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Summer 2010 Newsletter
Talking Book and Braille News
Digital Talking Book Machine
BARD Admin Update
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 7,  Issue  2  ·  Summer  2010  ·  Editor:  Joel Henderson
On April 7, the staff of Talking Books officially took over administrative responsibilities for BARD, the National Library Service download program, for users in Oregon.  We now have direct control over reviewing applications for BARD service, which means we can now approve patrons for download much more quickly than before.  It still won’t be an instantaneous process, but instead of taking days to get approved it may only take hours!
We can also help handle certain problems you may have with your BARD account.  For instance, if you’re having trouble remembering which email address you’ve set up as your username, we can remind you.  Or, on the off chance you forget your password, we can reset it for you and a new temporary password will be sent to you via email.
If you are a patron who is new to BARD, we have added a page to our website with information about the BARD service, including download instructions, where you can purchase blank cartridges and USB flash drives, and an FAQ section.  Please visit our website at www.tbabs.org.
To date we have over 420 patrons registered for BARD, and we’re excited to see more and more applications come in every day!  If you are interested in registering for BARD, please contact us, or visit www.tbabs.org today and follow the link to the application.  Happy downloading!
As the BARD download service becomes more and more popular, we have been getting a lot of questions about USB flash drives.  Which ones do we recommend?  How much memory do they need?  What is a USB flash drive in the first place?  Here are some answers and recommendations we’ve gathered from our staff.
First, it is important to point out that USB flash drives have a variety of different names: thumb drive, memory stick, jump drive, pen drive, etc.  All these names are referring to the same product.
In order to play the books you download from BARD on your player, you either need a blank cartridge (like the ones we mail you) or a USB flash drive.  Both use the same technology to store the books; in fact, the cartridges are just USB flash drives housed inside a specially-shaped shell.
If you want to purchase a blank cartridge, they are available from America Printing House for the Blind (APH) and Perkins School.  They come with either 1 or 2 Gigabytes of storage space.  NOTE: in order to connect a blank cartridge to your computer, you may also need to purchase a special cable, which can be bundled with your purchase of a cartridge.  Visit www.aph.org or www.perkins.org, or call 800-223-1839 for APH and 978-462-3817 for Perkins School.
If you go the USB flash drive route, our staff recommends purchasing one that has 1-2 Gigabytes of storage space, same as the blank cartridges.  The books you download from BARD are about 100-120 Megabytes each (depending on the length of the book), so you should be able to fit 4-6 books on a 1 Gigabyte flash drive.  The larger the flash drive, the more books you can fit on it.
Flash drives can be purchased at any consumer electronics store.  Most brands work just fine, but some flash drives come with extra software pre-installed on them, such as security software or software that helps you organize your files.  We recommend NOT getting flash drives with extra software, since they sometimes keep the digital player from being able to recognize the books on the flash drive.  Just something plain and ordinary will do.
Talking Book and Braille Services provides incredible opportunities for Oregonians who enjoy the gift of reading. Services such as audio books, NFB-NEWSLINE, down-loadable audio books and Braille books are used by thousands of Oregonians each day.
To continue offering these wonderful services we depend upon you and your generous gifts. Our 2010 Spring Appeal is underway. You can send a gift by check (250 Winter St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97301), by visiting our secure website at http://givetotbabs.org with a credit card donation, or call 1-800-452-0292 and we will assist you with your credit card donation. Your gift is always tax deductible.
On behalf of all the users of Taking Book and Braille Services, our staff, and our volunteers we thank you for your generosity. Every donation is a wonderful gift….the gift of reading.
Talking Books, in partnership with the Idaho State Library, periodically produces professionally narrated books about Oregon or by Oregon authors, and we are happy to promote the latest entry in our collection.
Hearts of Horses, CBX 1251, is a 2007 publication by author Molly Gloss.  This new novel from the author of Jump-Off Creek tells the heartwarming story of a determined young woman with a gift for “gentling” wild horses.
Gloss's latest features a wandering tomboy who finds her place in rural Oregon while the men are away at war. After leaving home in 1917, 19-year-old Martha Lessen winds up in the small town of Shelby, where farmers George and Louise Bliss convince her to stay the winter with them after she domesticates their broncos with soft words and songs instead of lariats and hobbles. In town Martha meets a slovenly drunk, a clan of Western European immigrants, and two unmarried sisters running a ranch with the help of an awkward, secretive teenager.  Hearts of Horses is a remarkable story about how people and animals touch each other’s lives in the most unexpected ways.
Call TBABS if you are interested in ordering our newest recording, Hearts of Horses.  All of our professionally-narrated Oregon books are made possible by the many generous donations from patrons and friends of Talking Books.  Thank you for your continued support!
As part of our service we produce local talking books that highlight Oregon authors, Oregon history, or feature Oregon characters or culture in some way.  For our next book selection, we are hoping to get some feedback from you to help us decide which book we should commission.  Please browse the following list and choose one you’d like to vote for.  When you are finished, call us and let us know which book you’d prefer.  We really appreciate your input!
Trask by Don Berry -- Set in 1848 in the rainforests and rugged headlands of the Oregon coast, Trask follows a mountain man's quest for new opportunities and new land to settle.
Twenty Questions by Alison Clement -- This might have been a fairly typical murder mystery were it not for compelling protagonist June Duvall, a small town woman who works at an elementary school cafeteria. Her life changes when Ronald Pruett is arrested for strangling Vernay Hanks, a local waitress. June had declined a ride from Pruett a day earlier, thus changing her fate (or so she believes).
Ricochet River by Robin Cody -- Love it or leave it: the old dilemma of the American teenager vis-à-vis his hometown is explored again in this coming-of-age novel. The time is 1960, and the place is Calamus, a small logging town in Oregon.
The Wrekening by Jayel Gibson -- In The Wrekening, an ancient evil is discovered lying deep beneath the earth, waiting to be awakened by those possessing the Wreken wyrm shards. When the Dragon Queen and her guardians realize the shards must be recovered before they fall into the wrong hands, they turn to Cwen of Aaradan, fierce warrior and estranged niece of the queen. Cwen reluctantly agrees, and she and her band of renegades set off to reclaim the lost shards.
Bearing the Body by Ehud Havazelet -- Nathan Mirsky learns that his older brother has apparently been murdered in San Francisco after years of aimlessness. On the spur of the moment, Nathan leaves his job as a medical resident and heads west from Boston to learn what he can about Daniel's death. His father, Sol - a quiet, embittered Holocaust survivor - insists on coming along. Piecing together Daniel's last days, Nathan and Sol are forced to confront secrets that have long isolated then from each other and to begin a long process of forgiveness.
Cezanne’s Quarry by Barbara Pope -- A beautiful young woman is found murdered, and the clues to her death point to her spurned lover, Paul Cézanne. Exploring questions of science and religion that persist even to this day, Cezanne’s Quarry is a provocative debut mystery about life, death, love, and art.
With Grit and by Grace: Breaking Trails in Law and Politics – a Memoir by Betty Roberts and Gail Wells -- In the 1950s, Betty Roberts did what most of her contemporaries considered audacious and inappropriate when she returned to college as a 32-year-old wife and mother. With Grit and by Grace follows Betty Roberts’ rise from a Depression era childhood on the Texas plains to become a teacher, lawyer, state legislator, candidate for governor, and eventually Oregon’s first woman Supreme Court Justice.
Every year we honor our wonderful volunteers during National Volunteer Appreciation Week. This year we held a breakfast event on April 20th. Along with a delicious breakfast buffet, our volunteers were presented with a certificate indicating the number of hours they have given over the past year, and a soft re-usable lunch bag.
Here is a list of the many tasks Volunteers have accomplished over the past year for the Talking Book and Braille Services:
  • 25,000 books on cassette were inspected and re-wound.
  • 4,800 Talking Book Newsletters on cassette, print and Braille formats were mailed each quarter, totaling 19,200 items.
  • 1,000 League of Women Voter’s Guides in cassette, print and Braille formats were mailed each election cycle.
  • 3,200 Talking Book cassette players were cleaned.
  • 3,200 Talking Book cassette players were checked for problems and repaired.
This represents a total of 3,770 hours for the program. Thank you, Volunteers.
Did you know that every returned book is physically inspected before it is mailed to a new patron?  The Circulation staff and volunteers inspect between 1,100 and 1,500 items each day.  If you are able, you can help us out be rewinding your tapes before returning them to Talking Books.
For digital users: be sure to check that you have placed the cartridge in the mailing container before returning.  If you notice you have to use a bit of force to insert the cartridge, you probably have it upside down.  You can tell the top of the cartridge by feeling for a row of Braille on it.
Here are a few facts about the digital player battery:
  • When fully charged, the battery usually lasts over twenty hours.
  • It takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge an empty battery.
  • You are able to use the player while the battery is charging.
  • If the player is running on battery and NOT playing a book, it will automatically power off after 30 minutes to save battery power.
Also, some of the announcements that digital players make can be turned off.  You can modify your settings so the following messages are not indicated:
1. The initial “forward” or “back” message when pressing the REWIND or FAST FORWARD buttons.
2. The tone, volume, and speed up and down message when pressing those buttons while the book is playing.
To turn off these announcements:
  • Press and hold the FAST FORWARD button and the SPEED DOWN button together 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 completed successfully.
To restore the announcements, just repeat the same steps.
On occasion, Talking Books staff will be required to participate in a mandatory office closure day, or we’ll be out of the office for a holiday.  We will always notify you in advance regarding the specific dates of these office closures.
In order to provide all our patrons with the best service following office closure days and holidays, we have a few suggestions for you if you call during a long weekend:
  • Only ask for a call back if your request requires one.  Examples of requests that do NOT require call backs include machine replacement requests, book requests, and inquiries regarding your place on the digital player waiting list.  If you are not on the waiting list, we will add you to it automatically.
  • When identifying yourself, only include your name, phone number, and city.  Annunciate and speak at a reasonable pace.
  • If you have book requests, please leave you message slowly and clearly, and whenever possible please have the book numbers handy.
We will do our best to get back to you on the first business day following the office closure, and we appreciate your patience!
TBABS will be closed on the following state office closure days and legal holidays:
  • June 18, Closure Day
  • July 5, Independence Day
  • August 20, Closure Day
Any mention of products and services in Talking Book and Braille News is for information only and does not imply endorsement.