Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Spring 2011 Newsletter
Talking Book and Braille News
Digital Talking Book Machine
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
email: tbabs.info@state.or.us
website: www.tbabs.org
           Volume 8,  Issue  1  ·  Spring  2011  ·  Editor:  Joel Henderson
We are excited to announce that our newsletter is now available in a new digital audio format, starting with this current issue!  You can download a copy for yourself from our website at www.TBABS.org by clicking on the Publications link, and since it’s an MP3 file you can listen to it on your computer, on your MP3 player like an iPod or Zune, or on your digital player using a flash drive.  This format will eventually take priority as the primary audio version of our newsletter, and we’re working on a distribution plan for mailing it out on cartridge to folks with digital players who may be unable to download a copy for themselves.
If you want to play the newsletter on your digital player using a flash drive, be sure to put the file into a folder you’ll need to create called “audio+podcasts” (all one word, no spaces, no caps).  The digital player will unfortunately not call the file by its name Talking Book and Braille News; the player will only use the generic term “audio file” as it does when referring to non-NLS books or other content.  If you also have an NLS book loaded on the flash drive, you’ll need to access the bookshelf feature and select the “audio files” option to play the newsletter.  The bookshelf feature is accessed by pressing and holding the green Play/Pause button down until the player beeps and says “bookshelf.”
This new digital format of the newsletter will hopefully help us reduce production and duplication costs of the newsletter, and be an easier and improved format for our patrons who enjoy their newsletter in audio.  Just another reason we here at Talking Books love digital.
Starting in May, 2011, institutions in Oregon and their staff are now eligible for BARD accounts.  Teachers, activity directors, social workers, and staff at retirement homes, rehab and nursing facilities, and libraries can apply for BARD accounts in their own names that are connected to the institutions they work for.  The National Library Service hopes this change will enable service providers who serve multiple clients to demo the BARD service for interested patrons, as well as download books for multiple clients they serve who don’t have computer access using just one account.
If you are a staff member at an institution that is already registered with our library, you can apply for BARD by following the instructions on this website: https://nlsbard.loc.gov/OR1A.  Please be sure to include the name of the institution you work for so we can verify your eligibility.  We sincerely appreciate your continued efforts to help partner with us to provide the gift of reading to print disabled Oregonians.
In our last newsletter we announced we had finished working our way through the digital player waiting list and were starting to send out players to our patrons who hadn’t previously requested one.  Well, now we’ve sent digital players to all of those eligible and active patrons too, leaving only a handful of patrons still without one.
If you haven’t been using our services lately you probably haven’t received one of the new digital players.  We understand some of our patrons have just been inactive while waiting for the new players to come out.  Now that they’re here we would love to update your account and get you started back up.  We just need to hear from you.
Therefore, we’d like to extend the following invitation to any of our patrons who have not yet received a digital player: if you want it, come and get it.  You can call us at 800-452-0292, or email us at tbabs.info@state.or.us, and let us know you are interested.  If you contact us and there is an outstanding reason why we haven’t already sent you a digital player we will get back to you and work it out.
To close, we have written this haiku which we think encapsulates our feelings on the matter:
Still no digital?
We can send you a player;
Contact us right now!
One of the great benefits of using BARD to download books is you can put more than one book on your flash drive or blank cartridge.  This benefit is enhanced by the bookshelf feature of the digital players, which allows you to toggle through the books on your flash drive or cartridge so you can be reading multiple books at a time.
In order to access this feature on your digital player, first insert your flash drive or cartridge into the appropriate slot.  The player will then tell you how many books it recognizes.  Press and hold the square, green Play/Pause button until you hear the player beep and say “bookshelf.”  Once you’re in the bookshelf use the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons to toggle through the books on your flash drive or cartridge.  When you find the one you want press the Play button again.  The player will automatically remember where you are in each book, so don’t worry about losing your place in one book if you switch to reading another.
Your player does need firmware version 2.1 or above to access the bookshelf feature.  You can find out what version of firmware you have by following these two easy steps: 1) remove all cartridges and flash drives from the player, and 2) press the crescent-moon shaped Sleep button 10 times.  The player will tell you its serial number and the firmware version it is currently running.  If your firmware version is below 2.1 let us know and we can send you an update cartridge, or you can download the most recent firmware update directly from BARD using the link at the bottom of the main page.
Whenever you need to return one of our players, whether for repair, replacement, or because you are no longer interested in our services, please remember to fill out the Return Service Request Form and include it in the box with the player you are returning.  This form arrives in the box with any player you receive, either digital or cassette, and should be kept along with the box until needed.
The Return Service Request Form helps us better understand why a player is being returned.  It can tell our staff:
  • If a player needs to be repaired
  • What part of the player requires repair
  • If the player is being returned because you are no longer interested in our services
All this information helps us prepare returned players for recirculation faster and easier.  The more information you can provide us when returning players, the better and more efficiently we can serve you.  Thanks.
If you are one of our patrons with a standard digital player (DS1), you have the option of reducing the number of announcements your player makes.  You can modify the configuration so the following messages are not heard:
1.  The initial “forward” or “back” message in response to the user pressing the REWIND or FAST FORWARD button
2.  The tone, volume, and speed up and down messages in response to users pressing those buttons while the book is playing.
To reduce the number of announcements:
  • Press and hold the FAST FORWARD button and the SPEED DOWN button so that both buttons are held down simultaneously for 2 seconds while there is no cartridge inserted in the player.
  • You will hear an announcement that says “Reduced verbosity” to confirm the operation has been performed successfully.
To restore the announcements, just repeat the same steps:
  • Press and hold the FAST FORWARD button and the SPEED DOWN button so that both buttons are held down simultaneously for 2 seconds while there is no cartridge inserted in the player.
  • You will hear an announcement that says “Normal verbosity” to confirm the operation has been performed successfully.
Every year the staff here at Talking Books is supported by a wonderful team of volunteers that enable us to provide better quality service to you our patrons.  On April 6, 2011, we held a special luncheon to show our appreciation to those volunteers for the giving of themselves to the benefit of others.  Thank you to these fine men and women for accomplishing so much for us in 2010, including:
  • 289,645 books on cassette and digital were inspected and re-wound
  • 334,800 audio books were pulled from our shelves and mailed (a 10% increase from 2009)
  • 9,151 damaged cassette tapes and digital books were repaired and placed back into circulation
This year was particularly special for one of our volunteers, Clyde Mullin, who was featured in the Salem Statesman Journal on February 23, 2011.  The article highlights his many volunteer hobbies, including his work repairing our cassette machines for the past 22 years.  Oh, and did we mention he just turned 94!
We’re also excited to have begun a new volunteer partnership with the Delta Gamma sorority at our neighboring Willamette University.  The DG women will be helping us with a variety of projects, ranging from special assignments to support of our core services.  Delta Gamma’s nation-wide philanthropic mission is on Service to Sight, working to prevent vision-loss and improve the quality of life of the vision-impaired.  As a whole Delta Gamma members volunteer over 86,000 hours a year.
As the transition to digital rolls on, many of our patrons are curious about their cassette machines.  Are replacement cassette machines still available?  Do I have to return my cassette machine when I get my new digital player?  Hopefully this article will help clear up some confusion.
First and foremost, we are no longer automatically replacing cassette machines when they are mailed back to us.  In order to request a replacement cassette machine, you need to call us and let us know you want one.  And it may also take us a few days to mail the machine out to you.
We are currently experiencing a shortage of replacement cassette machines (the NLS ceased production of new machines several years ago).  As the cassette machines get older, some eventually age beyond our ability to repair them, slowly reducing the number of cassette machines in circulation.  Therefore, we are now giving priority for replacement cassette machines to our patrons who are subscribed to cassette magazines.
We appreciate your patience with this ongoing transition as the digital collection continues to grow.  Now that the NLS is not supporting two mediums, all their efforts are being concentrated on expanding the digital collection.  Older books previously only available on cassette are being converted over to digital daily, and as we mentioned in our last newsletter, all new books are now all digital only.
You are still welcome to keep your current cassette machine as long as it works, and sometimes even beyond.  If your cassette machine starts exhibiting problems you can live with, like the rewind or fast forward doesn’t work or the volume is a little more hushed than usual, keep it.  If it no longer holds a charge, we’ll send you a new battery.  Try to coax as much life out of the machine as you can.
Thanks again for your continued support of our services as we work and adapt to changes and innovations.  We are sincerely motivated to serve you as best we can.
Last fall our Talking Books team was without a student office worker, and this absence left a noticeable gap in our team.  Thankfully, as fall gave way to winter, we were able to fill this gap and hire a new hand, Valentina (Valya) Rizzo.  She has made a great addition to our team, and we’re excited to introduce her to you our patrons.
Valya is a second-year student at Chemeketa Community College, finishing up her AAOT.  Here in the office she primarily helps with fund development, entering donations into our database and sending out thank you letters, but she often lends a helping hand to circulation as well.
Once this school term ends Valya plans to travel to Russia and Greece for a month in July.  Some of her hobbies include bowling, scrapbooking, shopping, and watching movies.  Her favorite authors include Chuck Palahniuk and Dan Brown, and she especially enjoys a good mystery.  Please join us in giving Valya a warm welcome to our Talking Books team.
Just a quick reminder that the loan period for all books, digital and cassette, is six (6) weeks.  Our system unfortunately cannot include the due-date with each book, so it is your responsibility to find a system for remembering when books are due.  We can also no longer renew books with reserves on them.  If you feel like you are getting more books than you can keep up with, let us know and we can adjust the number of books you receive to a level you feel is more appropriate.
Also, please remember the loan period for cassette magazines you receive from TBABS in the green plastic boxes have a loan period of two (2) weeks.  However, magazines you receive from CMLS in plain envelopes are yours to keep and do with as you please.  Thanks.
If you are one of our patrons that receives the Talking Book Topics catalog on cassette, here are a few reminders regarding how to return your requests.
First, please do not cut, fold, or tear the request booklet inside the cardboard mailing envelope.  The back cover has your name, address, and patron barcode pre-printed on it so we can identify whose requests are marked inside.  Our return address with a clear To and From indication are also printed on the cover, so there is no need to modify the cover to ensure it comes to us.  Just tape or staple the short end of the booklet shut and put it in the mail.
Also, please do not attach the booklet to the cardboard mailing envelope.  This action can damage the booklet and make it difficult for us to know who the requests are for.  The cardboard mailing envelope is not made to be reused; please recycle it after mailing in your booklet.
Lastly, you do not need to return Talking Book Topics cassettes.  They are yours to keep and/or dispose of as you see fit.  We do not reuse returned Talking Book Topics cassettes.  By following these reminders you can make sure your requests are as easy to process as possible, which helps us serve you all in a more timely and efficient manner.  Thanks!
As our concluding reminder to our patrons for this issue, it is against Free Matter federal mailing regulations to include notes in the mailing containers of books you are returning.  To send us requests, please mail them in a separate envelope, call us, or send us an email.  To report a defective book, just mark the box in the upper-left corner of the return mailing card.  Thanks.
TBABS will be closed on the following state office closure days and legal holidays:
  • July 4, Independence Day
  • September 5, Labor Day
Any mention of products and services in Talking Book and Braille News is for information only and does not imply endorsement.