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Spring Newsletter 2006
T A L K I NG   B O O K   A N D   B R A I L L E   N E W S
T    B   A      B   S
Talking Book & Braille Services                                    
Oregon State Library
250 Winter St NE
Salem OR  97301-3950
(503) 378-3849 or (800) 452-0292
Fax: (503) 588-7119
Volume 3,  Issue 1  ·  Spring  2006  ·  Edited by Marion Bryson

As 2006 begins to unfold, we look ahead to new team goals and objectives, such as increasing Braille awareness and promoting Unabridged Digital Audio books, and we also look back on our accomplishments in 2005.
Some of the highlights of the past year include the formation of a  partnership with the Utah State Library to provide the world’s largest source of Braille materials to our readers; the implementation of the Unabridged Audio Digital Book project, which has so far interested 175 patrons to register; successful spring and fall appeals which generated over $72,000 in donation funds from friends and patrons endeavoring to enhance your  service; the creation of a simplified, easy to access TBABS web site—http://tbabs.org/, and the hiring of two outstanding employees, Circulation Specialist Andrea Clarkson, and our Program Manager/Regional Librarian, Susan Westin. In addition, TBABS circulated a total of 373,569 cassette books during calendar year 2005.
We hope you continue to enjoy the program, and we look forward to meeting those goals and objectives that will provide you with the very best possible service in this new year.
By now you should have received an introductory letter from the Secretary of State’s Office which explains the League of Women Voters Non Partisan Voters’ Guide and the Easy to Read Voters’ Guide that will be sent to TBABS patrons in audio cassette prior to both the May Primary and the November General Election.
The introductory letter was sent to patrons aged 17 and older in audio cassette format, or in Braille to those who receive this newsletter in Braille. If you have not received the introductory letter, please give us a call and we will get one out to you right away in your choice of Braille or audio cassette.
Also, if you would rather not receive the Voters’ Guide at all and have not previously called to inform us of your choice, let us know so that we may remove your name from that mailing list. In addition, let us know if you would prefer to receive the Voters’ Guide in Braille or large print rather than in audio cassette.
Many new titles await those who are registered to access the Unabridged Digital Audio Book collection, some of which are only available at this web site, and not available through TBABS.
One such title is The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend by Steve  Turner. Johnny Cash has always been a favorite among country western music fans, but unlike previous books about Cash, this work delves into the spiritual side of the man.
Science fiction is a genre that is very popular with our readers, and many of the new Unabridged titles are by authors David Eddings and Terry Goodkind, titles actually requested by users of the service.
You can even find a couple of “Dr. Who” titles at the Unabridged site, titles created by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) based upon the longest-running science fiction series in the history of television.
For these and other titles too numerous to mention, plan to visit the Unabridged web site today
The Unabridged Digital Audio Book web site may be accessed at www.unabridged.info/
If you aren’t yet signed up for this terrific service and like what you see, give TBABS a call to get registered.
Have you ever wondered just when and how your talking book service first began?
Records indicate that library service for blind patrons began in the late-nineteenth century. As early as 1868, the Boston Public Library established a department for the blind after receiving eight embossed volumes. In 1882, the Pennsylvania Home Teaching Society and Free Circulating Library for the Blind was founded in Philadelphia.
The Chicago Library, in 1894, received a collection of embossed books from a local women's club. The New York City Free Circulating Library for the Blind was organized in 1895 by a blind man who had a private collection of embossed books. In 1903 this collection became the nucleus of the Library for the Blind of the New York Public Library. The Detroit Public Library placed 110 volumes on the shelves in 1896, and in the same year New York became the first state to create a department for the blind in a state library.
Other state libraries soon followed New York's example. (Oregon residents initially received their library services from the Multnomah County Library in Portland; in 1969 services were permanently moved to the Oregon State Library).  Few books were generally available and with five separate embossed systems in use, the number of titles from which a blind person could choose were few indeed.
The concept of a national library for the blind was developed in 1897 by John Russell Young, the Librarian of Congress, when he established a reading room for the blind with about 500 books and music items in raised characters.
In 1913, Congress provided that one copy of each book in raised characters made for educational purposes under government subsidy by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, was to be deposited in the Library of Congress. Other materials were acquired by gift and purchase. Services, too, were expanding: instruction was available for those desiring to learn reading by touch; displays were arranged, and plans were developed for exhibiting products made by blind persons.
In 1930, identical bills were introduced in Congress by Representative Ruth Pratt (H.R. 11365) and Senator Reed Smoot (S. 4030), to provide adequate service on a national scale through an appropriation to be expended under the direction of the Librarian of Congress.  The Pratt-Smoot Act became law on March 3, 1931. The Librarian of Congress was authorized to arrange with other libraries "to serve as local or regional centers for the circulation of such books, under such conditions and regulations as he may prescribe." On the following day a Joint Resolution was passed appropriating $100,000 for fiscal 1932 to carry out the provisions of the act to provide books for blind adults and the program that would become the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH) was established.
By 1934, the talking book was developed and the number of reproducers in the hands of blind readers was sufficient to justify using part of the congressional appropriation for purchasing records. Among the titles chosen for the first orders of talking books were the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution of the United States; Washington's Farewell Address; Lincoln's Gettysburg Address; Shakespeare's As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet; Kipling's Brushwood Boy; and Wodehouse's Very Good Jeeves.
The Library's appropriation did not at first include funds for machines; they had to be purchased at a cost between thirty-five and sixty dollars, either by the blind person who desired to borrow the recorded books, or on his behalf (as was frequently the case) by philanthropic organizations.
The basic Act was amended several times, not only increasing appropriations, but also deleting the word "adult," on July 3, 1952, thus opening the service to blind children. And in 1962, the program was authorized by Congress to maintain a library of musical scores and instructional texts for the use of blind residents of the United States.
So you can see that many enhancements along the way were introduced to bring you the excellent program that we know today, and we look ahead to exciting new developments in technology in the very near future.
We will be adding to the Oregon collection a book that we hope many of you will find intriguing.
Portland Confidential: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Rose City, CBX1230, a 2004 publication by Portland Tribune columnist Phil Stanford, offers a fascinating glimpse into Portland’s “seamier” past. This entertaining tale comes complete with a cast of characters including a mob boss, a crooked district attorney, and a chief of detectives who helped to cover up criminal activity. This title has recently been requested by a few patrons, and we are pleased to announce that it is the first in a series to be professionally narrated in partnership with the New Mexico State Library.
We hope to add another four titles to our Oregon collection over the next year. If you are interested in adding this title to your request list, give us a call, and stay tuned for more information about the other titles as they become available.
When you return a cassette book that has a problem, we request that you check the “Defective” box in the upper left hand corner of the return side of the mailing card. If you’re not able to see the box, place an X anywhere in the vicinity of the upper left corner. In the past patrons were told to tie a string on the closing tabs of the cassette container, and you will occasionally still hear this instruction at the end of cassette recordings. This is no longer the case, since strings foul up the postal service equipment. If you want another copy of the book, please give us a call to request a replacement rather than enclosing
a note in the container.
Your book orders may be phoned in, mailed in, sent via email, fax, or even reserved by you on our online catalog. If you have a computer with an Internet connection and would like to learn how you can access your TBABS account, give us a call.
Many of you with Internet computer access have begun to place your book orders using the online catalog, rather than calling in and leaving requests on the telephone. While we applaud the fact that so many of you are browsing the online catalog and choosing to do your own book ordering, a word of caution must be given.
While it is good to reserve a title you are interested in online, it may be advantageous to call and speak with a representative as to the actual availability of the book. This is particularly true for a title that is needed urgently for school or a book club, as you may inadvertently put a reserve on a book for which we no longer have copies.
We do encourage you to continue to order your books online, but we also want to make certain you receive the books you need right away in a timely manner.
SUMMER READING 2006               
It’s hard to believe, but summer is just around the corner, and that means it will soon be time for children and teens to consider joining their peers by taking part in their public library’s summer reading club.
This year the collaborative summer reading library program for children revolves around the theme “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales,” and “Creature Feature” for teens! So, for all of you younger readers who like cuddly animals and all of those “creepy, crawly things,” and for young adults who enjoy fantasy and stories on the scary side, contact your public library for more details. Then call TBABS to check for availability of suggested reading lists, or for book ideas that will fit with your particular program.
Have you ever reached into your cupboard to retrieve a can of soup for your lunch, when what you got when you actually opened it was a can of corn instead? If so, you might be interested in a nationwide program that aids visually impaired persons in identifying the products in their pantry.
“Labels for Literacy” is a program that provides self-stick labels which identify common brands and products in Braille and large print. From baby foods to canned goods to dairy products and much, much more, the labels are available at no cost to blind and visually impaired consumers. You can find out more about this program by visiting their web site at www.labelsforliteracy.com
For those without Internet access, you may call toll free at 1-866-325-2235 for more information.
“Macular Degeneration” is the latest in a series of tuition-free, distance education courses from the Hadley School for the Blind, located in Winnetka, IL. The course covers various aspects of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): symptoms and progression of the disease, diagnosis, emotional impact, doctor-patient relationship, and ways to maximize vision for continuing daily life.
The course is available in large print, cassette, and online. Contact Student Services at 1-800-526-9909, or send an email to
From the www.LionBrand.com  web site comes news that all Lion Brand knitting and crochet patterns are offered in three versions. In addition to the standard version that includes images and text, each pattern is now available in two versions specially designed for members of the Lion Brand community who are visually impaired. Every pattern includes two new links at the top.
The first link formats the pattern to be read in large-type format or by text-to-speech browsers. The second link formats the pattern so that it can be read by devices that produce Braille. They have also added color descriptions to all yarns, and special features to patterns and pattern directories not visible to sighted readers, which makes it easier to understand the patterns when read by text-to-speech browsers. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Please send to support@lionbrand.com
The first Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was originally known, was celebrated on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers. It was called Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to decorate the graves of our nation’s soldiers. It wasn’t until 1971 that Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.  
Most of us associate Memorial Day with the official beginning of the summer season, and it is a time to get out the shorts and tanning lotion and begin to plan for summer vacation. But many people still honor departed loved ones by visiting and decorating their gravesites at this time. At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., a ceremony is held in which a small American flag is placed on each grave, and a wreath is laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
If you are interested in American history, or if you would like to read about war and conflict throughout the ages, give us a call and we will be happy to do a specific book search for you.
TBABS will be closed on the following legal holiday:
Monday, May 30
Memorial Day observed
Our automated voicemail system will accept your messages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you may be confident to leave a message for us at any time.
This newsletter is available in large print, on cassette, in Braille, or on our web site at http://tbabs.org/
Call TBABS if you would like to change the format in which you are currently receiving this newsletter.
Any mention of products and services in Talking Book And Braille News is for information only and does not imply endorsement.
OREGON STATE LIBRARY                                                                                             
TALKING BOOK AND BRAILLE SERVICES                                                                       
250 WINTER ST NE                                                                               
SALEM OREGON 97301-3950