Inside this Issue
Notes from the Editor
By Josh Easter
2023 has been a time of great change.
Reader Advisor Lynette Thum and Equipment and Audio Production Manager Josh Easter have said goodbye to long-time coworkers but are excited to welcome and train new team members.
Reader Advisor Marcia Kaup retired January 2023. We hired Abby Wright in June 2023. She works with libraries and institutions including assisted living and nursing homes and with the patrons living in institutions.
Reader Advisor and Educational Materials Coordinator Lynda Lowin retired June 2023. We hired Virginia "Ginny" Kaus Sept. 11, 2023. She works with schools, textbooks for students, children and youth, and adults whose last names begin with the letters A-G.
BTBL/ALS Manager Kate Kosior left the state June 2023. Kathleen Slocum was interim and officially became our manager Sept. 11, 2023.
After 15 years with the library as circulation technician, Mike Smith retired Sept. 9th. Jack Mortenson started Nov. 13, 2023.
Our two new reader advisors introduce themselves in the two following articles. You will hear from our new manager Kathleen Slocum and our new circulation technician Jack Mortenson in the next newsletter.
Introducing Reader Advisor, Abby Wright
Hi, I'm Abby Wright, new reader advisor with Accessible Library Services at the South Dakota State Library. If you are with a public library or nursing home or other care facility, I am here to assist you with making the best use of our library services.
I was born and raised in Pierre through 9th grade, then moved with my family to Colorado. In the Denver Metro area, for five years I worked on a national wildlife refuge in visitor services and biological sciences. Over eleven years, I wrote for a local magazine about community, arts, and culture, in part as the magazine's regular movie reviewer.
After earning my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English with a Writing concentration from Metro State University of Denver, I worked various jobs before moving to southeast Minnesota in 2018 to write grants and help with economic development in rural communities.
At the end of 2021, I came back to my first hometown with my boyfriend—also a Pierreturn—and our two sphynx cats, who feel like a warm peach and love to cuddle. In addition to time with family and friends, I enjoy nature and the arts, especially writing and music.
I look forward to discussing your reading interests and needs. To reach me, call
Option 1, 3)
or email at
Introducing Reader Advisor and Educational Materials Coordinator, Ginny Kaus
Hi, my name is Virginia "Ginny" Kaus, I am the new Reader Advisor and Educational Materials Coordinator at the SD State Library. I will be helping with adult patrons with last names beginning with A-G and working with students and schools. I am learning a lot and I am excited to gain more knowledge soon.
I am originally from Webster, SD. I graduated from NSU in 2000 with degrees in elementary education and early childhood. In 2012 I earned a minor in library science from BHSU. In 2014 I moved to Pierre. I have 10 years of experience in education and 13 ½ years of experience as a librarian. Most recently, I was the Youth Services Coordinator for Rawlins Library for a year and a half.
My husband Chris and I have a very busy 2 ½ year old daughter, Jenelle. We also have a Boston Terrier named Jasmine. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and reading.
I am very excited to be back in the library world and hope that I will be able to help you with all of your reading needs. To reach me, please call
Option 1, 1;
Option 1, 1), or email me at
Goodbye from Kate Kosior, former ALS Manager
By Kate Kosior
By the time you are reading this report, I'll be back in my native New York, having accepted a new position in a different area of librarianship. This is a time of transition for our little library too, as I am the third staff member to leave this year, following the retirements of Marcia Kaup in January and Lynda Lowin in June. I would like to take some time to reflect on my experience over the last two years with ALS.
I have always tried to live by the idea that I should leave things better than I found them; I hope I have done that in ALS. I have founded a quarterly social club, where participants have gotten to interact with their favorite authors, share their own stories, participate in contests, and get to know one another. The new summer and winter reading challenges for adults have been run very effectively by Lynette and Josh and have garnered heavy participation. I have enjoyed reading the books chosen by patrons, making goofy videos for our Facebook page, and awarding fun prizes.
I have brought NFB-NEWSLINE to the State of South Dakota to increase access to state, national, and world news. I also worked with Josh on adding a recording studio in Aberdeen and rebuilding ALS's volunteer body after the COVID pandemic.
I have had the opportunity to sit on several boards and committees, including NFB and ACB, to spread the joy of reading around the state. I was able to update our DVD collection with Lynette's expert curation and clean out a lot of older materials to free up physical space, with the assistance of the local Lions Club.
Finally, I helped advance a marketing plan to rebrand the library, making it more inclusive to all South Dakotans who struggle to read. This has included a new name for the library; an updated, easier-to-use application; renewed vigor about patron contacts; and new marketing materials and outreach opportunities.
The first of many changes to come, we have welcomed a new staff member, Abby Wright, who jumped right in in mid-June. She has been an amazing force for good in the library in a very short time as the reader advisor for our institutions and institutional patrons. I'll be keeping an eye out to see what the future brings for ALS. I know it will be amazing.
Through ALS, I have been profoundly changed: made a better librarian, employee, supervisor, and human being. Thank you all so much for supporting our library and being a part of my South Dakota adventure, an experience forever etched in me.
All my best,
Kate Kosior, June 30, 2023
Quarterly Social Club
It is time for our quarterly Social Club on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, 2pm CT/1pm MT
We will be talking about the Christmas book "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" by Cleveland Amory.
"Cat lovers will adore it!"
"It will entertain even some hard-core dog lovers."
There will be a drawing for a Holiday Basket at the conclusion, for those who have joined us.
Ask your reader advisor and start reading the book today!
Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired: a value-added program for South Dakotans
The South Dakota State Library's Accessible Library Services (ALS) partners with the Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI), one of five divisions of the South Dakota Department of Human Services, whose mission is "to enhance the quality of life for older adults and for persons with disabilities, in partnership with its stakeholders."
Aligned with that overarching mission, SBVI exists "to provide individualized rehabilitation services that result in optimal employment and independent living outcomes for citizens who are blind or visually impaired." SBVI services include job placement, independent living skills-building, career preparation, assistive technology, and low-vision services.
In late September, ALS staff members Abby, Ginny, and Josh visited SBVI at its Rapid City location, where we had the opportunity to speak with Sandy Neyhart, program manager of the Independent Living-Older Blind Services, to learn more about the organization and its services. Neyhart explained that vocational counselors and rehabilitation teachers work directly with hundreds of people around the state each year, with each staff member carrying a caseload of 50â€“60 people at a time.
SBVI receives referrals directly from individuals experiencing changes in vision, from their family members, eye doctors, or others who know people who have been diagnosed with eye disease. When individuals are determined eligible for either Rehabilitation Services or Independent Living Services, SBVI staff provide services through home or site visits, which involve evaluating and gauging the person's goals, priorities, and needs to help them achieve their employment or independent living goals.
In order to effectively assist individuals who have vision loss with vocational, educational, and long-term life skills, SBVI counselors and teachers receive new-employee training at the South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Sioux Falls. SBVI's Rehabilitation Center for the Blind's dedicated team of professionals provide instruction in orientation and mobility, Braille and other communication, home management techniques, and technology.
In addition to training SBVI clients and staff members, the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind also has a Vocational Resources program, which provides job training, vocational counseling, resume development, and general preparation for employment to individuals with low vision so they can learn new skills, build confidence, and return to work or maintain their lifestyle.
For the blind and visually impaired, adaptive devices help tremendously to achieve daily tasks, so SBVI offers various devices, with the most common being magnifiers. Regular home visits with clients also entail clear, step-by-step instructions and demonstrations on how to use and maintain these items. Clients are encouraged to learn all aspects of how to use adaptive aids and magnification, including cleaning and storage.
SBVI also implements a CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) Lease/Loan program. A CCTV, also known as an electronic video magnifier, consists of a flat HD screen with a tray underneath that moves in different directions as a camera magnifies each printed word on the screen.
"Some people can see magnified pictures or words again when they use the machine," said Neyhart.
An advanced CCTV option has the capability to magnify and read the text. This access tool, funded partially by donations, is provided by South Dakota's Independent Living Older Blind program to increase independence for people with vision loss.
Another resource for SBVI clients, the Low Vision Clinic at the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Sioux Falls, offers a variety of low-vision products people can try in the presence of a specialist. Clients also have the option to receive comprehensive low-vision examinations to determine the status of their eye disease and remaining vision. These exams help educate people about their vision and adaptive devices that will maximize their remaining vision.
In sum, SBVI's rehabilitation counselors and teachers aim to help people with vision loss become more independent, and assistance is customized to each person's goals. After regular visits have ceased, the agency administers follow-up surveys to seek feedback from those served, and SBVI staff are available to offer additional services if necessary.
To learn more about SBVI, please visit SD Division of Human Services: Division of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired , or email InfoSBVI@state.sd.us .
Do not pay postage!
Occasionally, we get items returned where the patron has paid postage.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY POSTAGE!
In the upper right-hand corner of the mailing card, on both sides of the card, it states: "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND." If you need to return something to us, please use the mail card, just flip it to the yellow side. If you do not have a mail card, ask your Reader Advisor to send you one. Or you can write the words FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND in the upper right-hand corner of the item.
If you do end up paying postage, please let us know. We can contact our USPS liaison who will then contact your post office. Take the receipt and your ID back to the post office for a refund, although we cannot guarantee you will get a refund.
All of this is further explained in USPS Publication 347 — Mailing Free Matter for Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired . Accessible Library Services has a large-print version of this brochure that we would be happy to print and send to you.
Why Public Libraries are Our Allies
By Abby Wright
Last month, I overlooked a technicality in a patron's profile and could not get a cartridge of talking books to arrive to her on time. I recruited help from the Grant County Library (Milbank), who had referred the patron. I called, introduced myself, and explained the situation to the director, who hand-delivered a couple of talking book cartridges to the patron that day so she would have books for the weekend. The director also made me aware of a nearby facility that could benefit from Accessible Library Services (ALS).
Public libraries serve our shared patrons, boots on the ground, in other ways:
- An ALS patron's talking book player may have stopped working, and that person may like to have or borrow a quick replacement.
- A patron finds the local library more geographically accessible than the South Dakota State Library (SDSL), or hours of operation are more open.
- Some patrons prefer face-to-face interaction with a librarian regarding ALS or prefer that ALS equipment goes through their library rather than directly to their residence.
- ALS patrons or their family members may drop off ALS equipment to the public library, who can then get it back to ALS in a joint effort to best serve patrons.
- If something about the patron is important for a library to share with ALS that we may not know, libraries help us keep patron records updated.
- For eligible prospective patrons wanting to try ALS, public libraries may choose to loan out equipment, and libraries are encouraged to keep basic equipment on site for demonstration and as a backup.
- Someone in the community may have developed a standard-print or reading disability such as an eye condition or illness, or someone with a standard-print or reading disability may have moved into the community and may not know about ALS. They may look to their local library as a resource or may not. Libraries can help those in need by striking up conversation about talking book players or other services and may offer eligible individuals' equipment to borrow or try.
Other libraries are the ultimate allies, so we try to maintain close working relationships with them and visit in person. Earlier in the fall when Wright and Easter exhibited with other SDSL staff at the State Fair, on the way there we visited the Hand County Library (Miller); Hyde County Library (Highmore); and Wessington Public Library, who now has ALS items available.
In late September, ALS staff members, along with other SDSL employees, attended the South Dakota Library Association (SDLA) Conference in Rapid City, where ALS interacted with around 40 librarians at our exhibit booth. On the way from Pierre, we visited Jackson County Library (Kadoka) and Haakon County Library (Philip). More information and photos from all referenced site visits can be found on our Facebook page @ALS.
As the reader advisor for public libraries in South Dakota, I most recently visited ALS's closest neighboring library, Rawlins Municipal (Pierre), who now hosts two talking book players and cartridges, and whose staff have been briefed on ALS.
We at ALS thank the libraries who are ready and eager to serve individuals who cannot see or hold standard print materials. If you'd like to host a talking book program at your library and increase your circulation statistics—or if you have other questions about ALS at your facility—please contact me, Abby Wright, at
, or by email at
Approved BARD accounts that have never been used
Over the past seventeen years, many BARD accounts that were approved have never been logged into or used.
On Monday, June 26, 2023, NLS began changing the status of these accounts to inactive in order to comply with Library of Congress security policy.
If patrons do decide one day to log into one of these accounts, network library staff will need to reactivate the account and create a new, temporary password. Patrons will then need to log into the BARD website using their temporary password and change it to one of their own choosing. Contact your reader advisor if you have questions.
Forgot your password? It's now easier than ever to reset it yourself!
- Go to nlsbard.loc.gov/ and click on "Reset your BARD password here."
- Enter your email, and press Submit.
- You will receive an email from BARD with a hyperlink in it. Click on the hyperlink to be taken to a password reset page, where you will create a new password. Pay careful attention to the password requirements and restrictions!
As always, if you need additional help, call your Reader Advisor.
International Language Books
Thanks to the Marrakesh Treaty and expanded book acquisition, NLS continues to add more international language books to the catalog than ever before. NLS is pleased to announce the current issue of the online publication International Language Quarterly (ILQ) can now be found on www.loc.gov/nls/ilq .
ILQ highlights a broad selection of international language titles recently added to the NLS collection. NLS is committed to meeting the needs of current and future patrons who wish to read in languages other than English.
Adult Summer Reading Challenge 2023
The Adult Summer Reading Challenge 2023 saw 35 patrons sign up, with 21 returning the questionnaire to be entered into the drawing. We continued last winter's theme of choosing books that were recommended by patrons, and this summer's choices drew some very strong reactions.
Remember — you never have to read a book that you do not like!
This summer's books and authors were:
- "Remarkably Bright Creatures" by Shelby Van Pelt
- "All the Light we Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr
- "Eighty-Dollar Champion" by Elizabeth Letts (who joined us for the June Social Club)
- "Verity" by Colleen Hoover
- "Mercy House" by Alena Dillon
- "Great Circle" by Maggie Shipstead
The drawing was held on Sept. 7 and the winner was Marion from DeSmet. The prize was a South Dakota State Library mug filled with fun little items. Congratulations Marion!
We will have more information about the 2024 Adult Winter Reading Challenge in the next newsletter.
Youth Summer Reading Program 2023
The 2023 summer reading program theme was "All Together Now." It was about celebrating Kindness, Friendship, and Unity and Community. The program ran eight weeks from June 4 to July 29, 2023. High Schoolers were also able to participate in the Adult Winter Reading Challenge.
Thanks to the Rapid City Evening Star Lions Club who each year continues to provide four $50 gift cards for the end of program drawing. 17 youth library patrons Birth through 19 years returned their reading charts and were entered into the end of program drawing. The winners were Blaine J, Bree F, Oe S, and Tysen W.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated!
The Library will be closed for the following holiday(s). Please plan to order your books accordingly. Keep in mind that the books you return will take longer to reach us. You may want to order extra books at least two weeks in advance of the following holidays:
- Thursday-Friday, Nov. 24-25, 2023, Thanksgiving holiday
- Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 25-26, 2023, for Christmas holiday
- Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, New Years Day
The Prairie Trails Newsletter is our means of communication with all patrons of the South Dakota Accessible Library Services. The Prairie Trails Newsletter is made available in digital audio on cartridge, or via email, and is posted on our website in large print and audio.
If you have any questions or comments, or wish to request this newsletter in an alternative format, please contact the SD Accessible Library Services.
South Dakota Accessible Library Services
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2235
1-800-423-6665 (in SD Only)
The SD ALS does not endorse any service or product listed in this newsletter.
Masthead photo of prairie grasses and pasque flower with sunrise courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism © 2019 .