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
           Issue  56  ·  Summer  2013  ·  Editor:  Joel Henderson
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We are very, very happy to share with you that the National Library Service is finishing up development and beginning beta testing of their new BARD Mobile apps for Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and Google Android devices!  We’re very excited to see a light at the end of this tunnel, and we know many of you are just as excited as we are.  Here are some of the important details regarding the release of the BARD Mobile apps:


-    Both apps will be free to download

-    The iOS app will be available earlier (mid-summer) through the iTunes Store, and will run on all iOS versions

-    The Android app will be available later (early fall) through the Google Play market, and will only work on devices running version 4.2 “Jelly Bean”

Judy Dixon, the NLS consumer relations officer, sat down with a blog called Blind Access Journal a few months ago and demonstrated the features and functions of the BARD Mobile app for iOS.  We’re assuming the Android version will be very similar.  The apps will enable users to read books that either appear in the user’s BARD Wish List, are listed on the recently added books and magazine page, or are manually loaded onto the device from a computer.  At this point you won’t be able to search for and read any book available in BARD using the BARD Mobile app on its own (NLS is hoping this feature will be added later).  However, adding a book to your Wish List is much easier than downloading, unzipping, and transferring the book onto a flash drive, so BARD Mobile will make the process of reading BARD books simpler and more portable.


Navigating the app itself will take advantage of the accessibility features built into iOS and Android.  There will be 4 tabs for Bookshelf, Get Books, Settings, and Now Reading.  The Bookshelf separates items by audio, Braille, books, and magazines, then you can sort items within these categories by author, title, or latest added.  Much of the playback features of the BARD Mobile app will be similar to the advanced digital player, including Menu, Next, Previous, and Bookmark buttons.  BARD Mobile will remember where you left off in each book just like all digital players, and users will be able to choose default settings for things like speed, tone, verbosity, and background playing (whether or not a book stops playing when you close the BARD Mobile app).  The full 26-minute interview with Judy Dixon that details more of the apps features and functions is available in streaming audio or download at  Just look for the entry titled BARD Mobile from February 27, 2013.


If you want to receive a release notification from us once these apps go live, you’ll need to join our email list.  This list is the same one we use to email out our newsletter, so if you’re already getting our newsletter via email you’re all set.  If you’re not on the list already, send us an email to with your name and phone number (so we can make sure we have the right account) and the email address you want us to add to the list.



At the beginning of May, we here at Talking Books moved into some cozy new office space.  Don’t worry, though, we haven’t moved to a new address, and we aren’t going away by any means.  It’s not technically brand new space either, since it used to be our old circulation area.  Essentially we’ve all squeezed into one room instead of two, cutting our office space by about half.  Now we’re the Talking Books Superleggera model: a lightweight, stripped-out, precision racing crew ready to respond to whatever curves lie ahead.


There were a couple of days when books weren’t able to be mailed out or checked in because of construction going on, and we really appreciate your patience as we settled in.  We still have our front desk area, so you’re still coming to the same place if you ever need to visit us.



We are pleased to announce the official transition of the NLS audio magazines from cassette to digital cartridge.  Users who had been receiving cassette magazines have now been getting them on digital cartridge for a few months, and we invite any interested user, especially our newer ones, to also sign up for subscriptions.  There are a wide variety of magazines to choose from, and a full list is available as a handout or on our website.  These magazines are also all available for download using BARD.


There are a few significant changes to the digital magazine program.  The most important change is that magazines are being mailed directly from the producers, and must be returned just like the audio books you receive.  The loan period for weekly magazines is 3 weeks, and the loan period for monthly magazines is 6 weeks.  If you receive several magazines, you will most likely have several cartridges in circulation.  The return mailing card will have the producer’s address and the usual Free Matter postage already printed on it, so you return magazines the same way you return books.


With the introduction of loan periods for NLS digital magazines, users will also receive overdue notices if their cartridges are not returned on time.  Users will be allowed 3 overdue cartridges before their magazines are put on hold.  However, magazine overdues will not impact a user’s book service from our library, and as always, if you download your magazines directly from BARD there are no loan periods to worry about.


To distinguish magazines from books, the NLS has introduced distinctively colored mailing containers and cartridges for the digital magazines.  The mailing containers are a bright red color with the Library of Congress book flag logo on the lid, and the cartridges are blue with a print/Braille label that includes the word “Magazine” on it.


Lastly, if you subscribe to several magazines you may find multiple titles on a cartridge.  To jump from one title to another you can use the player’s bookshelf feature.  Simply press and hold the green Play/Stop button until the player beeps and says “bookshelf,” then use the fast forward or rewind buttons to toggle through the magazine titles.  Once you hear the title you want, press the Play/Stop button again.


To request a copy of the digital magazine handout, please contact us at 800-452-0292 or  If you find a magazine you want, contact us to subscribe.



Many years ago, Thomas Price of Grants Pass left a large portion of his estate to Talking Books.  His bequest was made in memory of his wife Irene, who enjoyed Talking Books throughout her lifetime.  Thomas’ bequest made it possible to establish the Talking Books endowment fund.  Since then, many other visionary individuals have helped build the endowment fund through their gifts.  We named this group of individuals the Irene Price Society.


Creating a legacy bequest is a way to support a service you love like Talking Books in a long-term way.  This process can be done in several ways: by naming Talking Books in your will or living trust, or designating Talking Books as a beneficiary of an individual retirement plan or life insurance policy.


We invite you to become a member of the Irene Price Society. There is much more to tell you about creating your legacy. Read more on our website, or contact Robin Speer at 503-378-5014 or



A tactile Braille American flag was presented to Talking Books by the Oregon Columbia Regional Group (OCRG) of the Blinded Veterans Association. The dedication ceremony for the flag was held on Thursday, February 21st. Governor Kitzhaber, President of the OCRG Rae Hail, State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen, our Public Services Librarian Elke Bruton, and veterans from the Salem area were all part of the dedication ceremony. The flag is now mounted on the wall of our front desk area for all to see and feel.  Talking Books is very proud to have this flag that honors not only our blind veterans, but all American veterans.



Through the month of March our Delta Gamma volunteers made calls to 720 randomly selected users in order to find our how well they feel our library is serving them.  Their ratings and suggestions for improvement are key for us to know where we are doing well so we can keep it up, and how our library needs to adapt moving forward.  Your feedback really does make a difference, and while we may not be able to make every change that is recommended, we are committed to being a creative and innovative library for our users.  We sincerely appreciate your support and encouragement.  Your kind words, thoughts, and actions mean as much to us as we hope our books mean to you.



The residents and staff of Gracelen Terrace in Portland have started an amazing new activity program called Helping Hands, where residents and staff work together to create and sell crafts, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to a local charity.  Residents contribute their time and talents to whatever degree they are able, each one wanting to have a meaningful role in their community.  Some complete entire projects, while others work on a specific part of a project.  Together they create beautiful and useful crafts like greeting cards, quilts and blankets, bird houses, and even dog biscuits.


These residents are mostly on low fixed incomes, many of them with disabilities, but they all wanted to find a way to help those in need around them.  Supplies are purchased using the Gracelen Terrace activities budget and donations of staff and family members.  As a result, the Resident Council of Gracelen Terrace raised and donated $1500 for food boxes in less than a year!  We here at Talking Books want to commend the generosity of the residents at Gracelen Terrace, as well as their Activity Director Gunilla Orr and the rest of the staff.  Thank you for being active participants and role models committed to helping others.



Elke Bruton, Public Services Librarian here at Talking Books, was recently awarded the Julie Klauber Award.  This award is given to the person who works most creatively and innovatively with Keystone Library Automation System (KLAS) in their daily work and shows outstanding service to their library.  KLAS is the computer system we use to track circulation, catalog our books, and manage user accounts.  Understanding how to use KLAS to its full potential enables us to work smarter with the resources we have.  Through Elke’s tenure with Talking Books, she has streamlined functions, collaborated with KLAS to improve the system, and provided new means of serving our users more efficiently.  As part of the award, Elke was able to attend the KLAS User’s Conference in Chicago.  Join us in congratulating Elke on this award.


We’ve been registering a lot of new users recently, and one of the most common questions we hear from them is “how do I make requests for books I want?”  So we thought we’d include a requests refresher for all our users to help clarify the process.


First, it is important to make sure everyone knows you can all make requests, no matter how you are served by our library.  Users who get books by automatic selection are just as welcome to make requests as users who only get requested titles.


There are a variety of ways to make requests with our library, but they all start with you finding a book you want.  Some books you will know are in our collection because they appear in our catalogs.  Other books you will hear about from friends, family, the New York Times, or other sources.  In these cases, you will need to contact us with the title and author of the book so we can check to see if it is in our collection.  If you’re not quite sure of the title or author’s name, give us as much information as you can and we’ll ask our friends Google and Amazon for the exact answers.


If a book is in our collection then it has also been given a number (i.e. DB 71234).  Telling us these numbers is the easiest way for us to enter requests into your account.  To tell us what books you’d like to request, you can call us at 800-452-0292, email us at, or send us completed catalog request forms or a letter to 250 Winter St NE, Salem, OR 97301.


All users also have the option of making requests through our online catalog.  You can use our online catalog to search for books, then add them to your book basket and “checkout” using your assigned User ID and Password (contact us if you’re interested).  This option is great for people who prefer a more self-service model.  A link to the catalog can be found on our website 


Requests go out as often as they are available.  If you are an autoselect user, our computer system will try to send you books on your request list before it sends you random selections.  However, there are going to be instances where a book you request is not immediately available, since we only have a certain number of copies of each book.  If you request a book that is not immediately available, we automatically add you to the waiting list.


Lastly, there are a few important things to remember about requests.  Our system is set up to send out newer requests first, so sometimes if you frequently make a lot of requests the older ones will get buried.  We recommend trying to keep your request list at a reasonable length, taking into consideration how many books you read a month, how quickly you read through a book, etc.  Requests do expire after one year, and are purged each year in early April.



From May 14-16, our library hosted the biennial NLS Western Regional Conference right here at the State Library in Salem.  Staff from other Talking Books libraries from all over the western states, NLS representatives including the new Director Karen Keninger, and KLAS staff met to discuss best practices, share ideas, and look ahead to the future of the Talking Books program.  Some highlights from the conference were the announcement of a change in NLS policy to allow electronic signatures on applications (meaning they can be faxed or scanned/emailed to us now), and a demonstration of some new circulation techniques that will help in our continuing efforts to improve efficiency.  Our library made an excellent impression, and several staff from other libraries were blown away by what we accomplish with much fewer people.



Our front desk hours are 9AM – 12noon and 1PM – 4PM, Monday through Friday.  You can call anytime 24/7, but these hours are when we return messages, answer calls, and reply to emails.  Calls are handled in the order they are received, and we regularly have voicemails to respond to before we can answer incoming calls directly (especially in the mornings and after weekends).  However, rest assured we’re committed to helping you as quickly as we can.



TBABS will be closed on the following legal holidays:

·       July 4, Independence Day

·       September 2, Labor Day


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