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Spring 2009 Newsletter
  Talking Book and Braille Services Oregon State Library 250 Winter Street NE Salem, OR 97301 (503) 378-5389  (800) 452-0292 Fax: (503) 588-7119 email: tbabs.info@state.or.us 
As of this writing, we are still on schedule and anticipating the first shipment of Digital Talking Book machines from the National Library Service in May. By law, we must first send players to U. S. Veterans. If you are a Veteran and have not done so, please call TBABS at1-800-452-0292 to be placed on the waiting list if you are interested in receiving one of the new machines. If you have already notified us, it is not necessary to call again.
If you are a non-Veteran, you will soon receive a letter from us inviting you to place your name on the machine waiting list.
TBABS staff have been busy selecting the first digital book selections from over 15,000 available choices. This was no easy task! However, we have selected many good titles from a wide variety of subjects sure to interest most readers. We are anxiously awaiting the new machines and the new books,and look forward to this cutting edge technology that will enhance listening enjoyment for our talking book patrons.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of providing service to patrons by the Oregon State Library and Talking Book and Braille Services. Following is the first in a four-part series which highlights events occurring at TBABS from the decade of the 1970s through the present.
Talking Books: A Look Back
In 1969, Talking Books was still referred to as the “Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped,” and talking books were only available in a record format. Under the direction of then regional librarian Mary Jane Shamp, Talking Books moved from the Multnomah County Library in Portland to the Oregon State Library, Church Street annex in Salem.
The library then had 6,000 square feet of space to support about 2,000 patrons. In those early days, the staff processed all of the talking book records by hand. Everyone gathered early each morning to sit on the floor and match patron interests with the available books—a job that is now done by computer.
The decade of the 70’s, though filled with strife and turmoil nationally, also ushered in great advances technologically. In 1971, Intel built the first microprocessor, and in 1976, Apple Computer was founded in a California garage by Stephen G. Wozniak and Steven Jobs. On the home front, the Portland Trailblazers beat the Philadelphia 76ers to win the NBA finals in 1977!
The 70’s also brought many changes to the National Library Service, and to Talking Book and Braille Services.
In 1974, federal law was amended to include service for people whose reading disabilities were physically based; that is, their reading disability resulted from an organic dysfunction rather than a visual impairment. In 1975, TBABS’ home at the Church Street annex was flooded, forcing staff to move all books and equipment to a new location at Marion and 13th Streets, where it would remain until moving to the State Library Building in 1985.
Cassette Machines Debut
The first cassette machines produced according to program specifications were contracted for by the National Library Service in January,1971. Under this contract,14,000 cassette machines in two models were produced. Although basically similar in design to cassette equipment on the commercial market, these units included some new features to facilitate use by blind and physically handicapped readers.
One of the models, of which 9,000 were produced, was a playback-only unit. This unit contained rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries. Chargers for the batteries were provided to regional libraries and machine-lending agencies so that readers with no access to electricity could mail batteries back to be recharged.
The other model, of which 5,000 were produced, could also function as a recorder and operated on six size-C dry-cell batteries. These units were intended for students and other readers who needed to record material not otherwise available.
Both the play-only and the recorder units were capable of operating at two speeds: 1-7/8 and 15/16 inches per second (ips). No cassette machines were produced in 1972, as the model designed by General Electric was rejected because it was too big. In the years 1973-1975, models produced used a four-track system so that a single cassette could provide up to six hours of playback.
In 1976 the first cassette machine to have automatic shutoff and a built-in variable-speed control was produced. No major changes were made in the models produced from 1977-1979. The first cassette title recorded at 15/16 ips on four tracks was Roots by Alex Haley, which was sent to regional libraries for circulation in 1977.
Stay tuned for a snapshot of the decade of the 80’s as it relates to Talking Books in the next issue of Talking Book and Braille News, due out in June.
For those of you with a “green thumb,” it will soon be time to get your garden ready for the summer harvest. Following is a partial list of books from our collection that might aid you in planning or caring for a garden.
The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations by Kathleen Yeomans, RC 40311. Covers general aspects of gardening while emphasizing adaptive techniques.
Accessible Gardening for People With Physical Disabilities: A Guide to Methods, Tools, and Plants 
by Janeen R. Adil, RC 52241. An avid gardener provides tips and techniques for adapting garden format for people with limited mobility.
The American Horticultural Society Gardening Manual by The American Horticultural Society, RC 54756. Practical, hands-on advice on every aspect of gardening from design to planning information on constructing decks, patios, and other yard features. 
The Garden Problem Solver by the editors of Reader’s Digest, RC 53450. Guide to diagnosing and treating garden ailments that occur among flowers, vegetables, herbs, and trees.
Rodale’s Garden Answers: Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs: At-A-Glance Solutions for Every Gardening Problem edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, RC 56839.
An all-organic quick reference guide for gardeners who want to “read a little so they can garden a lot.”
Woodworking Projects for the Garden: Forty Fun and Useful Things for Folks Who Garden by Richard Freudenberger, RC 46629. A woodworker’s guide for constructing useful garden accessories, including techniques, materials, and the necessary tools.
In Braille:
The Complete Guide to Houseplants: The Easy Way to
Choose and Grow Healthy, Happy Houseplants by Valerie Bradley, BR 17207. A professional horticulturist offers advice on choosing houseplants that are best suited to the light in a specific room.
The Nature-Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People by Marlene A. Condon, BR 16677. Birds and Blooms magazine field editor’s guide to cultivating an ecological, low-maintenance garden to serve as a habitat for native species.
The Patio Kitchen Garden by Daphne Ledward, BR 15651. BBC gardening expert offers techniques for cultivating produce in apartments and other dwellings with limited outdoor space.
Many of you are interested in books about Oregon, or books written by Oregon authors. There is now available an online website that can give you more information about some of your favorite authors, such as the city they are from, books they have published, and a calendar of events listing any scheduled appearances the author will make during any particular month.
Visit the website at http://www.oregonauthors.org to browse authors by name, genre, author’s city, or year of publication. The website is an LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) funded project of the Oregon Library Association’s Oregon Authors Committee and the Oregon Center for the Book.
While TBABS does not have an extensive collection of Oregon author titles in audio cassette, we do have a growing collection. In past years TBABS recruited volunteers to narrate Oregon books for us in their homes. When our Regional Librarian, Susan Westin, came on board in 2005, a decision was made to deliver quality professional recordings of Oregon books to our patrons.
Since that time we have had a contract with the New Mexico State Library to professionally narrate Oregon books for us, and have had 11 books added to our collection. So far this year, we have an additional four titles in various stages of narration, with the Idaho State Library as our newest partner in professional book narration. If you are interested in reading any of our professionally narrated titles, please give TBABS a call and ask for Marion.
If it’s been some time since you received any books from us, here are a few possible reasons why this may have occurred:
●You haven’t requested any books
If your account is set up as “request only,” we send you just the specific books you ask for, so your service depends on your submission of book orders. Make certain you never run out of books to read by keeping us supplied with requests.
●You haven’t returned books lately
Please bear in mind that the loan period for books is set at six weeks. If you haven’t been returning books, you won’t receive any replacements. It’s best to return each book as you finish it. When you keep books for longer than our established loan period, it keeps the books out of circulation and unavailable for others.
●You have moved without notifying us
If we receive books back from the post office as “undeliverable as addressed,” we have no choice but to put a Hold on your account until we hear from you. Be sure to keep us up-to-date with any address changes.
●Your reject categories are working against you
If you enjoy bestsellers and other contemporary books but do not want books that contain violence, strong language, or descriptions of sex, you will find your selection of these types of books very limited. Not all bestsellers have these descriptions in them, of course, but many do. Therefore, your favorite type of reading may be “off limits” to you simply because you refuse the language or violence they contain. You may need to rethink your reading interests or be more open to these types of books.
●Your service has been suspended
If you have not borrowed a book or magazine from us in over a year, we may have suspended your service entirely. To avoid interruptions in your book service, please observe our loan policies. If your account has been suspended for one reason or another, it is easy to reactivate your service. Just give us a call and we will be happy to start sending you books once again.
Dialogue: A World of Ideas for Blind and Visually Impaired People of All Ages, is a bi-monthly magazine published in Braille, large print, audio cassette and email editions. The annual subscription/donation rate has been lowered from $42 to $35.
Most of the articles in Dialogue are submitted by blind or visually impaired writers who share their first-hand perspectives on coping with vision loss, work, hobbies, education, technology, food preparation, do-it-yourself home repairs, and more. Among the most popular regular columns are “What’s New and Where to Get It,” and “ABAPITA,” a series of brief, humorous anecdotes describing those small, embarrassing moments best understood by others who share vision limitations. Listeners to the recorded edition are sometimes treated to interviews which feature the actual voices of guests, instead of quotes read by a narrator. Free sample copies of Dialogue are available upon request. Sample articles from each issue are posted on the publisher’s website http://www.blindskills.com
Dialogue was started 47 years ago by the late Don O. Nold of Berwyn, Illinois, and is now published in Salem, Oregon, under the sponsorship of Blindskills Inc., which was founded by Carol M. McCarl, a highly-respected humanitarian and educator of blind and visually impaired children. For more information about Dialogue, please call Blindskills toll-free at
For those of you already subscribed to Unabridged downloadable books, you will be interested to know that the new Unabridged Main Collection Website sports a small but growing collection of MP3 Audio Books, in addition to the large collection of protected WMA Audio Books. Unabridged users now may also construct wish lists of titles they would like to read eventually. The brief display for each title now contains a set of six icons (with underlying alt text) that indicate if a particular edition may be played on a PC, a Mac, burned to a set of CDs, transferred to a WMA-enabled portable playback device, played on an iPod or iPhone, and whether the edition can be transferred to most MP3 players.
For registered users, the Unabridged Main Collection Website can be accessed at the following URL: http://unabridged.lib.overdrive.com

Please Note: To be able to download Unabridged MP3 Audio Books, you need to have version 3 or higher of the OverDrive Media Console loaded on your PC, or version 1 or higher for the Mac. To download either the current, free PC or Mac version of the OverDrive Media Console software, please visit the following URL: http://www.overdrive.com/software/omc/ If you are not yet set up for Unabridged but would like more information, give us a call.
In order to protect the staff and volunteers who handle and inspect the returned talking books, we ask that you…..
keep them off the floor;
keep them away from pets who may chew the containers or urinate on them;
keep them away from food and liquids; 
keep them away from heat sources;
please do not use mailing containers to collect trash;
please do not use mailing containers as an ash tray.
If you accidentally spill something, please wipe the container and tapes before returning. As a reminder, check the containers one last time before mailing to remove any personal items or personal tapes. If you have a concern about the cleanliness of the container and tapes, please have someone else inspect it before returning. The circulation staff and volunteers will appreciate your help in this matter.
In addition, it is against postal regulations to include notes in the mailing containers. If you need service, please call the library at
1-800-452-0292. Thank you.
TBABS will be closed on the following legal holiday:
Memorial Day observed, May 25. 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 audio cassette, in Braille, or on our website at www.tbabs.org. Call TBABS if you would like to change the format you currently receive.

Any mention of products and services in Talking Book and Braille News is for information only and does not imply endorsement.