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  66  ·  Fall/Winter  2016

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Within the last couple of years the National Library Service has started allowing network libraries to upload locally-recorded books to BARD, as long as the books meet specific standards.  These books appear on BARD and in Talking Book Topics with the code DBC before the book number.  We here at Talking Books have done a fair job converting the books we paid other libraries to record for us years ago, but the digital books we’ve created would not meet NLS BARD standards.


Recently, however, we reached out to the Idaho Talking Books library and asked if they would be willing to remaster the recordings they’ve done for us so they meet NLS BARD standards.  The Idaho library graciously agreed to remaster the four books they had recorded for us to make them BARD ready, and within a couple of weeks all four books were good to go.


We then contacted NLS and were added to a pilot program for libraries that don’t have their own recording studios but do have books they’d like to upload to BARD.  We passed all phases of the pilot program smoothly, and are pleased to announce that all four books listed below are now available for download from BARD!

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (DBC 8771)

Set in a remote eastern Oregon county in 1917, this is the tale of nineteen-year-old Martha Lessen, a female horse whisperer, who tries over the course of several months to break a horse in her own special, gentle way.  This is the touching story of people and animals making connections and touching each other's lives in the most unexpected ways.  (Author uses factual and fictional sites in this book).


A Sweetness to the Soul (Dreamcatcher book #1) by Jane Kirkpatrick (DBC 8772)

Pioneer Jane Herbert at the age of twelve faces a tragedy which begins a life-long search for forgiveness and love.  In the years that follow, Jane finds herself involved in a romance with a dreamer sixteen years her senior, struggles to make peace with an emotionally distant mother, and fights to build a family of her own.  Paints a picture of love and offers a powerful testimony to the miracle of God's healing power.


Love to Water My Soul (Dreamcatcher book #2) by Jane Kirkpatrick (DBC 8773)

Based on historical characters and events, this book recounts the dramatic story of an abandoned white child rescued by Indians.   Among Oregon's Paiute people, Shell Flower seeks love and a place of belonging only to be cast away from her home.  In the years that follow, she faces a new life in the world of the white man--a life filled with both attachment and loss--and finds that God faithfully unites her with a love that fills all longing.


A Gathering of Finches (Dreamcatcher book #3) by Jane Kirkpatrick (DBC 8774)

Based on historical characters and events, A Gathering of Finches tells the story of a turn-of-the-century Oregon coastal couple and the consequences of their choices, as seen through the eyes of the wife, her sister, and her Indian maid.  The story emphasizes the message that real meaning is found in the relationships we nurture and in living our lives in obedience to God.




We’ve added another batch of new descriptive DVDs to our collection, including:


-    Anonymous (PG-13)


-    The Big Short (R)


o   Academy Award Winner – Best Adaptive Screenplay (DB 71207)


-    Black Mass (R)


-    Captain America: Civil War (PG-13)


-    The Conjuring 2 (R)


-    The Fourth Kind (PG-13)


-    The Intern (PG-13)


-    Joy (PG-13)


-    The Martian (PG-13)


o   Golden Globe Winner – Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)


o   Golden Globe Winner – Best Actor (Matt Damon)


-    Miracles from Heaven (PG)


-    Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (PG-13)


-    The Revenant (R)


o   Academy Award Winner – Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)


o   Academy Award Winner – Best Director (Alejandro G. Iñárritu)


o   Golden Globe Winner – Best Picture (Drama)


-    Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (PG-13)


-    Zootopia (PG)


All of these DVDs have the DVS 2.0 audio option, which you’ll need to access from the DVD’s audio menu. 


If you would like to request any of the DVDs from our collection, please contact us at 800-452-0292 or  Descriptive DVDs are loaned for 2 weeks, and you can have one DVD at a time.




We hope all of our users know that any of our library’s books, players, accessories, and request forms mailed via the United States Postal Service (USPS) qualify for “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” postage, meaning you can mail these items without having to pay anything.  Simply write “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” in the top-right corner of an envelope or package where you would usually put postage. 


Free Matter postage works in every city, county, state, and territory in the United States.  ALL USPS post offices accept Free Matter postage.  The US Congress makes an annual appropriation to the USPS that covers the cost of handling Free Matter mail.  Any and all of our users are qualified to use this postage designation because you are registered with our library. 


Here are some things you can do to help expedite Free Matter mail you send our way:


-      Always address items to the Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library, or just Talking Books for short.  For books, it’s as easy as flipping the mailing card over so our return address is showing.


-      Remember to leave paper envelopes unsealed to comply with Free Matter postage regulations.


-      Make sure you put items into the USPS system, either in your mail box, in a blue USPS pickup bin, or at a USPS post office.  FedEx and UPS DO NOT accept Free Matter postage.


Because we here at Talking Books are surrounded by Free Matter mail every day, we are very familiar with it, but there may be some individual postal employees that aren’t.  Here are some things you can do if you encounter any hardships when trying to return library materials using Free Matter postage:


-      Remain calm. Keep cool and explain that you are a user of the Oregon Talking Book and Braille Library sending back library materials for the print-disabled.


-      Ask to speak to the Postmaster and have them explain specifically WHY they won’t accept the materials as Free Matter.


-      Remember the post office you had the problem with and make a note of the names of the postal employees you spoke with.  If problems persist, give us with this information and we can contact the post office.


-      Many post offices have an area where you can drop letters and packages off without waiting in line.  If your local post office has these areas use them.


You should never be expected to pay for postage when properly mailing Free Matter items.  Hopefully you don’t experience any difficulties, but if so this information should help straighten things out.




For this particular Partner Spotlight we’re going to do something a little different.  In the past we have highlighted a specific person from a specific profession as an example of the different ways people can help eligible Oregonians connect with our library.  However, this time it was just too difficult to select only one person to represent an entire group when so many of them partner with us to improve the quality of life for our users.


So with this Partner Spotlight we would like to thank all the Activity Directors and Life Enrichment Directors at all the various retirement communities across the state.  Not only do they help refer residents to our library, but they also support their use by helping with mailing books back, requesting books by phone or email, setting up book clubs, inviting Talking Books staff to come and present to interested residents and their family members, assisting with downloading books, and so much more.  We truly appreciate everything they do.


And just like an Activity Director, if you believe our library can benefit someone you know, maybe a family member, friend, neighbor, or even a stranger you meet, tell them about Talking Books.  You can call and ask for an application, or give them our phone number: 800-452-0292.  We need your help, and you really can make a difference.  Thanks!




In November we welcomed our newest staff member, Kathy Lawson, to Talking Books!  Kathy is our new part-time Office Assistant, and will mainly be working to support records management for Fund Development and our user database.  She will be logging incoming donations, updating accounts in our donations database, and assisting with special projects.


Before coming to the State Library Kathy worked as a bookkeeper / office manager for a general contractor of multi-family housing.  She has lots of experience keeping clean records, and is a quick and thorough learner with a positive attitude. 


She really enjoys spending time with her kids and husband, as well as horseback riding, camping, and hiking.  When asked about her reading preferences, she said, “I love all things fiction and sci-fi!  Oh, and murder mysteries, too.”  Please join us in welcoming Kathy to Talking Books!




Every once in a while you may come across a book that does not play properly.  Your player will usually say something like “book error” or “cartridge error” when you put the book in, and it will not play.  Or the book will refuse to play past a certain point and just skip to the end.  If you run into a book that’s defective, here’s what you should do.


First, contact us.  Staff here at Talking Books have a lot of support options to choose from, including marking the book for repair in our circulation database and reserving a new copy for you if you want one.  We can also take you through some quick steps to see if we can get the book to play without having to send it back.  To contact us you can call 800-452-0292 or email  If you are unable to talk to a staff member directly or call during non-business hours, just a leave a message with you name, phone number, the title and DB number of the defective book, and a brief explanation of the problem.


Second, mark the “Defective” box on the return mailing card.  The box is located in the top-left corner of the card when our return address is showing, just above the hole punch.  Even if you cannot see the box, any mark or scribble in that general area is cause enough for our circulation staff to set the book aside for additional inspection.


Here are a few things NOT to do, including:


-      Please do not write directly on the cartridge or container.


-      Please do not tape notes to the cartridge


-      Please do not put rubber bands around the cartridge or container.


We really appreciate your help identifying books that need a little TLC.  Thanks!




It’s that time of the year again: the annual expiration of requests.  In early January 2017 any requests that were made prior to January 1, 2016 will expire and be automatically removed from request lists.  We use requests statistics to make collection management decisions, and having current information helps us know how to best allocate resources.


Please don’t share or trade books with other users.  Shared or traded books have a tendency to get mixed up or become overdue, which usually means you won’t get new books as quickly.  If a friend wants to read a book, have them request their own copy.




Talking Books will be closed on the following holidays:


·       December 26, Christmas


·       January 2, New Years


·       January 16, MLK Jr. Day


·       February 20, President’s 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 on our website.  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.