Inside this Issue

A Note from the New Manager, Kate Kosior

smiling woman

Hello! My name is Kate Kosior and I am the new manager of the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library. I am so excited to be here and have some space to tell you a bit about myself.

I come to the library with a wealth of experience in both libraries and blindness. In 2000, I was awarded an M.A. in Rehabilitation of the Blind with a concentration in rehabilitation teaching from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I did a practicum at Lions World Services for the Blind in Little Rock, then completed my internship at the Carroll Center for the Blind in Boston MA before working for three years at the Massachusetts Association for the Blind as the rehabilitation coordinator of the Elder Blind Program. After relocating to Virginia, I spent five years working for the state as a rehabilitation teacher with the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, where I eventually served a caseload of seven counties primarily around rural parts of Northern Virginia.

In 2011, I decided to switch gears and started work on my MLIS, which I earned in 2016 from the University of Arizona. Starting in 2017, I spent three years as the director of a small library in rural New York State. Part of my work there was to do lots of outreach to the local community and help bring our services to more and more patrons. As such, our library won an award for Outstanding Community Partnership in 2019 and I was selected as one of eight librarians in the United States to participate in the Rural Libraries and Social Well Being research project. You can learn more about that at if you are interested and see the tools I created as well.

I have been looking for a position with the National Library Service or with a Braille and Talking Book library since earning my MLIS, as it would allow me to combine the two passions of my adult career. My Facebook friend of ten years, Mary, who I had never met in 'real life' told me about the opening of this position earlier this year, and I applied, thinking there was no way that I would get the job, nor did I plan to move to South Dakota. Imagine my surprise when I was offered the job just a few weeks later and when my family decided we wanted to move by a vote of 3-0! We agreed that this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and in May, we moved to Pierre and (Mary and I are now real-life friends!)

My family consists of me, my fiancé Greg, my 12-year-old daughter Leah, and our four cats (The Empress, Stepstool, Lord Dimwit, and Furrington), who did not especially enjoy the road trip to SD. We have settled into Pierre nicely and absolutely love it here. I am a proud third generation librarian, following in the steps of my great-aunt who was a public librarian, and my aunt who is an academic librarian. I'm pretty sure my niece is thus destined to be a librarian as well! I have also worked professionally in the fields of foster care and foreign exchange.

My favorite book is Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger, which I read every year. Favorite authors include Philip Gulley, Stuart McLean, and Janet Evanovich. I am presently working my way through Hugh Howey's Silo series, which my daughter and I are reading together. I took up both gardening and baking as my Covid-quarantine hobbies, I'm obsessed with British television, and I'm looking forward to my wedding in October after having to cancel it twice last year!

I look forward to serving South Dakotans as our Braille and Talking Book Library staff continues to provide you with this valuable service. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us with questions or concerns. I look forward to speaking with you.

Kate Kosior

woman standing with arms up at the South Dakota Badlands

A Matter of Free Matter

Earlier this year, one of our patrons forgot to mail back a cartridge and accidentally returned a blank box instead. They went to the post office and spent nearly $9 to mail the cartridge back to us separately. This has, unfortunately, happened on several occasions, and we thought it was important to remind all our patrons that whether or not you use the special box from NLS, you can still mail your cartridges back as "Free Matter for the Blind."

To do this, simply place your cartridge in a small box or padded envelope, address it to us at SD Braille & Talking Book Library, 800 Governor's Drive, Pierre SD 57501. Instead of adding postage, simply write "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" in the top corner where a stamp would ordinarily go, and the post office will do the rest.

There are rules governing mailing materials via Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped. You can't mail a birthday card or personal correspondence this way, for example. You should leave the packaging open for inspection by the postal service. Your items can't contain advertising. Your full return address must be included. Abuse of the system will mean a loss of privileges.

To read the full regulations governing this important service, please visit the Post Office's website at .

So, remember, don't pay to send us materials back. Simply mark the package "Free Matter for the Blind" and ship it back free of charge!

New Virtual Programming

Braille and Talking Book Librarian Kate Kosior recently attended a seminar on providing virtual programming to patrons with visual impairment. Although the patrons mentioned in the seminar were unable to come in for in-person programming due to Covid restrictions in 2020, Kate wondered if virtual programming might be a great way to engage our own patrons who live across the state of South Dakota.

Consequently, we are proud to announce a test program with virtual programs for Fall 2021! Please join Kate on the last Monday of September, October, and November at 2PM Central/1PM Mountain to have some fun and connect with other patrons of the Braille and Talking Book Library! Our December date will be earlier in the month to accommodate the holidays.

Participants will log onto a Zoom meeting either by computer or telephone (information below) and participate in a series of fun and interactive activities. The schedule is tentative, but is as follows:

  • Monday, September 29: Spelling Bee! This year's national spelling bee was the talk of the country for a time. Think you've got what it takes to be the best speller in South Dakota, or at least in our Zoom call? Step right up and try! Not sure you want to participate, but still want to watch, or listen? That's OK too! Just log in and listen. All words will be randomly selected from the spelling bee guide list in years past. You can find the 2020 list at The winner will be awarded a limited edition, suitable for framing Braille and Talking Book Spelling Bee Champion certificate!
  • Monday, October 25: Poetry Slam! Join your fellow poets as we write poems about fall and Halloween together. You don't have to be particularly good at it or have any experience, just open to having fun and trying something new. At the end, we will share our creations and enjoy the poetry of our fellow writers. Poems will be shared in our November newsletter!
  • Monday, November 29: Trivia Fun! We'll be working our way through a twenty-question trivia quiz about both Thanksgiving and books. Come on and see how smart you are! The winner will receive the first ever Braille and Talking Books suitable for framing Trivia Wizard certificate.
  • Monday, December 20: Book Club. Together we will discuss Philip Gulley's hilarious and heartwarming The Christmas Scrapbook, part of the Harmony series, which is easily available on both BARD and cartridges on demand. Synopsis of the book: 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.

At the conclusion of these four activities, participants will decide if they want to continue this type of programming or not, as well as make suggestions for future activities.

To participate, simply log onto the Braille and Talking Book Social Club Zoom at:
Meeting ID: 983 6593 0748
Passcode: 080815

If you don't have a computer or reliable internet service, you can also join by phone simply by calling one of the numbers below, entering the meeting ID (983 6593 0748) and using passcode 080815.

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

These links and numbers should work for all four events. New to Zoom and not sure how it works? There's a great tutorial at that will help you learn!

You can also contact your reader advisor and they can send the link and login information to you via email or mail.

We hope to see you and have a lot of fun together! If you have questions, feel free to email Kate at

Ten Squared Club

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: Sister Jane Frances Mullaney and Mariem Whittemore

Sister Jane Frances Mullaney OSB

elder woman

Sister Jane Frances learned of the talking Book program when she learned that she had macular degeneration and was losing central vision. It was through a short conversation with Jim Kent who unknowingly brought to her attention the services that the SD Braille & Talking Book Library offered to visually impaired and handicapped persons to receive without cost reading materials from the Library of Congress.

Jim Kent referred her to Marcia Kaup who works in the library at Pierre. She called Marcia and Sr. Jane Frances stated, "Marcia was so helpful to me." And has been my source of reference to the services offered. Talking books have helped her fill the void and she is grateful that reading has become her source of keeping in touch. Even though she has a hearing impairment she still enjoys listening to the books with the use of headphones to enrich her mind in the time she has left to do so.

Sister Jane Frances said she has always enjoyed reading but was never an avid reader in her childhood. She read articles from her mother's magazines, newspapers and comic books but didn't have a supply of books at their home. She was able to get books through the Sturgis Public School Library although she was enrolled in the parochial school in Sturgis.

As a child I read in our living room, or in my bedroom or in any comfortable place on their front porch. Now I read in my easy chair in my room, in our recreation room or at the reception desk. I have found the player to be a great help, especially when I am working at the reception desk answering the phone in our monastery home. Listening to inspirational reading, books on courage, valor, self-sacrifice and even children's books are important ways to occupy my mind when there is quieter space between phone calls and other duties as receptionist.

I have always enjoyed working with my hands, using shop tools, repairing, or restoring broken things. I enjoyed embroidering, especially "Hardanger" (Norwegian embroidery). I thought that would be my retirement hobby but with loss of central vision that dream was set aside.

At 100 years (in 2020), Sister Jane Frances said, "I am very grateful. I have touched many lives and many lives have touched me. I am blessed to have a religious community and many friends. My relationship with Jesus and the Blessed Mother has grown and now guides me. In my centenarian years I have become more alive. Even though I am blind I see things in a new light."

Sister Jane Frances was honored as a Century Reader at a reception held at St. Martin Monastery in Rapid City, SD in the Sisters Dining Room on April 2nd, 2020 with all living at the monastery invited to attend.

End note: Sister Jane Frances Mullaney, OSB celebrated her 101st birthday in February and is still going strong at the time this article was written on June 29, 2021.

Mariem Whittemore

Mariem, who lives in Rapid City, SD was inducted into the 10 Squared Club when she turned 100 on May 23, 2021.

She remembers her mother reading to her when she was a child. She likes to read in her living room and her favorite books are biblical and historical.

Her all-time favorite hobby is letter writing. She started writing letters to her grandmother 95 years ago when she was just 5-years old.

As a centenarian, she said her experiences of reading gives her a better understanding of books. Her father also was a reader.

ten squared logo

Greeting from SDAB!

Koni Sims, SDAB President

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Fall will be here before we know it! We are gearing up for our state convention. It's in Aberdeen, September 17th and 18th at the Fairfield Inn and Suites. There is a block of rooms that are available until August 16th for $115/night. They also offer state rates. To make reservations call 1-605-229-9990 code G 1033. Registration is $20.00 and membership for 2022 can be paid also for $20.00.

The theme for this year is "Fill your bucket with more tools for life". We will be touring the new school for the blind and having pizza with the students.

We will be looking at such topics as:

  • Navigating the healthcare system when they see that you can't see.
  • Exploring ways to work the with iPhone to help us get and stay healthier.

There will be a silent auction. Come find out what else is happening! We will also be having our annual business meeting. It will be a fun filled couple of days! We have a lot of catching up to do, since we didn't get to meet in 2020.

Check out our website and our Facebook page, South Dakota Association of the Blind . They will have updates and for the first time, a registration form will be on the website! Please reach out to us if you have any questions at . Hope to see you there!

BARD: Braille and Audio Reading Download

Is it for you?

WHAT is BARD: BARD is a website that houses Braille and audio books and magazines. All patrons have access to BARD if they have a computer or an Apple or Android mobile device (smartphone or tablet) OR one of the many third-party players that can be purchased.

BENEFITS of using BARD: The BARD website has over 125,000 titles of books (audio = over 100,000; Braille over 21,000) and over 19,000 magazine issues!!

The easiest way to download books is using the BARD Mobile app on a mobile device; however, if you use a Windows computer, downloading the free BARD Express software from the BARD website will make it just about as easy as using BARD Mobile! Go to the BARD homepage located at to check out the screen shots and overview without logging in. If you have an Apple computer, it "unpacks" compressed files automatically so all you have to do is "move" the "unpacked" folder to the flash drive or blank digital cartridge and put the device into your talking book player to listen to the books. Flash drives and blank cartridges can hold as many books as will fit, just like the cartridges we send in the mail.

The books downloaded using BARD can be kept for as long as you like AND you don't have to wait for the United States Postal Service to bring them to you. You can build your own library to read whenever you want!

So, why not think about using BARD? Call your reader advisor to find out how to get started!

NYPL Tech Connect Classes

The New York Public Library in New York City offers a variety of online classes every week to learners across the country. You can visit and see what upcoming classes are being offered. They can include things like crafts, entrepreneurship, gaming, software, book clubs, social gatherings, foreign languages, and more!

When registering, simply input all your information. You will be asked for a library barcode, but I was able to fill out and submit a form to register for a class without one. You will receive an email with information about how to join your class, and you're ready to go! Some even have a phone in option if you're not comfortable or familiar with social networking platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts.


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 donating, 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. If you have any questions, call your reader advisor.

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.

Reading Program Donations:

  • $200 in gift cards (4 $50 gift cards) for Summer Reading from Evening Star Lions Club of Rapid City

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, October 11, 2021, Native American Day (Columbus Day)
  • Thursday, November 11, 2021, Veteran's Day
  • 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.