ms. Hagemeyer announced that a colleague and advocate for people with disabilities, Frank Bowe, Ph.D., passed away at age 60. Dr. Bowe was professor of counseling, research, special education, and rehabilitation at Hofstra University.
In 2006, Professor Bowe published research which documented that many Americans with disabilities:
–endured poverty. 75% earn less than $20,000 per year. Poverty rates were greater than 25%.
–(less than half) did not have private health insurance.
–subsisted primarily on Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
–(if still in school) were likely to lag behind their nondisabled peers. For instance, 61% of nine-year-olds with disabilities were in third-grade instead of fourth.
We need serious researchers, such as Dr. Bowe, to cast light upon the impact of disabilities. BTW, Dr. Bowe was a deaf individual.

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Posters for you and your community

Nebraska public librarians would have received two posters and two document stands that promote free talking book services. If you didn’t or you want more, just let me know. We have some supplies on hand. Hope you found a spot for one of the posters within your library–maybe near the audio books or large print. The other one is for you to take at your discretion to some place in the community where senior citizens like to gather–cafe, coffee shop, senior center. Maybe you thought of some place that is unusual. There are all kinds of surprises in Nebraska.
Any thoughts about the posters? How are people responding?

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Making talking book service better known

Wanted to brief you on activities to make the Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service better known to Nebraskans with print-related disabilities. We have just sent out a brochure as a self-mailer to every eye care professional in Nebraska. Will follow this up with a second mailing within a few weeks–this time a packet that includes a brief cover letter and application forms. We are starting to work on a mailing to every public library. This will include two posters and two document holders (or stands). The letter will encourage librarians to place one poster somewhere in the library, such as near the large print or audio book collection, where individuals who struggle with regular-sized print might come to browse. The second poster is provided for librarians to take at their discretion to someplace like the neighborhood cafe where seniors like to congregate.
We are also looking at placing some paid ads in magazines targeting seniors. Ideas on outreach? Would like to hear what you think might work to keep Talking Book and Braille Service in public view.

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