Inside this Issue

Kate's Corner

Fall is here, finally, after a hot summer that to me and my tender East Coast skin felt like it would never end… Although we had a great summer in Pierre, I'm ready for cool days, cozy sweaters, apple cider, and crunching through fallen leaves in my neighborhood. Autumn is most definitely my favorite season.

photo by travel south dakota - capitol building in autumn
Photo by Travel South Dakota: Pierre's Capitol building's dome peeks above yellowing trees with the rolling Fort Pierre Grasslands in background.

The staff of the Braille and Talking Book Library has been busily at work throughout early fall to keep the service humming along. Josh Easter and I have been hunting for a new recording studio site in the northern part of the state, and we are excited to announce that the South Dakota School for the Blind has agreed to let us house a studio at its school in Aberdeen! Details to follow, but we hope this will allow us to open up new volunteer opportunities and catch up on the backlog of recording that the pandemic has caused.

Mike Smith is back in the duplication station after a lengthy absence and is working closely with our temp Dylan Frye to get back into the swing of things. The reader advisors have been busy too: Lynda has been attending the American Printing House for the Blind annual conference, Lynette has been updating our DVD holdings, and Marcia has been on the road visiting some of our western libraries and facility partners. We've even had a busy bee in Barb, one of the state library employees who has boxed up and recycled more than 5,000 outdated cartridges this fall, making room for new materials to serve you better. As you can see, we're an absolute hive of activity here!

We had a wonderful first programming event in September with our spelling bee. Gertie from Canton walked away with the victory, but Wanda from Vermillion came in a close second. It was a fierce battle, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. In October, we did a poetry writing workshop and some of the poems are included here for your enjoyment. Don't forget to try some of our other programs. Keep reading to see what exciting programs are to come!

This month, I've decided to dedicate my reading time to the genre of epistolary novels—that is, books that are written in the form of letters and documents. I love these books, because they give me the opportunity to read a page or two and then go pick up my kiddo from cross country practice or make dinner and I'm always at a good stopping place. If you're one of the many who called in and requested "Last Days of Summer" (DB048541 ) by Steve Kluger after the last newsletter, you'll have already read one such novel. May I recommend to you this month

  • "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (DB067526 ) by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows,
  • "Attachments" (DB091740 ) by Rainbow Rowell, or
  • "Dear Committee Members" (DB079709 ) by Julie Schumacher?

All three are wonderful examples of the genre and all are quite different. I had the good fortune to meet Annie Barrows and have her autograph my copy of the Guernsey book, which is one of my favorites. My daughter was an infant at the time and Annie gave her a lovely kiss and snuggle, which Leah will never remember and I'll never forget. Authors are such lovely people! Your reader advisors are standing by to help you order these books, or other books of this type.

So stay tuned, as there's lots going on and we look forward to hearing from you as we keep working to serve you better. Call me any time at 1-800-423-6665 , option 1, then option 5. Or call your reader advisors and they're happy to answer your questions as well. Happy fall, y'all!

Magazines and Newsletter Cartridge

magazines on talking book cartridges
Display of magazines and talking book cartridges. Dakota Farmer, Dakota Country, South Dakota Magazine and South Dakota Conservation Digest (Game Fish and Parks).

You may have noticed that the Prairie Trails Newsletter is on a cartridge by itself with no books.

We are switching the newsletter and magazines we send out to be on a separate cartridge with only magazines and newsletters. We started with the Prairie Trails Newsletter but as we add new issues of magazines to our system, we will add them to the magazine cartridge. This will allow us to send these titles in a timelier manner if you read and return the cartridge with magazines and newsletters first.

If you have any questions, please contact your reader advisor.

A Visit to the Braille and Talking Book Library

Blaine Jemmings visits BTBL in Pierre. From left to right: Josh, Marcia, Blaine, Lynette, Kate and Lynda.

In July, 16-year-old patron Blaine Jemming and his grandmother stopped for a visit and tour of the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library. This was not their first visit. They were last here about 5 years ago. Blaine remembered all the shelves that hold the individual copies of books that we used to use, (we stopped using these cartridges last fall.) He was surprised at the size of our mailroom.

He thinks that he would like to work here someday, so we let him experience some of the tasks that we perform. He checked in some Braille and large print textbooks and then put them on the shelves.

Next, he explored our Scribe machine. This was the favorite part of his visit. We started using Scribe about a year ago and now, instead of pulling individual titles from the shelves, several can be downloaded to a single cartridge. This is called Download on Demand or DOD.

It is in an area that we call Mike's Condo, as it is usually Library Tech, Mike Smith's, exclusive work area. Unfortunately, Mike was not available to give Blaine a demonstration, but we let Blaine operate it anyway.

Blaine scanned his mail card, inserted a blank cartridge in the Scribe tower machine-and when he removed the cartridge once it was ready-it was loaded with the books that he had selected!

After meeting the rest of the staff, photos were taken. He was able to ask questions and recommends his peers visit the Braille and Talking Book Library.

Blaine left happy, with books to read on his trip home!

Programming News

We are continuing our virtual programming through the fall and into the winter months, as we've had a lovely group of people attending our programs and the staff have really enjoyed it! We hope you will consider getting involved in our upcoming events! Here's what we're rolling out through March 2022.

November 29th at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain Time: Trivia and Turkey

thanksgiving trivia event
BTBL Thanksgiving Trivia Event

We will be hosting a 10-question trivia quiz focused on Thanksgiving-related trivia. Afterwards, we will listen to the heartwarming and hilarious holiday story, Dave Cooks Turkey, by Stuart McLean.

December 20th at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain: Holiday Book Discussion

Join with others to discuss The Christmas Scrapbook (DB062595 ) by Philip Gulley.

It's autumn in Harmony, and Pastor Sam Gardner has vowed to be ready for Christmas. Determined to redeem a dreadful history of gift giving, Sam enrolls in a scrapbooking class to make a Christmas gift his wife will never forget. However, Sam's absence from their home every Wednesday night, coupled with his fishy alibi of attending a men's group, raises her suspicions. As Christmas fast approaches and rumors of Sam's Wednesday night absences swirl along with the snow, a series of mishaps leads to a Christmas no one will soon forget.

January 31st at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain Time: Movie Time!

Come see what it's like to 'watch' one of our audio described DVD's. We will not show the film but will instead play the audio description over our regular Zoom call. Hopefully this will pique your interest in the 900+ movies in our collection!

We will be "watching" Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, the inspiring man behind Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood. After a jaded magazine writer is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love, and forgiveness from America's most beloved neighbor.

February 28th at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain Time: Cooking In the Dark Podcast

Did you know there is a podcast by visually impaired home chefs? Cooking in the Dark is that very podcast! The hosts, Dale Campbell and Cheryl Cumings will join us via Zoom and create a show live on our very own Zoom meeting! You can ask questions during the breaks as well! Come learn how to cook a great recipe and be involved in the creation of a podcast episode.

March 28th at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain: Author Event with Steve Kluger

Come listen to and chat with the author of Last Days of Summer! Steve Kluger will come and talk about the book, the process of writing it, some of his other books, and take your questions!


We meet via Zoom. You can connect either via your computer or by telephone.

To connect by computer, please go to . The meeting ID is 983 6593 0748 and the password is 080815.

You can also call in by calling 1-312-626-6799 from your phone and using the meeting ID and password above.

If you would like to have these instructions in Braille, please contact your reader advisor to request they be sent to you.

South Dakota Poets Corner

Poetry event in October
Poetry event in October

In October, as part of our new virtual programming series, a group of eight aspiring writers met in our Zoom room and listened to poetry, talked about memories of fall, and then tried their hand at writing their own poetry pieces. We share some of them here for your consideration. Thank you to all our aspiring poets who participated and shared such lovely works!

Halloween Candy

By Wanda Anthony

Halloween candy is also for adults
First, tell your kids you must inspect their loot
Next, pick through and take out your favorites
For me, that would be Milk Duds, Sweettarts, plain M&M's, and Hershey's
When that is done, you as well as the kiddos have had a Happy Halloween night

I Love Fall

by Blaine Jemming

I love fall because, the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet.
The cold crisp air.
Another nice thing about fall is smelling all of the things that fall has to bring.
The smells of Thanksgiving, like turkey, stuffing, and the sweet smells of Pie.


by Lynda Lowin

Fall is a Pied Piper.
Dancing through the falling leaves.
Leading us closer to cold winds.
closer to wet snow.
I just have to tell myself
"Don't hate Fall for this.
Fall is leading us closer to Spring!
Winter just gets in the way."

The Mixing Pot

by Donna Stainbrook

A time like no other the years before us running filled,
With such a super ever-changing way of life.
The first in the pot that came before us struggled to just exist day by day.
They left us with one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.
Then more was added, the mixing pot got fuller,
Holding faith, hope, love, wisdom, and pursuit of happiness.
It is as though we live in a throw away world the pot is spilling over,
corona virus, power control, my rights, technology, climate control, fires, and floods.
Who are we putting in charge of stirring the pot.

Participants also shared haiku (Japanese short-form poetry), limericks, and acrostic poetry. We enjoyed listening to Robert Wrigley's The Pumpkin Tree via the Poetry Foundation website. You can read it or listen to it at

Currency Reader Program

iBill Talking Banknote Identifier
iBill Talking Banknote Identifier

Did you know that the National Library Service and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing teamed up to provide free iBill currency readers to patrons of the NLS?

Few things are as frustrating as trying to read your paper money and figure out if you're holding a $10 bill or a $20 bill. You may have devised your own system for folding and identifying the money in your wallet, but if you're getting a bunch of change back from a store clerk with five people behind you waiting in line, you may not have time to figure out exactly what's what before putting it all in your pocket or wallet and moving on.

The iBill is a small device that fits in your pocket. You simply slide the corner of the bill into the device and press a button. The iBill scans it quickly and reads out the denomination. If you're concerned about safety in public, you can set it to play a series of chimes or even vibrations instead, so the entire shop doesn't know you are carrying $100 bills.

As a registered patron of our service, and by extension the National Library Service, you are already eligible to receive this device free of charge. To learn more, you may call the Meaningful Access program at 1-844-815-9388 or email

Who Is My Reader Advisor?

Throughout the newsletter, you'll hear us say "For more information, contact your reader advisor", but you may not know who that person is. Your reader advisor contacts you once when you first register for service, again about five weeks later, and then will only contact you once per year. However, you can contact them any time with questions, to make changes, or to update your service.

Still, if you're anything like me, it's easy to forget a name! So, here's a handy guide to let you know who your reader advisor is:

  • If your last name begins with A through H or if you are a student or under 19, your reader advisor is Lynda Lowin. She can be reached at 1-605-773-4914 .
  • If your last name begins with I through S, your reader advisor is Lynette Thum. She can be reached at 1-605-605-773-3514 .
  • If your last name begins with T through Z or if you are a resident of an assisted living or nursing facility, your reader advisor is Marcia Kaup. She can be reached at 1-605-773-6609 .

You can also use our in-state toll free number at 1-800-423-6665 and press 1 to reach the Braille and Talking Book Library. Listen to the options and when you hear the name of the reader advisor you'd like to speak to, press the appropriate number and you will be transferred to that line.

Ski For Light Returns To The Snow

ski for light logo with picture of four people with ski equipment at winter cabin

The 47th annual Ski for Light International Week will be held Sunday January 30 through February 6, 2022 in Granby, Colorado. After a very successful virtual Ski for Light event in 2021 enjoyed by more than 400 registered participants, Ski for Light is looking forward to again gliding on the snow at Snow Mountain Ranch.

Ski for Light is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that hosts an annual, week-long event where blind and mobility-impaired adults are taught the basics of cross-country skiing. The event attracts more than 250 skiers, guides and volunteers from throughout the United States and the world. During the Ski for Light International Week, each skier with a disability is paired with an experienced, sighted cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and on-snow guide. New participants will learn the thrill of gliding on the snow while veteran skiers hone their skills, and both will experience a new level of inner confidence and make new friends that could last a lifetime.

Instructor/guides should be intermediate level classic cross-country skiers capable of safely managing their own speed and direction while, at the same time, communicating skiing basics and describing the beauty of the area around the trails to their skiing partner. Ski for Light provides a training session for first-time guides taught by experienced skiers and guides prior to the start of the week.

If you have never attended what many have called "the experience of a lifetime," please consider participating in the Ski for Light 2022 International week as a skier, a guide or a volunteer. View a brief narrated video introduction to Ski for Light at . If you have specific questions, contact Melinda Hollands at or call at 1-231-590-0986 . Applications for skiers, guides and volunteers are now available at .

Hope to ski with you in Colorado!

New Descriptive Videos added to collection

dvds popcorn and movie ticket

The following titles have been added to our descriptive audio video collection.

20 DVDs and 1 Blu-Ray were purchased and added to our collection. Contact your reader advisor to check them out.

  • DVR1004 Nomadland (Blu-Ray)
  • DVD1005 Soul
  • DVD1006 In the Heights
  • DVD1007 Here Today
  • DVD1008 Art of Racing in the Rain
  • DVD1009 Call of the Wild
  • DVD1010 Secret Garden
  • DVD1011 Toy Story 4
  • DVD1012 Knives Out
  • DVD1013 Supernova
  • DVD1014 Onward
  • DVD1015 Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • DVD1016 Just Mercy
  • DVD1017 Wonder Woman 1984
  • DVD1018 Jumanji: The Next Level
  • DVD1019 Cats
  • DVD1020 Mulan
  • DVD1021 Frozen II
  • DVD1022 It: Chapter Two
  • DVD1023 Scoob!
  • DVD1024 Justice League (2 disc set)

Author Event: Steve Kluger

The Braille and Talking Book Library is excited to announce our first ever author event!

In our summer 2021 newsletter, director Kate Kosior mentioned her favorite book is Last Days of Summer (DB048541 ) by Steve Kluger. Lots of patrons called in to request the book, and Kate thought it would be a lot of fun to host a discussion of the book later in the year with those patrons who read it.

Kate contacted the author and asked if he would be willing to join our Braille and Talking Book Social Club to participate in a book discussion. He was pleased to do so, and put us on his calendar for Monday, March 28th, 2022.

Excerpts from Steve's biography from his website:

Steve Kluger shook hands with Lucille Ball when he was 12. He's since lived a few more decades, but nothing much registered after that. He is a novelist and playwright who grew up during the Sixties with only two heroes: Tom Seaver and Ethel Merman… A veteran of Casablanca and a graduate of The Graduate, he has written extensively on subjects as far-ranging as World War II, rock and roll, and the Titanic, and as close to the heart as baseball and the Boston Red Sox (which frequently have nothing to do with one another)… He's also forged a somewhat singular path as a civil rights advocate, campaigning for a "Save Fenway Park" initiative (which qualifies as a civil right if you're a Red Sox fan), counseling gay teenagers, and—on behalf of Japanese American internment redress—lobbying the Department of the Interior to restore the baseball diamond at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Steve lives in Brookline, MA.

book cover of last days of summer a novel by steve kluger

About the book:

Last Days of Summer is the story of Joey Margolis, neighborhood punching bag, growing up goofy and mostly fatherless in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. A boy looking for a hero, Joey decides to latch on to Charlie Banks, the all-star third basemen for the New York Giants. But Joey's chosen champion doesn't exactly welcome the extreme attention of a persistent young fan with an overactive imagination. Then again, this strange, needy kid might be exactly what Banks needs.

Kate is looking forward to discussing the book with fellow fans. The book is about a baseball player, but not necessarily about baseball, so even if you're not a sports fan, you will still find plenty to love about this book. It is an amazing slice of Americana in the 1940's, a vibrant and tumultuous period in American history that is well noted not only for baseball and WWII and FDR, but also music, movies, food, romance, and more, all of which you'll find in this wonderful book.

Please join us on March 28th, 2021 at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain via our Zoom link or by phone.

To connect by computer, please go to . The meeting ID is 983 6593 0748. The password is 080815

You can also call in by calling 1-312.626.6799 from your phone and using the meeting ID and password above.

If you would like to have these instructions in Braille, please contact your reader advisor to request they be sent to you.

Zoom How To!

Using Zoom to attend our social club and other events may seem like a new and terrifying experience for some of you who have limited experience with this software. It doesn't need to be too scary, and now we've compiled a handy guide for you to help navigate so you can participate more effectively.

When you open a Zoom link, such as the one that is in our events listing, you will be taken to the Zoom website, where a small pop up will ask you if you want to launch the meeting. If the pop up does not appear, you can click the blue button in the middle of the screen, and the pop up will appear. Just click "Open Zoom Meeting" and you'll be taken directly into our room. (Using your keyboard, just push the Tab key twice and hit enter.)

Remember that if you haven't clicked on or typed in the direct link to our meeting, you will have to enter our meeting ID number and password.

When you open Zoom, it will then ask if you would like to join using the computer audio, and the answer is Yes. This will allow the sounds of the meeting to come through your speakers.

You will need either a camera or a microphone to participate fully in Zoom meetings via the computer. This will allow you to talk instead of typing in the chat box. You do NOT need to have your camera turned on if you are not comfortable with other people seeing you (see below for information on how to turn it off). However, please grant permission for Zoom to use your 'microphone', which may be connected to your camera, if you'd like to be able to talk and ask questions.

Here are some important keyboard commands:

  • + Turn video on/off
  • + Mute/unmute your audio
  • + Turn on/off Full Screen mode
  • + Raise or lower your 'hand' – this is great for a large discussion when you want to ask a question
  • + Read the active speaker's name
  • + View the Active Speaker in the frame
  • + View a gallery of all participants in the frame
  • + Jump to the chat box

If you are on the phone, to mute/unmute, press Star 6. The star key is located directly below the number 7 key on the keypad of your phone.

To raise and lower your hand on the phone, press Star 9.

If you'd like a little Zoom tutorial, please let Kate know and we can work on it together. Hope this helps!

Holiday Closings

happy ho lidays

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:

  • Thursday/Friday, November 25-26, 2021 Thanksgiving
  • Friday, December 24, 2021 Christmas Day
  • Friday, December 31, 2021 for New Year's Day

Be prepared for interruptions in service due to weather events. You can ask your reader advisor about possibly increasing the number of books you receive so you don't run out. Or ask about how you can download books at home from the BARD website or on the BARD mobile app for smartphones and tablets.