Inside this Issue

Notes from the Assistant State Librarian, Steven Buras

This year marks 50 years of providing braille and talking book library services to our patrons in South Dakota. The original dedication occurred on Jan. 28, 1969 and we were fully operational on Feb. 1, 1969. To celebrate, we will be compiling various historic articles and pictures that will be distributed in a special edition newsletter at the end of the year. We thank all of you who are or in some way have been a part of our family for the past 50 years. It is a great time to reflect on how far we have come.

If you would like to share any special memories of using the talking book service through the years or share what the library service means to you either in writing or by a short phone interview:

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

Steven Buras

SD BTBL — Celebrating 50 years of service!

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Braille and Talking Book Library in South Dakota. Governor Kristi Noem proclaimed Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, Braille and Talking Book Library Day as that was the day the library was originally dedicated in 1969. We were fully operational on Feb. 1, 1969.

The South Dakota BTBL, headquartered in the State Library in Pierre, provides free library services to eligible individuals in communities across the state in accessible formats including braille and digital audio talking books mailed to patrons for free, or downloadable from the NLS BARD website and BARD mobile app.

Libraries for blind adults were established by an Act of Congress in 1931. The law has been amended four times: in 1952 to include blind children, in 1962 to include music materials, in 1966 to include individuals with physical impairments who are unable to read standard print, and in 1981 to include individuals with a reading disability which is based on a physical dysfunction.

During the 1960's many Braille and Talking Book Libraries were established using Library Service and Construction Act federal funds. One of the items this federal money could be used for was establishing braille and talking book regional libraries. The South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library was established in 1969 using LSCA funds.

braille and talking book staff holding executive proclamation from Governor
SD Braille and Talking Book Library staff on Feb. 1, 2019. Left to Right: Marcia Kaup, Josh Easter, Connie Sullivan, Lynette Thum, Mike Smith, Lynda Lowin, Steven Buras

Link to State Library page with 50th anniversary executive proclamation photo and text

One Book South Dakota

Each year the South Dakota Humanities Council selects a book that they encourage all South Dakotans to read and discuss. The program, One Book South Dakota, encourages many local communities to host discussions about this One Book.

neither wolf nor dog book cover with author kent nerburn with south dakota center of the book logo

The 2019 One Book South Dakota is "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" by Minnesota author Kent Nerburn. In this 1996 Minnesota Book Award winner, Kent Nerburn draws the reader deep into the world of an Indian elder known only as Dan. It's a world of Indian towns, white roadside cafes, and abandoned roads that swirl with the memories of the Ghost Dance and Sitting Bull. Readers meet vivid characters like Jumbo, a 400-pound mechanic, and Annie, an 80-year-old Lakota woman living in a log cabin. Threading through the book is the story of two men struggling to find a common voice. Neither Wolf nor Dog takes readers to the heart of the Native American experience. As the story unfolds, Dan speaks eloquently on the difference between land and property, the power of silence, and the selling of sacred ceremonies. Perhaps his most well-known book, "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" was made into a feature film in 2016. DB071434

South Dakota Collection

The following books have been added to the South Dakota Collection. Most are written by a South Dakota author or have some connections to South Dakota. Please contact your Reader Advisor to order the following titles.

"In the Belly of Jonah: A Liv Bergen Mystery"

by Sandra Brannan
Book cover of In the Belly of Jonah

"In the Belly of Jonah" is a fast-paced mystery with a likable protagonist and an intricately woven narrative brimming with bizarre yet believable twists. The first in a series, the book expertly lays the groundwork for Liv Bergen, amateur sleuth, and her love interest, FBI Agent Streeter Pierce.

Liv becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of Jill Brannigan, a summer intern at the limestone mine Liv manages near Fort Collins, Colorado (a breathtaking setting that unwittingly becomes an accessory to crime). In doing so, she inadvertently puts her friends, her family, and herself at risk of being swallowed in the belly of a madman bloated with perverse appetites for women, surrealistic art, and renown.

Perhaps a bit too daring (and at times irreverent) for her own good, "Boots," as Liv's eight siblings call her, soon realizes she has a knack for outsmarting and tracking down the Venus de Milo murderer--and she enjoys it! As the gripping plot of "In the Belly of Jonah" unfolds, Liv Bergen takes her place alongside the best female crime-solvers as a woman with smarts, self-confidence, and intuitive savvy. This is the first installment in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series and the next book in the series is currently in the process of being recorded by our volunteer narrator. DBS004833

Dancing with Colonels: A Young Woman's Adventures in Wartime Turkey letters

by Marjorie Havreberg
Book cover of dancing with colonels

Struck with the desire to see and do more with her life, a young South Dakota woman left the family home in Redfield to go to work for Senator Peter Norbeck in Washington, D.C. When the position ended, she quickly found she had grown accustomed to the bright lights of the capital and soon joined the War Department as a civilian secretary. With World War II in full swing, she found herself traversing the globe en route to Ankara, Turkey.

Once in Turkey, ostensibly a neutral country during the war, Marjorie Havreberg joined the glamorous world of military attaches, embassy soirees, and secret government correspondence. Her letters home to her family cover the years in which she worked for Norbeck and her work in Turkey. Her writing is witty, charming, and full of astute observations, and "Dancing with Colonels" serves as an excellent window into life in the 1930s and 1940s, including the often under-illuminated social side of wartime Turkey. With her small-town background, Havreberg provides the reader with a marvelously fresh look at her surroundings.

An Introduction from Judy Barrett Litoff, who edited the letters, places the correspondence in the larger context of society at the time. Litoff is professor of history at Bryant College in Rhode Island. She has published extensively and is an expert on letters from the World War II era.

Sally Enstrom saved the letters, compiled this volume, and provided a brief memoir of her aunt, highlighting Havreberg's personality and zest for life. DBS004849

Hank the Cowdog book series now available!

Book covers of ten Hank the cow dog series children's books

"Hank the Cowdog" is a long running, ongoing series of books by John R. Erickson. The books follow Hank, a dog that views himself as the "Head of Ranch Security." In each book Hank and other characters must deal with several events, issues, and mysteries that occur at their Texas Panhandle home in Ochiltree County. The name of the ranch is never mentioned in any of the stories. The series began in 1982, with a couple of short stories about Hank and his friends; since then, over 70 printed books and seven audio-only books have been published. We have 41 titles recorded at the Texas Talking Book Program available on seven cartridges. DBS004840 , DBS004841 , DBS004842 , DBS004843 , DBS004844 , DBS004845 , DBS004846

What's new in Descriptive Video Service collection

We have updated the descriptive video catalogs with new titles.

What are videos with audio description? The videos carefully describe the visual elements of a movie—action, characters, locations, costumes, and sets—without interfering with the video dialogue or sound effects.

Borrowers must be registered and active patrons in good standing with the Braille and Talking Book Library. All borrowers must complete a Descriptive Video Registration Form. To request a registration form and copies of the new catalogs of DVD or Blu-ray titles contact your reader advisor.

Here are just a few titles we recently added:

DVD titles

  • Skyscraper DVD00704
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story DVD00705
  • The Star DVD00708
  • Sully DVD00709
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles DVD00710
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri DVD00711
  • Tomb Raider DVD00712
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor? DVD00714
  • A Wrinkle in Time DVD00715
  • X-Men: Apocalypse DVD00716
  • Coco (Pixar) DVD00718
  • Selma DVD00719
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure DVD00721

Blu-ray titles

  • Annihilation DVR00648
  • Assassin's Creed DVR00652
  • Coco (Pixar) DVR00655
  • Deadpool 2 DVR00658
  • Hostiles DVR00668
  • John Wick DVR00673
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle DVR00677
  • Life of the Party DVR00680
  • The Mummy DVR00683
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising DVR00688
  • Rampage DVR00695
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming DVR00707
  • Tomb Raider DVR00713
  • X-Men: Apocalypse DVR00717
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure DVR00722

Books Bill Gates loved in 2018

bill gates seated holding books listed below

Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates is known for sharing reading lists of books he loves. This time he has released his annual list of his favorite books of the year 2018. Of his list he writes, "My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there's something for everyone." Our library has three of the five books in his list available in digital audio format. The five book titles are listed below.

  • "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup", John Carreyrou DB091456
  • "Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War", Paul Scharre (Not currently available)
  • "21 Lessons for the 21st Century", Yuval Noah Harari DB092404
  • "Educated: A Memoir", Tara Westover DB090188
  • "The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness", Andy Puddicombe (Not currently available)

Time Magazine: Bill Gates Best Books Recommendations For 2018
Annabel Gutterman -

Gates Notes: Five Books I Loved in 2018
Bill Gates -

NLS braille eReaders pilot project

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) will in 2020 take the first steps on a program that will expand access to braille books and magazines for NLS patrons.

Next year NLS will launch a pilot project of refreshable braille devices known as braille eReaders. These braille eReaders will be designed to enable patrons with Internet access to immediately download thousands of braille titles and provide portability, empowering them to enjoy braille content anywhere.

For this first phase of the project, NLS has awarded the contract to manufacture the braille eReader to Humanware and Zoomax in partnership with experts from Baum Projects.

NLS plans to introduce the braille eReader in 2020 with a phased pilot project designed to collect feedback from patrons and network libraries on the functionality of the device and to test the distribution processes of network libraries. The first phase of the pilot will include a small number of braille-lending libraries. The pilot is expected to be implemented in mid-to-late FY20.

Following this phased pilot, the long-term goal, which is dependent on receiving funding from Congress, is to roll out the braille eReader to all NLS braille patrons in the United States and its territories.

While South Dakota is not part of the pilot process we are excited about the potential a braille eReader has for our patrons. We will update you as we learn more.

Alternative Format Textbooks

The deadline for getting alternative format textbook orders to the SD BTBL for the fall term of the 2019/2020 school year was Jan. 15th. Orders for the spring term should be placed by July 15th, 2019. We will continue to accept orders past these dates but will not be able to guarantee the delivery of the finished textbooks by the first day of school classes.

The textbook order form is available at:

Be sure to check your books when they arrive to verify that they are correct.

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

Fax: 605.773.6962

Ten Squared Club

ten squared club logo

The South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library recognizes the accomplishments of our active readers who have reached age 100 or older. They are sent an invitation to join this elite club and receive a certificate of merit, a letter, and a small gift. We have heard amazing stories from our 10-squared Club members.

This newsletter's 10-squared inductees are:

LeRoy Meyer

LeRoy Meyer was born on March 12, 1916. He signed up for talking books at the age of 102 and immediately was inducted into the 10-Squared Club for the South Dakota BTBL.

LeRoy has seen a lot of change in his century of life. He said, "We used to work fields with horses. Now my grandson-in-law uses a big tractor that steers itself and does as much work in minutes that took me all day."

LeRoy has been a reader throughout his life and has fond memories of reading books growing up. "Black Beauty DB041291 was a favorite. I taught my younger brother to read when he was 4 years old, so he started school at that time. I also liked Call of the Wild." DB049486 His favorite book of all time is Giants in the Earth DB022285 .

He enjoys the talking book service and says it's "better than TV!" and it "entertains me during the days."

LeRoy keeps busy doing coffee and dice with friends every morning. He enjoys visiting with grandchildren and great grandchildren and says "two of my grandchildren are doctors and take very good care of me."

Congratulations Leroy!

Pearl DeKramer

Pearl DeKramer was born on March 26, 1919. In her century of life there have been many changes and advancements from medicine to technology to everyday living experiences.

Pearl says of her earliest memories of reading, "My parents/grandparents were busy with farming and daily responsibilities. There was no time to read with them. I did not have any books until I started school."

Pearl told us some of the activities she's enjoyed: "Gardening, bridge, church groups, and study groups were enjoyed before I got macular degeneration and became visually impaired."

Reading has become a bigger pastime for Pearl through the years. "Other activities filled my days when I was younger. When I retired I started reading more for enjoyment. When my eyes started to fail, I began "reading" much more with the talking books." Pearl's favorite books are The Grapes of Wrath DB068308 and Gone with the Wind DB033082 .

Having access to talking books from the library means a lot to Pearl. "I thoroughly enjoy spending time listening to the many stories on the talking books. It helps to fill the spare time during the days. It has enabled me to continue "reading." I spend several hours each day listening to the talking books."

Congratulations Pearl!

Celebrating 10 years of BARD!

Ten years ago on April 30, 2009, NLS BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download site went live to the public. For the first time ever, NLS subscribers could immediately download books from the Internet and then read them on a player, rather than wait for their books to arrive in the mail. In the past decade of service, there have been many changes and upgrades including the introduction of the BARD Mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Happy 10th birthday, BARD! More changes and upgrades are just over the horizon.

BARD Mobile App


Each and every day the list of offerings from the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service grows. While you can always listen to items on your talking book machine, the National Library Service (NLS) offers a free app for you to download and listen to talking books.

The BARD Mobile App is available for free for iOS and Android devices (and Amazon Fire tablets). The app allows you to search for, download, and listen to items from the talking book collection, audio magazines, and audio titles from the NLS Music Section. Braille readers will also find a collection of over 20,000 books and magazines for download, alongside items from the NLS music collection.

Thanks to cooperative agreements between NLS and commercial audiobook producers, new best-selling titles are available on BARD faster than ever. You can check every day in the Recently Added Titles section to see what new items are available!

There is an informative "BARD Mobile: 'How To Series'" channel on YouTube. The videos demonstrate how to use the app on both iOS and Android devices. The videos may be found at .

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

Gifts and Donations

THANK YOU on red banner with light blue background and white circles.

Gifts and bequests that are donated to the Braille and 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:

SD Braille and Talking Book Library
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2235

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

Recent Memorial Donations

  • In memory of Jim Madsen — memorials from family and friends:
    • $20 from Laura and Ronald Switzer
    • $50 from Karen Briggs
    • $115 from Jennifer and Rodney Seals
    • $350 from Laura and Harold Spencer
  • In memory of Mary Jane Wendt — memorials from family and friends:
    • $10 from Denelda Taggart
    • $20 from Mary Barrett
    • $25 from Dale and Donna Bennett
    • $25 from Kathleen Creager
    • $100 from Nancy Bennett
    • $250 from Richard and Charlotte Place

Holiday Closings

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 one week in advance of the following holidays:

  • 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

Executive Proclamation — SD BTBL 50th Anniversary

scan of executive proclamation

WHEREAS, South Dakota became the nation's 41st state with a regional library in the national network of cooperating libraries in partnership with the Library of Congress, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; and,

WHEREAS, The South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its original dedication on January 28, 1969, and becoming fully operational on February 1, 1969; and,

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library serves people who are unable to read or use normal print materials as a result of temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations including those who are blind, have a visual disability that prevents them from reading standard print, or have a physical disability that prevents them from being able to hold a book or turn pages; and,

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library, headquartered in the State Library in Pierre, provides free library services to eligible individuals in communities across the state in accessible formats including braille and digital audio talking books mailed to patrons for free, or downloadable from the NLS BARD website and BARD mobile app; and,

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library contributes to the statewide empowerment of individuals with standard print disabilities and improves educational and professional opportunities and overall quality of life through the provision of descriptive videos, books, magazines, and textbooks in braille and large print, and a wide variety of other materials and resources; and,

WHEREAS, the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library works to ensure "that all may read" by providing eligible patrons access to reading material regardless of age, disability, economic circumstances, or technical expertise:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim January 28, 2019, as

South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library Day

in South Dakota.

Phone tree options

Here is our phone tree that you will hear when you call our main number. Call us at 1-800-423-6665 (or 1-605-773-3131 ), and press 1 for Braille and Talking Book, and then:

  • For adult patrons with last names beginning with A though G, press 1 for Lynda
  • For adult patrons with last names beginning with H through Z, press 2 for Lynette
  • For libraries, facilities, or people residing in facilities, press 3 for Marcia
  • For children, young adults, schools, textbooks or educational materials, press 1 for Lynda
  • For anyone interested in becoming a patron, press 3 for Marcia
  • For Talking Book machines, volunteers and other questions, press 4 for Josh

Call us anytime at 1-800-423-6665 (or 1-605-773-3131 ), press 1 for Braille and Talking Book then 1 for Lynda, 2 for Lynette, 3 for Marcia, and 4 for Josh. You can also ask us for our emails if you would like to communicate via email.