Talking Book and Braille News
Talking Book and Braille Services

Oregon State Library
250 Winter St NE
Salem, OR 97301-3950
(503) 378-5389 or (800) 452-0292
Fax: (503) 588-7119
           Volume 9,  Issue  2  ·  Fall  2012  ·  Editor:  Joel Henderson
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We here in Talking Books would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has been heeding our new phone messages and beginning their voicemails with their full name, spelling their last name, and their phone numbers.  It has been a tremendous help, cutting down on the time it takes us to locate your accounts and enabling us to handle messages quickly and efficiently.  We truly and sincerely appreciate your respectful observance of our instructions; it means a lot to us.

For those that are new to our program, or who may not have called our Front Desk for help in a while, it really makes a difference if, when leaving a phone message, you start the message with your full name, spelling your last name, and your phone number with area code.  Our system does not allow us to use your street address to look up your account, though your city can help in certain instances.  But it is your full name and phone number that actually make the process of finding your account work.

It’s also important to remember that different staff member take shifts on the phone, and there is a good chance you will talk with someone different in the afternoon than you would in the morning.  Be sure to include any information in a present voicemail you may have discussed with a staff member from a previous conversation.  We try to note important details in your accounts, but doing your part to help keep things straight has a massive impact on our ability to serve you in a timely manner.  Thanks.


Sometime this fall the National Library Service’s Web-Braille service will be merged into BARD (remember, the B in BARD stands for Braille), making BARD the one-stop shop for downloadable books in both electronic formats.  Users will be able to download audio books as well as electronic Braille books from the same source, eliminating the need for separate login information and websites.

For our patrons that have both a BARD and a Web-Braille account, this transition will be seamless.  When Web-Braille is merged into BARD, you will just need your BARD login information.

If you are one of our patrons that just uses Web-Braille, you will need to create a BARD account in order to access electronic Braille books after the merge.  In order to do so, you can visit our website at  There is a link on our homepage that will take you directly to the BARD application.

Lastly, for our patrons who just use BARD, don’t worry.  You don’t need to do anything.  Your BARD account will not be affected in any way.  However, the addition of Web-Braille to BARD will mean the BARD main page will change a little to accommodate the new electronic Braille books.

We appreciate your patience as these changes are made.  If you have any questions, or run into difficulties, please contact us at 800-452-0292 or and we’ll be happy to help.


Over the past few months TBABS has seen a lot of changes to our staff.  As we reported in our last issue, Evelyn Kimbrell retired in February after over 20 years of state service.  We also have a new State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen, who has been helping us through these tumultuous months.  Now TBABS can report that we have hired a few new faces ourselves!  First, we’d like you all to officially meet Melanie Lindquist, our new Reader’s Advisory Coordinator.

Melanie will be working a lot at our front desk, responding to calls and emails to make sure you all receive great customer service.  She’ll also be taking over coordinator duties for our BARD, NFB-Newsline, and Braille services.  Melanie comes to us from her previous job at Human Solutions, where she provided customer service to homeless and low-income families.  She has also been a living skills instructor at the Oregon School for the Blind.  When she isn’t at work Melanie loves to shop, read, bike, hike, and sing, and her favorite authors to read are Robin Gunn, Nora Roberts, and Nicholas Sparks.  She’s also working on writing a book herself; be sure to look for it on the NY Times Bestsellers List.

We’ve also had a couple of internal shufflings lately.  Andrea Clarkson, our previous Circulation and Volunteer Coordinator, has taken up the position of our Collection and Serials Coordinator.  To help keep circulation running smoothly we promoted Erich Peppler to fill her position, and are hoping to have a new Circulation Technician hired soon.  Congrats Erich!  Once we have all these positions filled, it’ll be the first time we’ll be fully staffed in almost a year!

We appreciate your patience as we continue to adapt to changes in staff, funding, materials and equipment, and just about everything else it seems.


We could not provide all the wonderful services you enjoy without your generous donations! Here are 3 easy ways you can send your gift to help us so that all may read…

1)  Online with credit or debit card at

2)  Automatic monthly payment from your bank or credit union account

3)  Check made out to OSL-TBABS and sent by post to 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301

This year, we’re also debuting a new way to donate to TBABS: Tribute Gifts.  Ask your relatives to give a donation in your honor to TBABS instead of giving you a gift this holiday season. You can tell them we will use their donation to improve the quality of living for many Oregonians who rely on us for Talking Book services. We will send you a notice about their gift and send your relative a letter of thanks. Also, all donations are tax deductible!

You can also make a Tribute Gift in place of a present for friends and family.  We will send you a gift card acknowledgement to present to them.  This discrete card (your donation amount is not shown) will share with your friend or family member the joy of sharing the gift of reading with others.

We’d also like to encourage our Talking Books patrons to save a tree and send us your email address.  We will communicate all future newsletters, Talking Books information, donation opportunities, and more electronically.  If you don’t have an email address, that’s OK; we still send out announcements through the regular USPS mail.

To make a Tribute Gift, update your email address, or if you have any questions about donations or adding TBABS to your estate planning, please contact Robin Speer at 503-378-5014 or  Thank you.


Our stock of 2013 Large Print calendars has just arrived!  All of our active patrons with a visual impairment will receive one of these lovely calendars absolutely free (unless you have previously opted out).  If you have a friend, family member, neighbor, or anyone else who is interested in getting a calendar but is not registered with our services, they can send in a donation of at least $15 along with a note saying they would like a calendar, and we’ll be happy to send them one.

Our stock of calendars usually runs out by mid-Spring, so if someone you know would like a calendar, or if you are wanting to get an extra, be sure to send in your donation sooner rather than later.  We also have Braille calendars for our patrons who would prefer one to the large print version.

The donations we receive for the calendars go to printing costs, as well as funding additional services like NFB-Newsline that residents of Oregon can enjoy through our Talking Books program.  We rely a lot on donation funds, especially with the tight state budget, and we sincerely appreciate the immense generosity of you our patrons past, present, and future.  Any contribution, no matter the amount, has a direct and meaningful benefit not only for you, but for those patrons to come.


From conversations we’ve had with some of our patrons it appears there may be some confusion about the way our current circulation system works.  Since we’re awfully keen on keeping everyone on the same page, here’s a little rundown of what you can expect from our system.

Our circulation computer system obeys what is called a maximum limit for each account, which caps the number of books that can be checked out to an account at a time.  For all of our new patrons we start this limit at 4 books, meaning they can have up to 4 books checked out to them.  A book is considered checked out when it is in the mail to a patron, at their residence, or in the mail back to us.  Once a person gets comfortable with our service, they can request to have their limit raised.  There is no cost to raising your limit; Talking Books is always 100% free no matter how many books you receive.  However, staff here at Talking Books must make changes to your limits in our system for you; there is no way to do so yourself.

Books are usually circulated on a revolving-door basis; as often as we check a book in from you a new one goes out to you the next business day.  There is no limit to the number of books you can receive in a certain period of time (i.e. a month).  There is only a limit to the maximum number of books that you can have checked out to your account at any given time.

Also, the limits for cassette books and digital books (for our patrons that still receive both formats) are separate and distinct.  Adjusting one limit will not affect the other, unless you specifically request to adjust one limit but still receive the same number of total books.  We will then make the necessary changes to reflect this request.

What all this means is if you have your maximum number of books already checked out to your account, our system will not send you new books until you send the books you are finished with back to us.  This system helps keep people from being inundated with books, cuts down on overdues, and maintains our circulation at a manageable level.  In an effort to be good stewards of our funds, we have found this system to be effective while still allowing for a certain amount of flexibility in special circumstances.

As we mentioned before, you are always welcome to adjust your maximum limit to whatever you feel is most appropriate.  If there are times when you go a few days without books because you have returned everything and are waiting for new ones, we suggest contacting us to increase your limit so you have some books on hand while you’re returning others.  If at all possible be sure to return books as often as you finish them so we can send you new ones.  Books can be returned one at a time if that works for you.


Several of our patrons have either returned digital books to us marked defective or called in to report defective books because the books only report their progress as “Prologue” rather than the chapter and time elapsed for where they pause the book.  We have received an explanation of this error from the National Library Service, which we’d like to share with you for your information.

It turns out this error really isn’t an error at all.  The books that display this behavior are all functioning properly.  These digital books have what is called 3-Point Navigation, which means that the book is older and only has digital place markers for the beginning announcements (book information), the beginning of the book (usually the prologue), and the end of the book.  Because these books only have these three place markers, no matter how far you’ve read through the book, your digital player will always report your progress as “Prologue” unless you are just starting it or until you come to the end.

You may be wondering what this new revelation means for you.  What it means is so long as any book continues to play from where you last left off, the book is functioning properly, even if it always reports its progress as “Prologue.”  Now that we know this behavior is normal and expected, we can start recirculating those books that were previously marked defective.  We do want to extend our gratitude to our patrons for helping us identify issues, and for alerting us to truly defective books.


Now that school is back in session, it’s time for students in grades 3-12 to get ready to BATTLE!  Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) is upon us.  If you are interested in joining your school’s team, talk to your school media specialist or English teacher.  Books are available in grade ranges of 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Many of the books are available through Talking Books either in Braille, audio, or on BARD, while some are only available from Learning Ally (a separate membership is required).  Check the TBABS OBOB page at for a complete listing of all books and how you can get them.  For more information on Oregon Battle of the Books, visit the OBOB wiki at  Happy reading, and good luck to your teams!


We’ve had a growing number of digital book mailing containers returned to us without the corresponding cartridge inside, and we’re hoping that many of these cartridges can be found and returned to our library so they can be matched back up with their container.  Our circulation team will do its best to contact you if we receive a container back without a cartridge, but we’d also like to ask each of you to do a careful sweep of your home or apartment to see if you can locate any loose or misplaced cartridges.

Many of our patrons find it easy to keep track of their books if they always put them in the same place (i.e. a specific shelf or table) that is reserved for books only.  This way books don’t get covered up by other things or lost somewhere random. 

If you’re having a hard time keep track of all your books and you feel like you’re getting too many, please let us know and we can decrease your book limit accordingly.  Thank you for helping us be good stewards of our book and other materials.


In mid-August, Braille International, Inc. (BII) ceased its Braille book and magazine production.  Since BII was one of the National Library Service’s largest producers of Braille materials, the impact of this closure will be significant.

We have been assured NLS Braille magazines should see little interruption in service as the contracts for each magazine are transferred to other Braille producers.  However, the number of new Braille books will be drastically reduced for the remainder of 2012.  BII will only be completing the books they have already started, and therefore NLS will have to negotiate new contracts for each book that was scheduled to be produced in Braille.

Braille books for our patrons will still be accessed through our Utah Braille service.  Older titles are still available; this closure only affects new titles.  The National Library Service (our parent federal agency) appreciates your patience, and hopes to have new contracts signed as soon as possible.


TBABS will be closed on the following legal holidays and state office closure days:

·       October 19, Closure Day

·       November 12, Veteran’s Day

·       November 22, Thanksgiving

·       November 23, Closure Day

·       December 25, Christmas Day

·       January 1, New Years Day

·       January 18, Closure Day

·       January 21, MLK Jr. Day