Newsletter of the Oregon Talking Book
and Braille Library
State Library of Oregon
250 Winter St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone:(503) 378-5389
Toll Free: (800) 452-0292
Fax: (503) 585-8059

Issue  68  ·  Summer  2017

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For almost 60 years Talking Books has been part of the larger State Library of Oregon, which for over 100 years has provided a wealth of library and information-related services to diverse and distinct state-wide user groups.  A LOT of people really value what they get from the State Library, and with decades of experience we’ve become very good at doing what we do.  But there’s been some confusion along the way about where exactly the services you all know and love are coming from.

So to clear things up and increase awareness of the State Library it is high time for a rebrand.  Please note: nothing service-related is changing.  For Talking Books users books will still mail like normal.  Books will still download like normal.  Phone calls and emails will still be answered like normal.  This rebrand will just make it easier to know who we are at Talking Books and give all the divisions of the State Library the opportunity to present a more unified voice.


The most immediate change you’ll notice is Talking Books has adopted a new logo that all divisions of the State Library are now using.  It’s in the shape of an O to help infer both Oregon and a portal, a more modern library symbol.  The color pattern is indicative of the patchwork nature of the State Library; we are one State Library with distinct divisions functioning as one cohesive agency.  So please remember: cool new look, same great Talking Books at the State Library!


We want to give all our users some very advanced heads up that our State of Oregon website will be receiving some significant upgrades within the next year.  Our website has pretty much stayed the same for over 10 years, and while we have made some minor adjustments, we’ve been limited by an outdated website content management system.  But that is all about to change.


The new website will be much more task orientated, making it easier for you to do the most common things people come to our website to do, like register for our library, update your address or phone number, sign up for BARD or Summer Reading, make a donation, and read our newsletter.  Navigation and accessibility will be improved, and the website will have a much more modern look and feel.


The most noticeable change will be the layout of the website, which will take some time to get used to, but by mentioning these plans at the beginning of the process we hope to make this transition as smooth and positive as possible for everyone.  The updated website will go live in late spring or early summer, and we will keep you posted as progress is made.  We here at Talking Books are excited by and ready for this change, and we hope you are too!


Want to maintain your request list like a pro?  Here are some great tips from staff for new and long-time users alike.


·       ALL users can request books.  Even if you get books by automatic selection, you are still welcome to request specific books.

·       Newer requests bury older requests.  A request you make today will be favored for mailing over a request you made last week.

·       Keep your request list at a reasonable level.  Even if you read a book a day we recommend a 100 request maximum.  That way you’re more likely to get the books you really want before those requests expire.

·       Use Talking Book Topics wisely.  Requesting 30-40 books per catalog instead of 100+ ensures you get more of the books you really want instead of clogging up your request list with books you only moderately want.

·       Adding author preferences vs. requesting all their books.  Having us add an author preference ensures you get more books by that author without having to add every single one of their books to your request list.

·       Series requests.  If you want to get all the books in a series in order, contact a Reader Advisor and we can set up a series request for you.  You’ll get one book at a time in order, and the system automatically sends you the next book when we get one back from you.


We are becoming more and more able to fulfill requests, and want to make sure everyone gets the most out of Talking Books.


One of Talking Books’ underserved populations here in Oregon is students.  It has been a goal of ours to better reach out to eligible students, and we’re trying to find creative ways of keeping our registered students engaged with programs like Summer Reading.  We want students to think of Talking Books as their library for life, the library they can use through their school years and into adulthood.  To help us manage the accounts of student users as they move from school to school, and to identify students who would benefit from using our library, we rely heavily on the partnership of teachers all over the state.


So for this Partner Spotlight we would like to highlight Dan Glowicki with the Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District (LBLESD).  Dan is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired with the Cascade Regional Program, meaning he travels around meeting with many different students at many different schools.  Throughout the school year he is regularly referring new students to our library and helping registered students request books or download materials from BARD.  Thank you, Mr. Glowicki, for all your hard work!


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


On each book’s return mailing card there is a box you can mark if the book is defective.  The box is located at the top-left corner of the card when our return address is showing, right above the hole-punch, and is meant to be an easy way for you to let us know if the book has any playback errors.  Playback errors include issues like:


·       The cartridge is blank; there is no book on the cartridge.

·       The book will not play.

·       The book starts, then stops unexpectedly part-way through.

·       The player reports a “cartridge error” and cannot play the book.

·       You get a book from us through the mail, but the player states you are “not authorized to play this book.”


These types of issues are more technical or electronic in nature, and primarily stem from a hardware or software malfunction.  The defective box on the mailing card is there so we know that book needs to be tested and repaired.


It may be tempting to also use the defective box to share your opinion about a book, but that’s not really what it is there for.  Comments related to a book’s author, narrator, subject matter, or content are best made directly to a Reader Advisor by contacting us at 800-452-0292 or so we can adjust your preferences.


Using the defective box for its intended purpose ensures we can remove those books from circulation and address the malfunction quickly.  Thanks!


The National Library Service has introduced a breath switch compatible with both the standard and advanced digital players.  It is intended for users who are unable to press the buttons to control their digital player.  The breath switch comes with a shirt clip, removable mouth tube, and inline moisture filter.  Through its connection to the digital player via the USB port the breath switch can control all of the functions of the digital player with various sip and puff actions.  The only button the breath switch cannot control is the power button, so the player will need to be plugged in while using a breath switch.


You may request an application for the breath switch from our library.  Just call us or email us and we’ll send you a copy.  The application needs to be completed and signed by a certifying authority, then returned to Talking Books so we can submit it to the National Library Service.  The breath switch will be mailed directly to you once the application has been approved.


In the early 1990’s, Thomas Price of Grants Pass left a large portion of his estate to Talking Books.  His bequest was made in memory of his wife, Irene, who enjoyed Talking Books throughout her lifetime.  His bequest made it possible to establish the Talking Books Endowment Fund and the Irene Price Society.


Today, the Endowment Fund has grown to over $2.5 million thanks to many individuals who include Talking Books in their estate planning.  The Endowment Fund ensures the ability of future generations to enjoy Talking Books and other special library services for Oregonians with print-impairments.


If you have plans to name Talking Books in your will, let us know and we will add you to our Irene Price Society membership.  We want to honor you with a gift for becoming a member.  This gift is our way of saying “thanks” to you on behalf of future generations who will benefit from this special library.


Our Fund Development Officer Melissa Krueck can answer any questions you might have.  You can contact her directly at 503-378-5014 or


Please remember to return the audio version of the Talking Book Topics catalog.  It arrives in the special red container used for magazines, and may be on a cartridge with other magazines if you are subscribed to more than just the audio Talking Book Topics.  The large print version of Talking Book Topics can be kept, but the audio version needs to be returned so the cartridges can be reused for the next issue.


Please do not send notes inside the containers of returned books.  We have noticed a recent increase in notes, but it is against postal service policy to send notes inside Free Matter book containers.  Also, our book inspection process renders any notes an ineffective communication method.  If you need to change your address or hold your service, please call us or use the new Update Account form on our website’s homepage.


The National Library Service considers a battery OK if it can hold 12 hours or more on a full charge.  All rechargeable batteries lose some charging capacity over time.  We can only replace players for battery charge issues alone if the battery drops below the 12 hour standard.  However, you are not required to replace your player at that point, especially if you leave your player plugged in most of the time.


Talking Books will be closed on the following holidays:


·       September 4, Labor Day

·       November 10, Veterans’ Day

·       November 23-24, Thanksgiving

·       December 25, Christmas


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.