Touch and Listen Newsletter
The Newsletter of the
Bureau of Braille and
Talking Book Library Services
Daytona Beach, Florida
News You Can Use
If you are planning a trip in a foreign nation and are planning to take your Talking Book player give us a call. We have an adapter to make sure the power source where you are going will work with our player and keep the player from being damaged. Please give us up to three weeks before you travel, so we get the adaptor to you before you depart. Call your reader advisor at 1-800-226-6075 for details.
Getting Help with BARD Mobile
The full BARD Mobile user guide is available from within the application. To read it, open the Bookshelf tab. After the book categories such as Audio Books or Braille books, depending if you use an Android or iOS device, you’ll find Help. Double-tap Help and you'll find one item called User Guide.
The user guide is displayed as a web page. The table of contents is at the top, and each item is an in-page link, meaning that if you select it, you will be taken directly to the text for that item. Each table of contents entry is also a heading, so you can skim through the guide by changing the rotor to Headings and flicking down with one finger.
Standard VoiceOver reading commands work just fine. To have VoiceOver read from the current position, swipe down with two fingers. To pause and resume the speech, do a two-finger single tap.
When you're finished reading Help, select the Help back button in the upper left corner of the screen, and then select the “Bookshelf: Select Category” back button.
If you have Internet access when you read the user guide, BARD Mobile will load the most recent version of the guide from the NLS website. If you don't, BARD Mobile will load the version that was current when your version of BARD Mobile was created. So over time, there may be discrepancies between the online and offline versions.
It's a good idea for everyone to read the user guide, but if you plan to read braille books, it's particularly important that you read Section 7 of the iOS user guide, as it tells you how to configure your braille display and provides keystrokes that will make it easy to read and navigate braille books and magazines.
Quick tutorial videos are also available on YouTube and cover a variety of topics such as how to navigate books and how to manage your downloads using BARD Mobile on either platform.
Reader’s Digest is once again available in braille from American Printing House (APH). To sign up, contact Hannah Sedlak of APH by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (502) 899-2387. The APH website has outdated information.
The audio version is available on BARD for instant download. If you are interested in subscribing to it on cartridge, please call your reader advisor at 1-800-226-6075 or email OPAC_librarian@dbs.fldoe.org.
Reader’s Digest includes short stories, political commentary and other general interest topics. It also contains anecdotes, humor and a condensed book.
Most of you know that the Florida Braille and Talking Book Library is part of a nationwide network of similar libraries administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), which is a branch of the Library of Congress. Beginning from braille books, to record players, to cassette tapes, to digital books, to downloadable books from BARD and the most recent inception of BARD Mobile, NLS has used innovation and technology to make your books more accessible over the years. Here are some ideas NLS is working on for the future. “We’re excited about the potential of each of these ideas,” NLS Director Karen Keninger said. “But first we need to determine if they really will improve our service, assess how patrons will react to them, and, of course, figure out how much they will cost.”
- Braille eReader—NLS has always provided audiobook players to its patrons, but braille users who wanted to read electronic braille had to provide their own very expensive refreshable braille displays. NLS is planning to purchase and provide easy-to-use braille eReaders designed specifically to read NLS braille materials. A small pilot project will take place over the next two years to test all aspects of this plan, including distribution, tech support, and maintenance.
- Modified smartphone—NLS is developing the next generation talking book player, and is studying the feasibility of using a modified smartphone. The process includes evaluating smartphones currently on the market, what modifications they would need in order to search the NLS catalog and play talking books, how difficult they would be for patrons to set up and use, and of course, what costs will be involved. These smartphones will probably not have all the same features and apps you would find on a commercial smartphone.
- Voice User Interface—NLS is developing a voice user interface (voice UI) for use in searching its catalog and playing talking books. This is similar to Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, or Cortana. Instead of searching for a book to play, imagine simply saying, “Hey You, play To Kill a Mockingbird.” NLS will study the technical requirements of voice UI, what patrons would expect it to do, and come up with a better name than Hey You.
- Streaming service—There is the possibility that NLS may offer streaming as a way to access books from BARD. Streaming is an alternative to downloading an entire book to play later. Streaming begins playing a book immediately, without having to wait for the entire item to be downloaded and stored on your device. Many of you may already stream movies, music, or TV shows from sources such as Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, or Hulu. There are technological issues NLS must investigate before this becomes a reality.
- Synthetic speech—another innovation NLS is pursuing is using synthetic speech to produce audio magazines. This means that instead of a real, live human recording a magazine, a computer would read it. The advantage to using synthetic speech is that magazines could be produced faster and at a lower cost. One likely candidate for this technology is the Talking Book Topics. Synthetic speech sometimes mispronounces words, especially proper nouns, so NLS must determine whether patrons would be willing to trade mispronunciations for more timely access.
- Self-Service tools—NLS will explore self-service tools, such as a virtual agent to interact with patrons on the NLS website or on BARD Mobile. This would help reduce the workload of librarians and reader advisors in Talking Book libraries around the country.
Library’s new strategic plan emphasizes access
This fall, the Library of Congress underwent an organization-wide realignment during which NLS moved into a new group called Library and Collections Services. This move, intended to align core library activities to ensure a more consistent user experience, was implemented in conjunction with the release of an overall strategic plan intended to serve as a roadmap for the Library in the coming years.
Reflecting the vision of Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and feedback from staff across the Library, the plan focuses on the needs and interests of users and the goal of making collections more accessible and relevant to the American people. In sharing the new strategic plan, Hayden emphasized that the new direction “establishes our mission to engage, inspire and inform Congress and the American people with a universal and enduring source of knowledge and creativity.”
Complementing the strategic plan is a new digital strategy, intended to enhance the Library’s ability to connect with more users and make online resources more available.
NLS Director Karen Keninger said, “NLS is very pleased with the plan, which aligns closely with our longstanding goal of accessibility and engagement, in addition to serving as support for NLS’s plans for increased digital access for its patrons.”
NLS Music Blog
NLS Music Notes is a blog for those who want, need, provide, or are generally interested in special format music materials in braille, audio, and large print offered by the NLS Music Section. It aims to highlight the lesser-known materials, activities, and people that are integral to the Music Section and its music patrons. Five core bloggers write weekly blog posts that focus on items from the collection, along with a variety of related music topics and activities. Past blog topics include newly added titles, profiles on braille music transcribers and their work, free braille music giveaways, as well as interviews of patrons and narrators. To subscribe for future blogs, visit https://blogs.loc.gov/nls-music-notes/.
Talking Book Machine Software Update
A recent software update for the talking book machine makes it easier to advance to the next title on a cartridge. This version, number 2.1.16, contains the “sequential play” feature that allows users to advance to the next book or magazine on a cartridge without using the “bookshelf” mode.
The feature is easy to use. When the player announces, “End of book,” pressing the play/stop button advances to the next title on the cartridge. The bookshelf mode will still allow users to select the order of multiple titles on a cartridge, but the sequential play feature is ideal for those wanting to read the titles in the order in which they are on the cartridge.
You may request an upgrade cartridge by asking your reader advisor for it. It is available on the WebOPAC to request as book number FDB03944, DTBM Software Upgrade. The updated firmware is available for download on the NLS public website and the BARD main page. NLS has also added the firmware to the Magazines on Cartridge system for multiple-magazine subscribers. The firmware update will not be added to mass-duplicated, single title cartridges.
Computers for the Blind
Computers for the Blind is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Richardson, TX. They provide refurbished computers with assistive technology to persons who are blind or have low vision, with free shipping in the USA, with no income or age requirements. They receive computers and accessibility software as donations from many sources. Volunteers clean and rebuild the computers, then set them up with the software to make it possible for visually impaired persons to interact with them. It takes a team to make it all happen!
The fee is $130 for a desktop, and $185 for a laptop, plus extra for any add-ons that requested. The computers already include assistive software preinstalled and activated, JAWS 2018 Screen Reader and ZoomText 2018 Screen Magnifier.
Contact them by email at email@example.com, or call the Customer Service at 214-340-6328. The hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm. Visit their website at https://www.computersfortheblind.org/
On the Library Bookshelf
Fresh from the Recording Studio
DBC books are on BARD, downloadable immediately. Call your reader advisor to find out how!
Wiregrass Country, DBC12756, by Herb and Muncy Chapman. A rugged frontier of the Florida territory in 1835 is setting for the story of Treff Ballowe and his adopted family, the Dovers, who struggle to keep their Three Springs Ranch thriving under threat of rustlers and a looming Seminole war. Narrator: Tom Hart. Reading time: 10 hrs. 15 min.
Through Slanted Windows: A Journey Into Radio, DBC12786, by Dave Archard. The story is abundant with personal recollections of the waning Golden Age of Radio and the first decade of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Narrator/Author: Dave Archard. Reading time: 8 hrs. 5 min.
If it Takes All Summer: Martin Luther King, the KKK, and States’ Rights in St. Augustine, 1964, DBC12740, by Dan R. Warren. A memoir chronicling the Civil Rights drama in early 1960s St. Augustine, Florida detailing the constant tactics required to bring an end to the social unrest. Narrator: Nancy Shea. Reading Time: 7 hrs. 40 min.
Assassin’s Silence, DBC12766, by Ward Larsen. A killer leaves a trail of bodies across Europe and a large airplane disappears without a trace. The CIA believes the two are connected and David Slaton must race against time to prevent an unimaginable terror. Narrator: Tom Hart. Reading time: 16 hours. Contains some violence.
Shadows Behind the Wall, FDB03940, by R. Clifford Blair. A fictional account of the daily lives of students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, centering on a 17 year old whose actions inadvertently set in motion a series of events, including a tragedy, which shape the remainder of his life. Narrator: Kathy Taylor, Reading time: 7 hrs. 10 minutes.
Audie Award Winners
If you are looking for your next great read, why not try a prize winner? The Audio Publishers Association (APA) will present their Audie Awards in New York City on March 4, 2019. The prestigious event is best known as a gathering of authors, narrators, and publishers with 24 competitive categories being awarded throughout the evening.
The 2019 judging panel includes Ron Charles, Book Critic for The Washington Post; Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation; and Linda Holmes, Host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. Also included will be authors and audiobook narrators recognized for their contributions to the most talked about audiobooks of the year: Sally Field, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Leslie Odom, Jr., The Beastie Boys, Carey Mulligan, Stockard Channing, Emma Thompson, Rosario Dawson, Joanne Froggatt, Michael C. Hall, Stanley Tucci, Amber Tamblyn, D.L. Hughley and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Here is a list of the finalists for 2019’s audiobook of the year awards.
Finalists for 2019 AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR
Beastie Boys Book, DB 92993, by Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz,. Story of the influential hip-hop band by two of the group's founding members. Covers the members' friendship and career from their seminal 1986 debut album Licensed to Ill through the 2012 death of member Adam Yauch. Includes guest essays by Amy Poehler, Spike Jonze, and others. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
Calypso, BR 22314 and DB 91172, written and narrated by David Sedaris. A collection of autobiographical essays from the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day (BR 20805 and DB 50514) that uses humor to cover topics ranging from prosaic to whimsical to tragic. In "Now We are Five" Sedaris tackles the topic of his sister's suicide. Strong language. 2018.
Children of Blood and Bone, BR 22258 and DB 90928, by Tomi Adeyemi, narrated by Bahni Turpin. Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic and maji to the land, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2018.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark, DB 90637, by Michelle McNamara. The late author's lifelong interest in true crime culminated in investigating the never-identified serial-killing rapist who plagued California in the seventies and eighties, whom she dubbed the Golden State Killer. This detailed telling of what she learned was completed posthumously by her researcher. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2018.
Check our website at https://dbs.fldoe.org/Library in the Reading Room section for the winner, and for more book lists and reviews! Contact Maureen the librarian directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, and recommendations on all things book related... Book club selection suggestions, book list needs, series requests, or the like!
NFB Newsline Online is the newest and most exciting way of accessing your favorite content. You can read it on the Web, download it to your digital talking book player or to a portable MP3 player, or you can have the publications and TV listings read to you over your computer using the same functions as with traditional, phone-based, NFB-NEWSLINE.
Q. How can I sign up to read the papers online?
A. Firstly, you must be an NFB-NEWSLINE® subscriber. To subscribe, please complete an application form found on the website at http://www.nfbnewslineonline.org/signup.htm.
Q. I am already a NFB-Newsline subscriber; am I subscribed to NFB-NEWSLINE Online?
Q. What can I do on NFB-NEWSLINE Online?
A. You can read all of the papers and magazines, access state-specific information, and view the TV listings that are available on the service. To learn about these exciting initiatives just click on these links, available on every page: Web News On Demand, NFB-NEWSLINE in Your Pocket, and Podable News.
Q. I’m having problems with using a feature of NFB-NEWSLINE Online. Where can I go for help?
A. You can call us at (866) 504-7300 or e-mail the NFB-NEWSLINE team at email@example.com. When contacting us, please provide us with your identification codes and clearly state your question or the problem you are experiencing.
Friends of Library Access, Inc.
Where would we be without our Friends? They do so much to support the Braille and Talking Books Library, our volunteers and our patrons. They also underwrite and participate actively in advocacy and outreach activities which publicize the Library’s services and educate the public about disability-related issues. Want to join the Friends? Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their website at www.friendsoflibraryaccessinc.org.