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South Dakota State Library
MacKay Building
800 Governors Dr.
Pierre, SD 57501

1-605-773-6962 (FAX)
(SD Only)

Hours: Mon-Fri
8 am - 5 pm CT
7 am - 4 pm MT

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Braille & Talking Book Program | Newsletters | Winter 2015

Prairie Trails Newsletter Header

Volume 10, Issue 4 | Winter 2015
PDF download PDF Download, MP3 download MP3 Download

Inside this issue:

surveyTwo important events are coming up:

FIRST — It is time for the Braille and Talking Book Library to ask you for your opinions about the services that we provide to you. In about a month, you will be receiving a short survey that will take you less than 10 minutes to complete. Some of you will receive a printed copy in the mail and some of you will receive an electronic copy by email. Please take the time to complete this survey. It will help us to provide the best services possible in the future.

join book club

SECOND — Beginning this spring, we will launch a book discussion club. The club will meet by phone. There will be more details in the next newsletter. If you are interested in talking about books and would like to join the discussion, call 1800-423-6665 and tell your Reader Advisor.

Keep Reading!

Games and Activities Available For Check Out

by Lynda Lowin,
Educational Materials Coordinator

Have family and friends visiting for the holidays and wish you could create lifelong memories of shared fun and games?

The Braille and Talking Book Library has these fun items that you can check out year round. Consider checking them out to play at your holiday gatherings. Limited availability of each item, so call today!

Tic Tac Toe game

"Tic-Tac-Toe": The game can be played on a large Velcro Board. It consists of Velcro-backed pieces, Tic-Tac-Toe grids and a large Velcro covered board.

"Take Away Game": This game is for ages 6 and up. The object of the game is to take away all the opponent's pieces. Kit includes game board with spinner, which is marked with braille and large type numbers, 36 magnetic game pieces. Instructions included. *Contains small pieces.

games of squares

Games of Squares: For ages 5 and Up. The Games of Squares accommodates a variety of common board games, as well as some original games. The game pieces incorporate color contrast and distinctive textures and shapes that can be easily discriminated by children, students, and adults with visual impairments and blindness. Choose to play: Tic-Tac-Toe, Trading Places, Square It, Zigzag, Checkers, Lucky Roll, and Corner Chase. Instructions included.

Brain quest game

"Brain Quest" (Twin Vision Format**) This is a very popular, commercially-available quiz game series. Each 2 volume set features 1000 questions and answers about the topic. It will challenge you, friends, and family. There are 4 topics available. (** Twin vision format means that each page is readable in braille and large print.)

The following are four editions of the popular Workman publishing quiz game series "Brain Quest" 1,000 Questions and Answers. These games are recommended for ages 9 years and up.

  • American History — Pilgrims, Presidents & Pioneers- Civil War to Space Exploration, Milestones and America's Best
  • English — Dangling Participles & Iambic Pentameter, Word Play & Letter Perfect
  • Geography — Countries & Continents, Waterways, Resources, Climates & Populations
  • Science — Black Holes & Electrons, The Environment, Dinosaurs & DNA

TVB-Twin Vision Children's Books

by Lynda Lowin,
Educational Materials Coordinator

We have over 200 titles available. These books have the original print pages, overlaid with a clear plastic page containing braille for use by sighted and braille readers. A few of the titles available include:

Call your Reader advisor for more titles.

In the Fall Issue we began featuring a staff person and what their job entails in getting a book from the shelf to your mailbox. This month we will feature Josh Easter our Equipment and Audio Production Manager.

Behind the Scenes

In the Spotlight: Josh Easter

Josh Easter is our Equipment and Audio Production Manager. He is in charge of our talking book machines, magazine collection, and our local recording program and volunteers.

Each morning Josh receives returned talking book machines, checks them in from patron records, and lets the reader advisors know what has been returned so they can take it from there.

Josh Easter, Equipment and Audio Production Manager

Josh sends defective machines to our in-state repair site and supplies them with training resources and machine parts for repairs.

He prepares machines and accessories so they are ready to send out as needed.

Josh prints cards for mailing the equipment (talking book machines and machine accessories), makes sure machines are working and everything is included, puts them in the mail carts to be sent out, and checks them out on the computer record.

He also is in charge of magazines and newsletters.

Josh works with Mike Smith, B&TB Library Technician who assists with getting the serials processed, duplicated, and sent to patrons.

Josh prints mail cards for the magazines and newsletters, pulls them from the shelf, checks them out, and drops them in the mailbags.

Josh Easter in recording studio

Josh narrates the audio version of this newsletter, and works with Mike to get the audio duplicated on digital cartridges and sent out. Josh also sends out the email version of the newsletter to those who prefer that format.

Josh is in charge of our South Dakota local recording program. He trains and coordinates volunteers, creates training materials, and works to ensure they have all they need for their recording efforts in our recording studios in Pierre, Sioux Falls and Yankton.

Josh works with Mike Smith on post recording production of locally recorded books to make them available to patrons.

You may also occasionally get Josh on the phone as he helps out when the reader advisors are out of the office or busy.

talking book recording studio in Pierre

You may locate Josh in the machine room, recording room, or at his desk. He is a very busy person and has an important job in getting a machine or magazine to you.

Update on Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

By Marcia Kaup,
Reader Advisor

Some Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets and the Fire Phone can use the BARD Mobile app. If you download the app and it won't work that indicates the device isn't compatible. Most tablets manufactured in 2013 or after should work with the app. If you would like a complete list of known Kindle & Kindle Fire compatible tablets, send an email to Email and the list will be sent to you.

Version 1.0.2 of the BARD Mobile app was recently released for Android devices running OS

4.1 or later and contains several bug fixes. If you are having problems with the Android BARD Mobile app, delete the app you are using and download the newest app from the Google Play Store.

Version 1.1 of the BARD Mobile for Apple devices running 4.3 or later iOS was recently released and is available at the App Store. Not only can NLS patrons download talking books and magazines directly to their devices, now the Apple BARD Mobile app is capable of downloading Braille. A refreshable Braille display is required to read the downloaded Braille materials. The user guide is available in the Help section of the app and online in HTML format at

All BARD Mobile apps require an active BARD account. If you don't know if you have registered for BARD or if you have questions regarding BARD please contact Marcia at 1-800-423-6665, press 1 and then press 2.

The BARD Mobile app for iOS devices, version 1.1, includes the following features:

  • Built-in sleep timer
  • New setting that keeps device from sleeping while download is in progress
  • Add to wish list directly from details screen
  • Enhanced Braille search function
  • Improved VoiceOver hints and labels
  • New Braille shortcut key
  • Improved Magic Tap response
  • Works with iOS 9

Do you know someone who…

  • Cannot read for long periods of time?
  • Has vision but struggles to hold a book?
  • Uses a magnifying glass to read?
  • Cannot hold a book or turn pages?

They all qualify for the Braille and Talking Book Library Program. We are not only for people with vision loss or who are totally blind. The guidelines of the National Library Service (NLS) states:

"NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page."

If you have a friend, neighbor or family member who has one of the issues listed above, they qualify for the program. Please encourage them to call us at 1-800-423-6665 and we can explain the services or sign them up for the service.

Mailing cards now have "Due Dates"

With an update to the computer system, we are able to put the due date on each mailing card. The due date is located on the line above and to the right of your name and address.

Mailing card example with due date circled in red

The books are checked out for a six week period. We hope this new feature will help you return your book in a timely manner.

Tips for Better Service

Did you know your library service can be forwarded to your winter address? Please call your Reader Advisor in advance with your change of address and the date you will be leaving. Keep in mind that it will take longer for your books to reach you. Remember to notify us two weeks before returning to South Dakota so we can switch your address back home.

If you do not wish to have books sent to you while you are away, please call your Reader Advisor so we can place a hold on your books and magazines. Remember to notify us when you return so we can resume your service.

Getting Books you Don't Like?

By Marcia Kaup,
Reader Advisor

In the past you walked into a library and chose books by the cover. You didn't always know what the content was. If you didn't like the book, you returned it to the library without reading it and no questions were asked. You are not walking into a library now and, unless you are choosing your own books, we WANT to know if you don't like a book and why! Please call or email your reader advisor and let them know! It will help you AND the Reader Advisors to get books sent to you that you will like!

What Does Your Machine Do?

Digital Machine with Cartridge

If you like to switch back and forth between books, the machine will start reading your book right where you left off when you reinsert the cartridge.

You do not have to rewind your books. It is done automatically.

The machine knows what books you have already read. If you insert a book title that you have previously read, the machine will say "end of book". Want to read it again? Just press the "stop/play" button twice and it will take you to the beginning of the story.

If it is more convenient for you to keep the machine plugged in all the time, it will not hurt the player.

If you have questions about your machine, contact your Reader Advisor at 1-800-423-6665.

Dakota dreams book cover

South Dakota Collection

The following books have been added to the South Dakota Collection. Please call your Reader Advisor if you would like to order any of the following titles.

"Dakota Dreams: Fannie Sabra Howe's Own Story 1881-1884" by Janet Howe Townsley
In the summer of 1881, opportunity beckoned from Dakota Territory, and a Wisconsin family-the Howes-followed their dreams west. A true story based on young Fannie Sabra Howe's diary, Dakota Dreams paints a vivid picture of the family's first summer on the prairie.

gold in black hills book cover"Gold in the Black Hills" by Watson Parker
In this classic account of the Black Hills gold rush of 1874-1879, Watson Parker weaves a delightful and authoritative guide out of the chaotic and complex history of early settlement. Beginning with a review of the geography and early exploration of the area, Parker chronicles the initial rush during the summer of 1875 as well as the subsequent rushes deeper into the Central and Northern Hills, describing the impact on American Indians who called the Black Hills home. He describes life on the trails to the mines as well as in the mining towns and discusses hard-rock mining and early milling.

Kids News

Would you like to participate in one of the following programs?

The Braille and Talking Book Library is making the Prairie Bud, Prairie Pasque and YARP Program available to our readers who qualify. Below is information on the program and where to obtain the list of books.

Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque Awards

Voting for this year's Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque Awards is now open. Several of the titles have been produced in audio so you may participate in the program in your age division. The Braille and Talking Book Library can submit your vote in all of the age divisions listed below.

Voting Period:
The reading of Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque nominees officially begins in the fall with each new school year.

Any South Dakota student in grades K-2 for Prairie Bud and grades 3-5 for Prairie Pasque may participate in voting on an annual basis.

List of books:
For books in your age division go to:

Ordering books:

Voting Procedures:
The student may cast a ballot for any or all books from the list that they think deserve to win in the Prairie Bud division. In the Prairie Pasque they may rank 1 to 3 with 3 being the highest. They may rate as many books as they wish.

To Cast Your Ballot:
Call the library and ask for Mary or email her at Email with your vote

The Awards voting begins on October 1 and concludes April 1. Winning titles are announced during National Library Week in April.

YARP voting now open

The 2015/16 voting is now open to all middle school and senior high readers. To qualify to vote, teens read books from the list and give it a star rating of 1 to 5, 5 being best. Teenagers may vote for as many books as they would like. One winner is selected from the Middle School List and another winner from the High School list. Voting closes April 1st.

To see the list of books available for voting go to:

Ordering books:

To vote for your favorite books:

Please note:
The list of books may have a status of "in process" at the web site. The status will be updated with a book number (DBS, DBC or DB) as these books become available. Be sure to check the site frequently for updates. As soon as the book has a DB or DBS number you may order these.

Winning books in the Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque along with the YARP books will be published in a future newsletter.

Holiday Closings

The Staff at the Braille and Talking Book Library would like to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday Season.

It has been a pleasure working with you in 2015 and we look forward to serving you in 2016.

Please note the library will be closed on the following days. If you would like to leave us a phone message we will contact you after the holiday. Please plan your book requests accordingly. You may want to order extra books before hand to cover the following days:

December 24: Closing at noon

December 25: Christmas Day

January 1: New Year's Day

January 18: Martin Luther King Day

The Prairie Trails Newsletter is our means of communication with all patrons of the Braille and Talking Book Program. The Prairie Trails Newsletter is made available on audio and also in braille, in large print, or on a diskette upon request and is posted on our website.

If you have any questions or comments you would like to address, or wish to request this newsletter in an alternative format, please contact the SD Braille and Talking Book Program.

South Dakota Braille & Talking Book Program
800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501

Email: Email Link to BTB

Phone: 1-800-423-6665

The SD Braille & Talking Book Program does not endorse any service or product listed in this newsletter.

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