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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 Library | Newsletters | Summer 2016

Prairie Trails Newsletter: South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library

Volume 11, Issue 3 | Summer 2016
PDF download PDF Download, MP3 download MP3 Download

Inside this issue:

Notes from the Assistant State Librarian Steven Buras

Editor's note:

The last day for our Interim Director, Dorothy Liegl, is July 29th. She has been with the Braille and Talking Book Library for the past 15 months. Dorothy came out of retirement to lead the program until the Assistant State Librarian position was filled. Steven Buras accepted the position and his first day was May 24. We want to thank Dorothy for her leadership and guidance these past months and welcome Steven to the Braille and Talking Book Library.

Hello to all the Prairie Trails readers!

photo of Steven Buras, Assistant State Librarian

My name is Steven Buras, and I am the new Assistant State Librarian as well as Director of our Braille and Talking Book Library. Formerly I worked as a reference librarian in South Louisiana, and recently arrived in South Dakota with my wife and 17-month old son.

I am extremely excited to be a part of the state's Braille and Talking Book Library, and I'm looking forward to making this wonderful program even better. If anyone has questions, concerns, feedback or ideas on how we can do a better job for you, please do not hesitate to let one of us know.

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Behind the Scenes

In the Spotlight: Mary Sjerven

photo of Mary Sjerven, Reader Advisor

Mary is one of the Reader Advisors. She works with our adult readers whose last names begin with A through M.

She also has the responsibility of recreational reading with the 106 juvenile and young adult readers, ages birth to 20.

This time of year she is busy with the summer reading program. It takes 6 months from the beginning planning stages to the completion of the program each year. Mary uses the 20/24/7 theme which promotes a minimum of twenty minutes of reading every day, seven days a week and hopefully makes reading a routine in their lives. At the conclusion of the program the participants have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card in their age division.

photo of intern Stacia and Mary preparing mailers for summer readers

During the year Mary also encourages the kids to participate in the Prairie Bud, Prairie Pasque, and the YARP Programs which include kindergarten through high school age youth.

Another duty is editor of this newsletter. It is produced four times a year and provides information on the latest services of the Braille and Talking Book Library. Along with regular features, it lists the latest books added to the South Dakota collection. If you are not currently receiving this newsletter and would like to subscribe, call your Reader Advisor at 1-800-423-6665.

Mary keeps busy promoting reading and providing information to the readers of the Braille and Talking Book Library.

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How are Books Selected for the NLS Collection?

Have you ever wondered how the National Library Service selects books to be added to the collection? They have a collection development policy that is very similar to the policies that most public libraries have. The following are the key components:

  1. All books should have at least two favorable reviews from a reliable source such as Library Journal or Kirkus Reviews.
  2. The book must be of a nature that it can clearly be presented in Braille or recorded format (for example, books that are heavily dependent on the illustrations or pictures are not good choices)
  3. They must be copyrighted in the United States; foreign titles present copyright issues that must be solved before they can be recorded.

The collection provided closely resembles a medium size public library that has been developed to meet the reading interests of a diverse group of readers. Hopefully, there are many books that are of interest to you.

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Where are my Books?

Do you ever feel like you are not receiving all your books? If that happens to you, here are some possible reasons that this could happen:

  • You have reached the limit of books allowed. Remember books in transit still count as checked out to you.
  • You have caught up with all the books written by your favorite authors.
  • You have overdue items.
  • You are set up as "request only" but have not given us new titles to add to your account.
  • Your desired preferences are too limited.

If you feel that there is a problem, please call your Reader Advisor at 1-800-423-6665 and she will help you.

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High-Volume Player and Headphones

The National Library Service (NLS) has developed a high-volume version of the digital talking book machine (DTBM) with a headset. It is available as a standard or advanced model that has been programed to have an amplifier volume up to 120 db. It can be issued only by NLS and will bear a warning label. The high-volume feature only works with the set of stereo headphones that NLS provides. The pairing replaced the amplifier and headset accessory. To receive a high-volume player and headset, a patron must provide certification of hearing impairment by a physician or audiologist. An eligible patron may obtain a high-volume player and headset by requesting an application from your Reader Advisor or downloading the application from NLS at: (PDF). The application can be sent to NLS via email at or faxed at (202)707-0712.

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Did you know…

What do you do when you meet a person with a guide dog?

  • Guide dogs are working; please don't pet or distract them while they're in harness.
  • Do not feed a guide dog. A guide dog's balanced diet and feeding times are strictly monitored for good health and reliable schedules.
  • Want to assist a person with a guide dog? Ask first. If your help is accepted, offer your left elbow. Please do not grab the guide dog, leash, harness, or the person‘s arm.
  • According to federal and state laws, guide dogs are allowed access everywhere the public is allowed, including restaurants and grocery stores.

For more information on "Guiding Eyes For The Blind" visit

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Tips for Better Service

Summer is a very busy time of the year. Many of you enjoy working in flower beds or other outdoor hobbies. Have you considered charging your machine and taking it with you while doing these activities? Weeding the garden will be more fun while you listen to a good mystery or romance.

We encourage you to keep reading over the summer months. If you decide to receive fewer books during the summer, call the library. Be sure to call us in the fall to increase your books. If you choose to stop the service and have books checked out, please return the books but not the player.

Remember, if you have two or more overdue items the system will automatically block you from receiving anything new. This includes magazines, DVD's and books. We may renew books one time as long as there are extra copies available.

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Readers Digest

American Printing House (APH) will begin distributing recordings of "Readers Digest" on digital cartridge rather than on cassette. They will not immediately cease distribution on cassette. If you would like to order the magazine in digital format call your Reader Advisor. They will put you on a waiting list. Once you start receiving the magazine in digital you may return your cassette player.

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Transition to Unified English Braille (UEB)

As of January 4, 2016, UEB has become the official braille literary code for the U.S. This is the first major change to the familiar six dot pattern since the 1930s. A majority of the changes have to do with the discontinuation of some contractions, rules for spacing and formatting, and the use of symbols such as @ and #. All books being added to the NLS braille collection are now in UEB. If you would like a copy of the NLS Braille handout "Frequently Used UEB Symbols," call your Reader Advisor.

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Gifts and Donations

Gifts and bequests that are donated to the Braille & Talking Book Library are used to enhance the services that we provide. We appreciate the generosity of those that give and we miss those patrons who have been honored with memorials. All donations are considered a charitable donation and therefore are tax-deductible. When making a donation, please include the address of those to be notified for memorials or donations in honor of a special occasion or person.

The donations that you make are used to help us better serve our patrons. Donations have been used to purchase descriptive dvds, celebrate the work of our volunteers, honor our readers who are 100 years old or older, and support reading programs such as the summer reading program. You can designate a specific purpose for your gift. If you have any questions, call your reader advisor at 1-800-423-6665.

Donations can be sent to:
SD Braille and Talking Book Library
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501

Please make checks payable to the SD Braille and Talking Book Library. Thank you for helping to enhance and improve library services.

    • From Ethel Yung
    • Evening Star Lions Club of Rapid City

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South Dakota Collection

The following book has been added to the South Dakota Collection. It is written by a South Dakota author or has some connections to South Dakota. Please call your Reader Advisor if you would like to order the following title.

book cover image
"Great Upon the Mountain: The story of Crazy Horse, legendary mystic and warrior"
By Vinson Brown

HOKA HEY: It Is A Good Time To Die! This was the war cry used by Crazy Horse, to inspire his doomed people in their final battles against the white invaders.

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Kids News:

The Results are in!

With over 1700 votes, the winners of this year's YARP/SD Teen Choice Awards are:

book cover of el deafo book cover of the crossover

    • El Deafo by Cece Bell
      DBS4787 in process
    • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • book cover of half bad book cover of divided we fall


Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque

book cover of out foxed book cover of invisible boy

    With 1624 votes, the first place winners are:
    • Winner:
      "Outfoxed" by Mike Twohy
    • Runner up:
      "The Invisible Boy" by Trudy Ludwig

book cover of duke book cover of escape from mr lemon cello's library

    With 1215 votes, the winner is:
    • Winner:
      "Duke" by Kirby Larson
      DBS4784 in process
    • Runner up:
      "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" by Chris Grabenstein

If you did not vote this year, plan to participate in next year's program. There will be more information in the fall edition of this newsletter.


Have you signed up for the Summer Reading Program?

It's not too late to do so. Call the library at 1-800-423-6665 and press option 1 and the number 1 again to reach Mary. She can assist you in filling out the application over the phone.

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Holiday Closings

Please note the library will be closed on the following days. If you need assistance please leave a phone message and we will contact you the following day. It is helpful to plan your book requests accordingly.

  • July 4 - Fourth of July
  • September 5 - Labor Day
  • October 10 - Native American Day/Columbus Day

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The Prairie Trails Newsletter is our means of communication with all patrons of the Braille and Talking Book Library. 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 Library.

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

Email: Email Link to BTB

Phone: 1-800-423-6665

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

The South Dakota State Library provides leadership for innovation and excellence in libraries and services to state government.

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