Inside this Issue

Notes from the Assistant State Librarian, Steven Buras

Winter is coming!

How quickly a year in life passes us by. As a child, life seemed to stand still, but as an adult, years go by in the blink of an eye. As I reflect back on 2018, I continue to think about how far we have come, yet how much more we can still do to provide the best for all of our patrons in South Dakota.

However, I am very pleased with all of the progress and additions made this year and looking ahead to many new additions in 2019. We had successful Winter and Summer reading programs for the youth. Looking ahead to 2019, we will be adding two new recording studios: one in Rapid City and one in Vermillion. This will allow us to recruit more volunteers to read our local materials; getting them faster to the patrons we serve. We will also be adding to our Audio Description DVD collection - making over 500 titles available to our patrons. Also, we will be publishing a Biennial report that will encompass the past two fiscal years. It will include many statistics which I feel everyone will find beneficial.

Winter is coming. Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.


Steven Buras

Tips for better service

Please keep the box and Styrofoam inserts that we mail to you. They are made specifically for mailing digital talking book machines and have a mail card that can be flipped over to mail the machine back to us. We cannot send empty boxes through the mail as the post office does not allow that. Please keep that box.

Mailing using "Free Matter for the Blind"

Q. How do you return the talking book player when you don't have the box it came in?
A. You can mail the talking book player back in any box it will fit in. Make sure to jot down the address that is on the bottom of the player before packing it up! Add some packing materials to protect the machine during shipment. Seal up the box and write the B&TBL address in the appropriate area. Write "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND" where postage normally goes and mail it back.

If your postman questions the contents, open the box and show him/her what is inside. There is embossment above the speaker that says "LIBRARY OF CONGRESS" and "NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE FOR THE BLIND AND PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED"

The Blind and Physically Handicapped should be enough to make your postman believe it can be mailed back using FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND when in a box other than the one it was sent out in.

If not, take the box home and call us to ask for an OFFICIAL label to be sent that can be taped to the top of the box.

Q. What else can be mailed Free Matter for the Blind?
A. The completed order forms that are used to order books from the Talking Book Topics bimonthly magazine catalog. Write your name and address on the order form and put it in an envelope. Tuck the flap of the envelop inside but DO NOT SEAL the envelope!

Q. What NOT to mail using FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND?
LETTERS OR NOTES in a mailing container for braille or audio books! If you need to tell us something either call or mail a letter to us using postage.

Letters cannot be mailed to the SD Braille & Talking Book Library by free matter unless they are TYPED in 14-point font. Letters cannot be handwritten!

If in doubt of what can and cannot be mailed FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND please call the library. We will do our best to answer your questions.

Marcia Kaup, B&TBL Reader Advisor

NLS Updates

Magazine news

The National Library Service (NLS) has recently added Reader's Digest to its selection of audio magazines, beginning with the November 2018 issue. It was previously produced by American Printing House for the Blind (APH). For those who have already been reading this magazine, you may notice that the color of the mailing container will change from yellow to red.

If you would like to subscribe to Reader's Digest or another publication, please call the library at 1-800-423-6665 (or local 605-773-3131 ), option 1. Many regional interest magazines are also available from our library; other magazines are available through BARD, so let us know if you'd like to download books and magazines using a computer or a mobile smart device.

Unrated audiobooks

In order to rapidly increase the number of book titles available to patrons, the NLS (National Library Service) began a program to modify commercially produced audiobooks to be compatible with NLS standards and equipment. Through this process, the NLS has increased its book production to 3,000 or so new titles per year, up from 2,000 titles. But what NLS cannot do is to search through each book looking for strong language, violence, or descriptions of sex. Thus these books are considered to be 'unrated' and the annotation in the title record will so indicate. Unfortunately, you, the patron, won't know if an unrated book actually contains strong language, violence or descriptions of sex. To many of you, that's ok. But to many others, that is not ok. For those who are uncomfortable with an unrated book, there is a special exclusion available which will prevent an unrated book from automatically being sent to you. Please contact your reader advisor and ask that the unrated exclusion be checked. You can always override this exclusion by requesting a specific book that may be unrated, and only for that request.

However, a group of volunteers across the country are reviewing each new unrated audiobook and assigning specific ratings. Eventually all of the unrated books will be rated.

Tech tips: Talking Book Machine

Verbosity of your player:

The audio book player is designed to verbalize the functions associated to the various buttons, such as "volume up" or "fast forward" etc. To some this may become annoying and wish there could be less wordiness. You can thus reduce the wordiness of the player's announcements by using this method:

  1. Remove any cartridge that may be in the player.
  2. Press and hold simultaneously the Fast Forward button and the Speed Down button for two seconds.
  3. The player will give the message "reduced verbosity" which indicates that some of the wordiness has been reduced.
  4. To return to normal operations, simultaneously press and hold the Fast Forward and Speed Down buttons for two seconds. A message will play stating "normal verbosity."


Bookshelf is a feature of the audio book player which allows you to play digital cartridges that have more than one book on the cartridge. In general, a cartridge can hold up to ten books. Bookshelf is available on both player models: the standard DS1 and the advanced DA1. Knowing how bookshelf works is essential to take advantage of the future duplication-on-demand method of distributing audio books. Follow the following directions to use bookshelf:

  1. Enter Bookshelf mode by Inserting a multi-book cartridge into the player and then press and hold the Play/Stop button for two seconds. The player will then announce the number of books on the cartridge and the title of the book currently selected.
  2. You can also have the player announce the titles of the other books on the cartridge by pressing the Rewind or Fast Forward buttons.
  3. After selecting the book, exit the Bookshelf mode by pressing the Play/Stop button. The player will remember which book was selected even if the cartridge is removed from the player.
  4. On the standard DS1 player, the User Guide will always be the first book listed on the cartridge.

Descriptive videos for the holidays

Check out these Christmas titles from our collection of DVDs and Blu-rays with descriptive audio. These videos are especially for the enjoyment of people who are blind or visually impaired. Short verbal descriptions of action or key visual scenes in a program, such as the setting, costumes, and facial expressions, are provided to add context. The descriptions are inserted into pauses within a program's dialogue. Ask your reader advisor how to sign up to receive these or other titles. We have a catalog available of all current titles in our collection. You will need a DVD or Blu-ray player to play these titles.

  • "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" DVR 351 (Blu-Ray only) PG
  • "The Christmas Colt" DVD 252 (DVD) Not rated (family friendly)
  • "A Christmas Story" DVD 104; DVR 626 (DVD and Blu-Ray) PG
  • "Arthur Christmas" DVD 113 (DVD) PG
  • "A Christmas Carol" DVD 137 (DVD) PG
  • "Almost Christmas" DVD 473 (DVD) PG-13
  • "Love The Coopers" DVD 540 (DVD) PG-13
  • "Office Christmas Party" DVD 555 (DVD) R
  • "The Best Man Holiday" DVD 246 (DVD) R

South Dakota Collection

The following book(s) have been added to the South Dakota Collection. They are written by a South Dakota author or have some connections to South Dakota. Please call your Reader Advisor if you would like to order the following title.

"Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor"

by James D. McLaird

BOOK COVER: Hugh Glass: Grizzly Survivor by James D. McLaird

The most famous grizzly-bear attack in the history of the American West took place in 1823 and left Glass struggling for life. Setting out on a journey of revenge and forgiveness, he eventually crawled 200 miles across the plains back to civilization. The story of Hugh Glass has provided fertile ground for articles, books, and film, but the real man remains much of a mystery.

McLaird, a historian, traces the few existing threads of Glass's life and delves into the role of popular history in making a legend. He also looks at the grizzly bear itself, examining popular sentiments towards the creature that led to its near-extinction.

Had it not been for a chance encounter with a grizzly bear along the Grand River in what is now northwestern South Dakota, says McLaird, Hugh Glass would barely warrant a passing note in fur-trade history.

Winter reading program: February 2019

There's a whole world of stories out there to discover so get ready for the SD Braille and Talking Book Library's 2019 Winter Reading Program! The program is open to all patrons Birth to 19 years. Participants asked to read at least 20 minutes every day during the month of February. A reading chart and stickers are sent to each participant. To be eligible for the grand prize, just put a sticker on the chart each day you read at least 20 minutes and return the completed chart no later than March 7, 2019.

Invitation letters with a paper registration form and an email with the link to the online registration will be sent out in January.

Please direct any questions to

Josh Easter, Equipment and Audio Production Manager: 1-605-773-3131 Option 1, 4; 1-800-423-6665 (SD Only) or by email

Large Print and Braille Textbooks for the 2019/2020 school year

It's not too soon to start thinking about Large Print and Braille Textbooks for the 2019/20 school year. Order forms can be downloaded from our website.

January 15 is the deadline to guarantee delivery before the Fall 2019 first day of classes. Orders must be complete to qualify for the guarantee.

Please direct questions to:

Lynda Lowin, Educational Materials Coordinator/ Reader Advisor: 1-605-773-3131 Option 1, 1; 1-800-423-6665 (SD Only) or by email

A big next step for the NLS eReader project

Just as it has provided audio playback equipment since the 1930s, NLS has long been interested in providing an affordable, easy-to-use braille eReader to its patrons. In the summer of 2017, NLS took the first step toward achieving that goal when it partnered with Perkins Library to test the effectiveness of distributing digital braille files for use on eReaders. Now we are ready for the next step.

NLS has a contract in place to purchase eReaders designed specifically to read NLS braille materials. Initially, NLS will purchase enough devices to conduct a pilot project with a few network libraries. The pilot will cover all aspects of acquisition, quality assurance, distribution, cleaning and maintenance, technical support, training, media distribution, and other relevant topics. We expect the pilot to last two years.NLS is able to move ahead with this exciting project thanks to a 2016 amendment to the 1931 Pratt-Smoot Act-the NLS authorizing legislation-that now allows it to provide playback equipment in all formats, not just audio. A report by the Government Accountability Office recommended that Congress make that change.

NEW! Crossword puzzles software

crossword puzzles from american printing house

Do you enjoy doing crossword puzzles? Now individuals who are blind or visually impaired can enjoy solving crossword puzzles on their computer. This free download is compatible with most browsers and screen readers. Just log in, select a puzzle and start solving.

  • Works with desktop browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Compatible with screen readers including JAWS, NVDA, Narrator, and VoiceOver.

To download Crossword, please visit:

Note: This program is currently supported on desktop computers only.

All about BARD

BARD stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download. It is an internet-based service from the NLS that enables users to download books to their personal devices (smartphone or tablet) or for their digital talking book machine. BARD has thousands of books and magazines available for download with no waiting! Call or email us to get signed up!

In order to use BARD, a patron must have an email address and be in good standing with the library. Having some basic knowledge of computers file processes and web browsing is helpful but you don't need to have or use a computer yourself. Having a family member or friend who can help you by downloading for you also works. You don't need a computer yourself since the downloads are put on a cartridge like you already receive for your talking book machine or on a USB drive you can pick up most stores and insert into the side USB port on your talking book machine.

However, the future promises to be far more user friendly in which audio books will be automatically downloaded directly to your book player thus requiring no computer skills. The NLS is now running tests of audio book players outfitted with a Wi-Fi connection to the internet. In another five years or so these new players should become ready for general use.

BARD-Only Audiobooks

There are many commercial audiobooks that have been converted to the NLS format but are only available for download on BARD. No digital cartridges will be made for these books. A list of these download-only books is available at .

Each month new download-only books will be added to this list sorted with the newest additions on top. However, these download-only books will not be included in Talking Book Topics catalog.

BARD Mobile Troubleshooting

For users of BARD Mobile with their mobile smart devices, you may receive an error message from time to time stating that you are not authorized to read this protected book or you have exceeded the number of allowed devices. You cannot fix these errors, rather report them to your reader advisor. Please do not try to fix these by deleting the BARD mobile app and re-installing it. This will only make matters worse as all books on your device will also be deleted. Let's take a look at these one at a time:

You are not authorized to read this protected book:
This error message means that you have reached the built-in limit on the number of audio books that can be downloaded in a 30 day period with the BARD mobile app. That limit is one hundred books or magazines. Once this limit is reached, the BARD mobile app will not allow the patron to download anymore items until the next 30-day period. The NLS is quite firm in enforcing this limit. In truly exceptional circumstances where there is a bona fide reason for downloading that many books, the NLS may consider temporarily increasing this limit. For technological reasons, this limit is a necessary element of the app.
You have exceeded the number of allowed devices
The number of mobile devices allowed to be registered with a patron's BARD account is limited to five devices in a 365-day period, i.e.; annually. You will receive this error message if you try to register more than five devices. Again, this is a technological parameter built into the BARD system which the library cannot change. The only fix is to contact your reader advisor and have one or more existing devices of your choice removed from your account. Then the new device can be added.

Gifts and donations

THANK YOU on red banner.

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.

Please contact your Reader Advisor at: 1-605-773-3131 option 1; or 1-800-423-6665 (SD Only)

Donations can be sent to:

South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2294

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

Recent donations

  • $50 from Ethel Young
  • $100 from Lynette Stohr

Holiday Closings

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 one week in advance of the following holidays:

  • Monday, Dec. 24, 2018 Christmas Eve
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018 Christmas Day
  • Monday, Dec. 31, 2018 New Year's Eve
  • Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 New Year's Day

Looking forward in 2019:

  • Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 Presidents Day
  • Monday, May 27, 2019 Memorial Day
  • Thursday, July 4, 2019 Independence Day
  • Monday, Sept. 2, 2019 Labor Day
  • Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 Columbus Day
  • Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 Veterans Day
  • Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019 Thanksgiving Day
  • Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019 Christmas Day