Inside this Issue

NLS 90th Anniversary

NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled) is celebrating its' 90th anniversary! Learn some of the historical events and follow the celebration throughout the year on their webpage at , and Facebook page .

A Tale about Scribe

- by our circulation technician Mike Smith

Scribe, the brand-new method for delivering talking book cartridges to patrons has had a revolutionary effect on circulation. The old way was basically the same way that Ben Franklin used to gather books in the country's first lending library.

A daily list was compiled early in the morning--a list that held hundreds of titles. Then came the slog through the stacks, hunting for each cartridge ordered among the thousands of copies stored on the shelves. It was a tedious task that could consume hours.

Next came the check-out procedure where every cartridge had to be scanned to make sure it matched patron's order. That was also a lengthy process. Finally, the checked-out cartridges had to be separated by zip codes to be mailed out the next morning.

Once the new books were sent out, it was time to deal with the old. Each incoming case and cartridge had to be individually inspected to ensure they were ready to be available for future patrons. After inspection, the books then had to be shelved, an additional time-consuming task.

The Scribe process enables one to do daily tasks in a fraction of the time. There is still a daily card run. But instead of eight cards for eight requests, all eight will be downloaded onto one cartridge. No hunting in the stacks. While downloading, the books are automatically checked out, eliminating another task.

On Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, more than 1,000 books were dispatched on just 222 cartridges. The old system would have required most of the day to complete that massive amount. But with Scribe, it was all done before noon. And rather than wait until the next morning, the load is dispatched to the post office early in the afternoon.

Scribe also more than doubled the number of titles available for download and every title is always available. No more waiting lists for popular titles. No more having to keep the cartridges matched with the cases.

In November of 2019, the Braille and Talking Book Library processed 8,022 digital books, an average of 446 a day. Now, no individual digital book cartridges are being mailed to patrons and the daily download on demand multibook cartridges are a quarter as much.

All in all, the Scribe download on demand is a significant improvement in the delivery of talking books to our patrons.

Your Voice interview: with BTBL patron Connie Chaney

Josh Easter's interview with Connie Chaney - where we talk about being able to have multiple books on one cartridge.

Connie Chaney's reader advisor, Lynda Lowin, sent Connie the first multibook cartridge.

Connie: Lynda told me that they were going to do it. And then finally when it started she asked me if I had any problems doing it - I said no and - once they started I said oh I was so happy that they had done it that way 'cause I was getting tired of taking two grocery bags to the mailbox which was about a block and a half away from my house. Get anywhere from ten to 20 or 25 books and two grocery sacks it meant trying to carry them back to the house. And once they're done, I can get 25 books on one cartridge I was in 7th heaven. I love it.

Josh: It definitely does make a big difference when you have 20 cartridges and cases in your mailbox versus one with 20 books on it.

Connie: Yeah it really makes it easy, convenient, a lot less hassle for me. Yeah, you guys really made it easy for me and I really love it this way.

Josh: Did it take an adjustment at first to learn how to use the bookshelf?

Connie: No. because see I have a few cartridges, not cartridges but those little things you plug in?

Josh: The USB drives.

Connie: For doing the BARD thing.

Josh: Ok. You've been using BARD before. Awesome.

Connie: Yeah I've used BARD. 'Cause I had a friend who did a couple cartridges for me. And I learned how to use those.

Josh: BARD - B, A, R, D, stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download. There is a BARD website where you can download books that you want to a USB drive or a cartridge. And there is also the BARD Mobile App, where you can download books and some magazines to your smart devices such as your smartphone or tablet.

Connie: So when it came out with these new cartridges you guys use, I had actually no problem whatsoever using the bookshelf at all.

Note to readers: The next article is about sequential play and bookshelf. If you have any questions at all please call your reader advisor and they can assist you. They can also help you if you want to download books yourself from BARD, or use the BARD mobile app for smart devices.

I love it. So Lynda said, oh I'm your guinea pig and I said oh all right, I'll be the guinea pig. Yep I was when I got it I was tickled to death.

Josh: And Connie wanted to reassure anyone who was having problems.

Connie: And once they get used to it they'll really enjoy it. It'll be a lot less hassle for them. Cause I know with the separate books I sometimes I have two or three, you know, cartridges laying out on my bed and I have to stop, trying to figure out which one went in which box. And this saves a lot of time and hassle and trying to find the books I misplaced and all that kind of thing.

After they get used to it, and over the first period of frustration on learning how they'll like it too. Two things I really like about how they're doing it now is the books on demand is like if I like an author like Robert Parker-I happen to get one of his books on a different cartridge-so I called my librarian, which is Lynda, and I asked her if she had anymore books by Robert Parker? And she did. And she can send them to me and I can get the whole series, all the books that he's got. That you guys have listed on your BARD. At one time they'd say I had to wait for one book at a time.

Josh: Yes that's awesome to be able to have the whole series on one cartridge, I agree.

Connie: Yes, it is. It is so much more relaxing to enjoy a book, 'cause after a while I'm sitting there waiting and waiting for somebody to send the book I want back to the library so I can get it. If I'm first on the list to get it next time otherwise I may have to wait a month or two or whatever in order to get it. This way I can get it right away on my next cartridge.

Josh: Yes, no more waiting lists! Haha

Connie: No more waiting lists and I love it!

Josh: That's a great benefit right there.

Connie: Yeah it is. And I'm sure I'm not the only person that, you know, has that opinion or feels like that.

Josh: Thanks Connie for Chatting with me.

If you'd like to share about your experience with your Braille and talking book library service let your reader advisor know, or you can call me.

Sequential Play and Bookshelf

Because we are able to put multiple titles onto a cartridge here are the instructions for using the sequential play and bookshelf features.

When you have a cartridge with multiple books on it, there are 2 ways to access the books: sequential play and bookshelf mode. Sequential play will play your books in the order they have been loaded on the cartridge; bookshelf mode lets you pick what book you want to listen to.

To use the sequential play feature, you put your cartridge in and listen to the first book as usual. At the end of the book, let the closing announcements play; when they are finished a voice will say "end of book, press play/stop to go to the next book." Press the play/stop button and the next book on the cartridge will begin playing. Repeat this step until you have listened to all of the books.

To use bookshelf, turn your player on and put the cartridge in. Next, hold down the green "play/stop" button until your player beeps and says, "bookshelf mode." Once in bookshelf mode, you can use the "fast forward" and "rewind" buttons to scroll through the books or magazines contained on the cartridge. When you have located the item you wish to read, press the green "play/stop" button again and it will start to play. Repeat the process for each item on the cartridge.

Mailing cards

You may have noticed that digital book cases have two attached cards inserted in the mail card slot. We hope you have found it helpful to have a second card with up to 8 titles listed that are contained on the cartridge.

To return the book with the mail cards just make sure that you turn the two cards inside out-or make sure the yellow side is facing out. You can also find the position by where the punched hole is on the card.

Tip from a patron

If it is challenging to find the play/stop button on your digital player, consider placing a raised dot on it.

Lost and Found

An 8GB Blue Cartridge was found returned by a patron. Call your reader advisor to identify and claim.

Simpler Certification for those with Reading Disabilities

NLS has recently implemented a long-awaited change: simplifying the certification requirements for potential patrons with reading disabilities.

Estimates indicate that up to 15% of Americans have a reading disability, which can take many forms: dyslexia, dysgraphia, hyperlexia, alexia, trouble with word decoding, or another data processing disorder. Until recently, potential patrons interested in receiving BTBL services due to a reading disability were required to obtain a signature from a Doctor of Medicine or osteopathy, proving that their disability was "the result of organic dysfunction." This created an additional barrier to obtaining services, especially since a 2016 Government Accountability Office report noted that it is now widely accepted that a medical diagnosis is not necessary to determine if a person has a reading disability.

Over the past several years, NLS has worked to amend its legislative language to broaden the scope of who can sign as a certifying authority for individuals with reading disorders. Now, NLS is pleased to announce that all requirements have been met. Several new categories of certifying authorities that work in K-12 and academia can sign off on the application. This includes certified reading specialists, psychologists or school psychologists, librarians or school librarians, speech pathologists, and other types of professional educators.

Spread the Word

Think for a moment about the people you know-relatives, friends, neighbors, people in church and civic groups, and so on. There's a good chance one or more of them needs a different way to enjoy books, magazines, and newspapers. They may have worsening low vision, eye diseases, or could be dealing with physical conditions that make holding traditional books difficult or even impossible.

People often don't realize there is an option when it becomes difficult to read standard print books and magazines. Please encourage the person you thought of to contact us so they can enjoy reading again.

Refreshable Braille Devices

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled is currently working on a pilot program testing potential Braille e-readers with a refreshable Braille display.

Refreshable Braille displays are devices with small pins that electronically move up and down through six holes representing a Braille cell. Refreshable Braille displays contain a row of these cells. The number of cells displayed varies. Users move their fingers across the cells as if they were reading braille on paper. The pins move up and down, reflecting the words of whatever is being read. Braille displays can be the length of a computer keyboard or small enough to be portable and interface with smart phones and tablets.

While there are already commercially available Braille e-readers it will be a while yet before the pilot program for testing potential Braille e-readers is complete so stay tuned for updates as we learn more.

BARD Quick Updates

bard express main menu screenshot

Windows users, please check out BARD Express program download link located on the BARD sign in page at and when logged in on the BARD main page directly under the ADDITIONAL LINKS heading. This software program makes downloading books on a computer, extracting and moving books to a removable media device (such as a USB thumb drive or a cartridge) so much easier and faster!

The BARD website is undergoing some changes and improvements. Those changes are going make BARD much more "user friendly."

For those of you who use the BARD Mobile app on tablets, smartphones and other devices check out a great way to locate more books based on what you have previously read. Go to Get Books/Previous downloads and tap on the ! in a circle. On the next screen tap the solid circle with 3 dots located to the right of the authors name to see more choices of locating books.

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 31, 2021 - Memorial Day
  • Monday, Jul 5, 2021 - Independence Day
  • Monday, September 6, 2021 - Labor Day
  • Monday, October 11, 2021 - Native American Day (Columbus Day)
  • Thursday/Friday, November 25/26, 2021 - Thanksgiving