Talking Book and Braille News
Oregon Talking Book and

Braille Library
250 Winter St NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 378-5389 or (800) 452-0292
Fax: (503) 585-8059
Issue  59  ·  Summer  2014  ·  Editor:  Joel Henderson
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On April 1st our online catalog underwent a major upgrade which added a variety of new features we’d like to highlight.


The most noticeable change is an overhaul of the Search feature.  The search process has been simplified so you only have to type in your search term without worrying about selecting the correct type of search (author, title, subject, etc).  And your search results can now be filtered so you can more easily find the book(s) you are most interested in.  For example, you can search using the term “mysteries”, then filter your results to find just humorous mysteries with available copies that were published within the last 6 months that don’t have explicit sex.  That would narrow down hundreds of results to just a dozen or two.


We’ve also added a Browse page where you can peruse lists of our most recent or popular books, as well as other curated lists that rotate as trends change.  If you click the See More link at the bottom of a list you’ll be taken to a results page where you can again filter the list to narrow it down.  These browsing lists are a great way to find good reads you wouldn’t normally discover.


When you click on a title on any Results or Browse list you’ll be taken to a page with a full record for that book.  This page is very helpful because here you’ll find all the information about the book, including the author’s name, the narrator’s name, and a complete list of the local and Library of Congress (LC) subject headings used to catalog the book.  Now you’ll know the exact keywords to search for to find similar books, and you can search like a pro!


The Quick Requests page lets you submit requests for books you already have the DB numbers for in easy and rapid fashion.  You’ll need to log in to your account using your username and password first, which we recommend doing as soon as you arrive at the catalog’s homepage.


And speaking of your account, you’ll now be able to access a lot more information about your account once you log in.  You can review what you currently have checked out to your account, what books are on your request list, your current reading preferences, and your complete reading history, which you can browse and sort depending on your needs.


If you have any questions about the new online catalog, including what your username and password are, please feel free to contact us at 800-452-0292 or  We’re here to help!



If you’re interested in getting a copy of the Bible you can keep, there are several options available to you, depending on the format you want.


For those users interested in getting their own audio copy of the Bible, Aurora Ministries is a reputable and reliable organization devoted to providing Bibles to people with print disabilities.  They have four English translations: the King James, the New King James, the New English Standard, and the World English Bible.  Both Old and New Testaments come on a single cartridge just like the ones we send out.  They do require a $15 donation to cover the cost of the cartridge, or you can send them a flash drive or cartridge you’ve purchased.  You can contact Aurora Ministries at 941-748-3031, or visit their website at  We also have pre-certified Aurora Ministry order forms we can send to our registered users upon request.


Bibles in Braille are available for free from Braille Bibles International.  They also offer large print copies at low prices.  You can get an 18 point font King James Bible for a donation of $10, or a 24 point font copy for a donation of $20.  They do require a certification of visual impairment, which we can provide.  If you are interested, contact Braille Bibles International at 800-522-4253 or


The LDS Church produces a cartridge with English translations of four scriptures, including the LDS Edition of the King James Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  The cartridge costs $10, and can be found on their website


Lastly, BARD users can download either an audio or electronic Braille copy of the Bible in the King James version.  The book numbers for the Bible are DB 68777 for the audio version and BR 14943 for the Braille.  These files are quite large, so be sure you have a flash drive or cartridge with 2 GB of storage.



For years our Talking Books library has offered a selection of Descriptive Videos to our users, but what if you want to watch primetime television or new movies in a theater setting?  Well, thanks to several groundbreaking advancements in telecommunications accessibility, now you can!


The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) mandates that several of the most popular TV networks must include descriptive audio as part of some of their primetime and children’s programming.  These networks include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS.  To inform viewers what shows are described and when they air in your area, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has created a described TV listing you can access online at  For more information you can contact the AFB Director of Public Policy at 202-469-6833 or


If you’re more of a movie fan, you can enjoy described narration at theaters across the state (and country).  Many companies like Regal, AMC, and Cinemark offer special headsets and other assistive technology that enable visually impaired or hard-of-hearing movie-goers to enjoy new releases in the theater.


To find movie titles that offer descriptive narration or closed captioning:

-      Call your local theater and ask about accessible titles.

-      Find movie listings noted with DN / CC / Accessibility Devices.  Different companies use different codes.

-      Visit  All movie titles and show times listed on this website include DN / CC.


But what happens if you miss the movie in theaters?  Don’t worry; an increasing number of DVDs include a descriptive video audio option.  The Audio Description Project website keeps a running list of DVDs with the DVX 2.0 soundtrack available for purchase:  The list is organized by release year.  You will need a sighted person to help access the descriptive video option from the DVDs audio menu.



If you’re a magazine user and you’re going to be on vacation, we recommend letting us know so we can put your magazines on hold while you’re gone.  This way they don’t sit idle and result in overdue notices.  All you need to do is call us at 800-452-0292 or email is at with the dates you’ll be gone so we know when to start and when to end the hold.


When you get back home you won’t have missed anything, since we can select the back issues you skipped to send all at once.  If you’re gone for a long time, however, it may be best to select just a few back issues so you don’t receive too many issues to get through in the loan period for the cartridge.



Talking Books is beginning the recruitment process to fill several positions on our Advisory Council that will become vacant at the end of the year:

  • Parent of Minor User: the parent of an active registered user who is 17 years old or younger
  • Senior Citizen User: an active registered user age 50 or older
  • User at Large: any active registered user age 18 or older


We are accepting nominations for these volunteer positions through October 10th, with final appointments being made by the Oregon State Library Board of Trustees on December 12th.


The Talking Books Advisory Council meets quarterly, and Council members are welcome to participate in meetings either in person or by conference call.  Terms last for four (4) years, and members can serve up to two (2) consecutive terms.  The regular business of the Advisory Council includes hearing reports from the State Librarian and the Talking Books Program Manager about the status of Talking Books, advising the OSL Board of Trustees regarding the use and expenditure of Talking Books donation funds, and providing insights and recommendations for service improvement.

If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else who qualifies for one of these positions, or if you have any questions or require clarification, please contact the Talking Books Program Manager Susan Westin at 503-378-5435 or  Council members are encouraged to have an active email account for ease of communication, but it is not required.



As an interim measure in advance of the issuing of tactile-enhanced Federal Reserve notes, the National Library Service has agreed to partner with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in distributing its iBill® currency readers. The pocket-sized readers slide right over the top of U.S. currency banknotes only, and provide audio feedback for the value of the bill.  These currency readers are being distributed free to qualifying individuals.


The National Library Service is scheduled to begin distributing currency readers to users who are blind or visually impaired later this year.  Only registered Talking Books users can get one of the currency readers before December 31, 2014. In January 2015, the program will open to all U.S. residents and U.S. citizens living abroad who are blind or visually impaired.


The devices will not be available until late fall, but you can contact us now to express your interest in getting one.  Your name and address will be kept on file so that a currency reader can be sent to you when it becomes available.  Please call us at 800-452-0292, email us at, or write to us at Talking Books, Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St NE, Salem, OR 97301.


For additional questions or comments about the U.S. Currency Reader Program you may call the Bureau of Engraving and Printing at (844) 815-9388 or email



In 1932 the Talking Books program was started to benefit veterans who could no longer see to read standard-sized print.  Since then our library has been opened to all U.S. citizens with a qualifying print disability, but we’ve still retained our priority to serve veterans first.  In this spirit we’d like to highlight our second Referrer of the Quarter: Jodi Roth.


Jodi coordinates the Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Program at the Portland VA Medical Center.  She has been referring veterans and active servicemen and servicewomen to our library for years.  The VIST Program supports blind and vision impaired veterans in regaining their independence and quality of life, and helps their family with information and training to foster the provision of appropriate support.  We salute you, Jodi Roth!


And like Jodi Roth, if you believe our library can benefit someone you know, maybe a family member, friend, neighbor, or even a stranger you meet, tell them about Talking Books.  You can call us and ask us for an application, or give them our phone number: 800-452-0292.  We need your help, and you really can make a difference.



This past spring our Delta Gamma volunteers and staff made calls to 710 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, especially through this past year.  Your kind words, thoughts, and actions mean as much to us as we hope our books mean to you.


Most of the respondents want us to keep the supply and selection of books up and the turn-around time down, which does not come as a surprise.  However, one user had a great suggestion for how to make sure our library can ensure both: “have a couple of billionaires donate buckets of money to hire more staff.”  We’ll get right on that one!



Talking Books in now on the social network site Vine, where users can post and view short 6-second videos.  The videos we’re posting are designed to give quick vignettes into how our library works, who our staff are, and what they do, all with a twist of humor to make them entertaining.  You’ll see real staff members in their native habitats, the entire download process for BARD and BARD Mobile reduced to 6-seconds, and a slightly-exaggerated take on our delivery process now and what it could be like in 100 years.  If you have a Vine account, or know someone who does, you can find and follow us by searching for the username “ORTalkingBooks”.  Share these videos with friends and family.  Get people talking about Talking Books!



20 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.


How do you join the Irene Price Society? Simply let us know Talking Books is included in your estate planning.  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



Talking Books will be closed on the following legal holidays:

  • September 1, Labor Day
  • November 11, Veterans’ Day
  • November 27, Thanksgiving
Remember that holidays create mail delays for both incoming and outgoing books.  Be sure to get any requests in several days ahead of these dates to have a chance of receiving them.