Newsletter of the 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  63  ·  Fall  2015

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The National Library Service has announced their final push to convert the last remaining cassette books over to digital.  They’re hoping to have all 17,000 remaining books finished over the next two and a half years.
Except for a small number of medical and scientific works that were excluded as obsolete, every usable analog cassette book will be converted. Because the process of converting a book from cassette to digital is highly mechanized, the order of conversion is unpredictable.  At this final stage the NLS will no longer take requests to speed the conversion of specific titles.
What this announcement means for you is that if an old cassette book was going to be converted to digital at all, it will be ready within the next two and a half years.  There is now no need to recommend a book for conversion; the final list has been set.  Unfortunately, we do not have a timetable for individual books as they go through the conversion process.  We’ll all be waiting with eager anticipation together.
We’re excited that the transition to digital is nearing total completion.  Thank you all for your patience throughout this process!


On Friday, October 16th, we unveiled our new Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library Donor Board, in honor of the very generous donors who have helped support our library and ensure its future.
The board is 96 inches wide by 28 inches tall, and is mounted above our reception desk.  It is covered with a patchwork of rectangles in a variety of earth tone colors such as brown, beige, orange, and yellow that resemble a quilt.  Each rectangle houses a name of a donor to the library.
This permanent sign has been created to honor donors who have donated $10,000 or more to Talking Books, either as a single donation or over time.  There are currently 30 names on display, and we hope to add more names in the future.
Create your legacy today by donating to Talking Books!  Here are some of the most popular ways to donate:
-      Donate online with a Visa or MasterCard using our secure website
-      Send your donation check to 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301.
-      Name Talking Books in your will or living trust to receive a bequest of cash, property, or stocks.
-      Leave a gift of retirement assets, such as 401(k) plans or IRAs to the library.
-      Name Talking Books as the owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy you may no longer need.
When planning your legacy we suggest you consult with your family, friends, and financial advisor.  For more information please contact Susan Westin at 503-378-5435 or  And coming soon: an audio and video tour of our front lobby, which includes the donor board.  Check future newsletters for an official announcement.


For those users interested in learning how to download books from the BARD website or through the BARD Mobile app, the Hadley School for the Blind is offering free online audio seminars that cover both topics.
Each seminar is approximately an hour and half long, and takes you through the whole process from searching to downloading to playing BARD books.  They are recordings of live seminars, so in addition to the instructor covering the planned material, you’ll also benefit from the questions of participants and the instructor’s answers.
These BARD seminars can be found on Hadley’s website:  Navigate to Past Seminars, then click on the link for Accessibility and Technology under the Seminar Topics header.  Hadley offers a ton of other seminars of a variety of topics like Braille literacy, independent living, health and medical, and professional development.
If you are looking for something shorter, we have tutorial videos for BARD and BARD Mobile on our website at  They’re only about 10 minutes long, so they only cover the basics, but they show the whole process from beginning to end.  The National Library Service also has a YouTube playlist with lots of videos covering a wide range of BARD Mobile topics.  You can find their BARD Mobile ‘How-To Series’ under the Library of Congress’ YouTube channel.


This past summer we held our first ever Summer Reading program for students, and it was a huge success!  The goal of Summer Reading programs is to combat the “Summer Slide”, where students lose retention of up to 2 months (roughly 22%) of what they learned during the previous school year.  Reading over the summer keeps a student’s mind engaged, resulting in less information and fewer skills that need to be re-taught.
Our goal for our first ever Summer Reading program was to have 10 participants, but we ended up with 32!  Students logged how many hours they read from June 15 through August 31.  There were incentives to encourage participation, including a grand-prize drawing for an iPad Mini for kids who read 6 hours or more.  14 students completed this goal, including Paige Ollendorf, who was our grand-prize winner.  In total, participants read for 788 hours and 41 minutes!
Every year Summer Reading has a unified theme across the country, and this year’s theme was Every Hero Has a Story.  Our hero was definitely Erich Peppler, our Summer Reading coordinator, who did an outstanding job his rookie year.  Next year the theme is wellness, fitness, and sports, and we cannot wait to get in the game again!  On your marks, get set, read!


In addition to our first ever Summer Reading program, we also hosted our first ever phone-in book group on Thursday, October 22.  Participants read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (DB 80393), a fictional story that examines the secrets of the Chinese-American Lee family of Ohio before and immediately after the 1977 drowning death of their middle child.
While the group who called in was small, everyone participated in a very lively discussion.  We used questions from the reading group guide posted on the author’s website, and threw in a couple of our own.  People started off by answering the question which character they related to most, and that certainly got the conversation going!
Several participants remarked that they were glad we made this selection, as they would not have picked this book on their own and they ended up liking it a lot.  Everyone was very excited at the prospect of having another discussion, so we will definitely make these kinds of book groups a regular thing.  All of the participants agreed that it is a wonderful way to connect, as they are often isolated.
A huge thank you goes out to Meagan Button, who put this discussion together and selected the title.  Once we have the process more refined, we hope to have other Talking Books staff host future book group discussions.  Look for upcoming title and date announcements in future newsletters.


We’d like to introduce you all to our newest staff member: Kate Anderson!  Kate joined us in September, and is our new Circulation Technician.  You can thank her for checking in and checking out your books and equipment.  Before taking this position, she had worked for the Government Services division here at the State Library as a Student Worker, and before that was an activities assistant at a long-term care facility.
In June, Kate graduated from Western Oregon University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Administration and Gerontology, with a minor in Medical Chemistry and Pharmacology.  She enjoys knitting, baking, and playing with her year-old Border Collie & Lab mix.
Some of Kate’s favorite authors include Wilkie Collins and Jane Austen.  She really enjoys British literature from the 1800’s, and is currently reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.  Please join us in welcoming Kate to Talking Books!


With the primary election coming up in May 2016 and the general election following in November, we wanted to give everyone a chance ahead of time to sign up for an accessible Voters’ Guide if you’re interested.  We provide this Voters’ Guide in partnership with the League of Women Voters and the Secretary of State’s office.
You can request the Voters’ Guide in one of three formats: Large Print, Braille, or audio.  For the primary election, there will not be a separate edition for the Republicans and Democrats; all candidates will be in the same guide.  This guide is also for state-wide elections, and does not include information on local county or city candidates or ballot measures.
If you would like to subscribe to receive the Voters’ Guide for this and all other upcoming state-wide elections, please contact us at 800-452-0292 or and let us know what format you would prefer.  The cut-off date to subscribe for the primary election is early April, and the cut-off for the general election will be sometime in September.


In 1997, the Oregon State Library Board created the Talking Books Endowment Fund, hoping to ensure a long and strong future for Talking Books.  The fund started with $150,000, and has since grown by the very generous donations of users over the years to now nearly $2 million!  We use the interest earned from this principal for enhancements that benefit all users.
However, since its inception our Endowment Fund has been part of the low-risk investment fund with the State Treasurer’s office.  While this investment strategy has been safe, it has also been very low yield.  However, recently the Board was provided with the option of investing in a higher yield fund.
And so, with a vote by the Board based on the recommendation of our Talking Books Advisory Council, and with the gracious permission given to us by the legislature at the end of their last session, we have moved 70% of the Endowment Fund’s current balance into an intermediate investment pool with the Treasurer’s office.  We will need to let the fund settle for a few years, but we should start seeing much better returns in the long term, which was the original intent of creating the Endowment Fund.
If you would like information about planned giving and how to include Talking Books in your estate planning, please contact Susan Westin at 503-378-5435 or  Your legacy can live on for generations to come…that all may read.


There are a wide variety of audio and Braille magazines available to Talking Books users across the country from the National Library Service.  In addition to the NLS magazines, we here in Oregon produce two local-interest audio magazines as well.
-      The Oregon Lion Magazine: monthly newsletter of the Lions of Oregon service clubs.  Articles are submitted from the various clubs across the multiple districts of MD36 Oregon.  Regular sections include a calendar of upcoming events, Lions Vision Gift articles, a Diabetes article, messages from the district governors, and a listing of gifts and memorials.
-      OPB Primetime TV Schedule: monthly listing of what shows will air on what days on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s various TV channels.  The listings are primarily for the primetime hours of 7PM-11PM on weekdays and 5PM-11PM on weekends.  There are also shorter sections for weekday, weekend, and radio schedules.  Each day is marked for easy navigation using an advanced digital player.
If you are interested in subscribing to either of these magazines, please contact us at 800-452-0292 or


Talking Books will be closed on the following legal holidays:
·       November 26-27, Thanksgiving
·       December 25, Christmas Day
·       January 1, New Years Day
·       January 18, MLK Jr. Day
·       February 15, Presidents’ Day
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 improve the chance of receiving those books before holidays.
This newsletter is available in large print, audio, Braille, or here on our website at  Contact Talking Books if you would like to change the format you currently receive.
Any mention of products and services in Staying Connected is for information only and does not imply endorsement.