Inside this Issue
Happy fall, y'all! It's hard to believe we're closing in on another year in the books, 2023 will be here before we know it!
We've had a lot going on in the library over the past several months. Our Braille eReader pilot program has launched in conjunction with NLS and the state of Utah, and many of our patrons who read Braille are happily wrapped up in Braille books now. If you're a Braille reader and are interested in learning more about how the refreshable Braille display works, contact your reader advisor for more information!
We've also launched our NFB-NEWSLINE service. This service allows patrons to use their landline or cellular telephone to dial in and read news, emergency alerts, get the TV and grocery listings, and eventually even read the local news—our contract for that is still pending, but we should shortly be able to offer the papers from Sioux Falls and Rapid City, and the Aberdeen paper is live now! If you'd like to sign up for this valuable service, please call your reader advisor. Once you are signed up, you will get a call from me with all your log in information and the phone numbers to call. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can also download the app, but my fellow Android users and I will have to wait a while longer.
Speaking of our reader advisors, we've tweaked their patron lists a bit. Lynda still covers patrons whose last names start A through H, as well as students and children. Lynette is now serving patrons whose last names start I through V, and Marcia is serving patrons with last names W through Z, as well as nursing home and facility residents.
We are wrapping up a successful adult summer reading challenge program and are so grateful to the nearly 40 patrons who participated this summer. We are enjoying reading everyone's answers to the challenge questions and getting feedback on which books you loved, and which you loved to hate. Keep an eye out for the next adult reading challenge, coming this winter!
Our social club is wrapping up its first year, and with it some changes. Monthly attendance is down, and we think it's more sensible to try holding quarterly social clubs. In October, we'll be hearing from some statewide consumer organizations, the South Dakota Association for the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of South Dakota. We will then meet again after the new year. If you have a topic you'd like covered, let me know!
Finally, our Aberdeen studio is officially up and ready to record. Josh Easter has been hard at work getting it set up and equipped at the SD School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is now training volunteer narrators to start recording materials there. He's also traveling around the state to work with new recruits in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Vermillion. We're excited to get South Dakota materials produced for your reading pleasure!
Barb and Mike are continuing to plug away in talking book equipment and circulation distribution respectively. I am busily keeping things moving with our multiple contracts and keeping things running as smoothly as possible. As always, we are open to your feedback, which you can provide to me at any time by phone at
There is no problem too small, no question we can't try to answer. Enjoy the cooler weather and see you in the next newsletter!
Kate Kosior, SD
Student Shadows BTBL Staff
This past spring, South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library manager Kate Kosior received an email from eager patron Blaine Jemming, a junior at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Aberdeen. After visiting the library last summer, Blaine decided it was his dream place to work, so in his email he inquired about the possibility of doing a summer internship. Kate was intrigued by the idea, but also knew that due to patron confidentiality concerns and the lack of a structured internship program at the state library, it would be difficult. She brought it up with the rest of the staff, and everyone agreed that a full summer internship was not likely. However, the staff wanted to give Blaine the opportunity to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes and offered him the chance to shadow everyone as they went about their regular duties.
Blaine and his grandmother, Theresa Jemming, agreed to the dates presented and Blaine arrived at the library on August 9 for the start of his two-day experience. Although Blaine had been to the library before, the building had recently undergone some major renovations, and Blaine had to re-learn his way around. That was the first difference he'd noticed from his previous visit.
On the first day, Blaine spent part of the morning with director Kate to learn about administration of the program, which he first thought was 'just observing the staff as they do their jobs'. He enjoyed hearing about Kate's background and how her degrees help her with her job at the library. Blaine then participated in a monthly staff meeting, where he found it interesting that everyone got to share their own perspectives and ideas for the program. Afterwards, he went and learned more about the talking book equipment circulation part of the program with Barb Nickolas, who sends and receives talking book players and items like headphones to patrons. Blaine said, "I was surprised to hear all about what she does before the machines ever go out!"
After lunch, Blaine felt confident enough to send Theresa (who the entire staff called "Grandma") off for a relaxing afternoon while he made his way into the recording studio with Josh Easter, who runs the volunteer program and studios statewide. Blaine had the opportunity to record the book "Go to Sleep, Groundhog!" by Judy Cox, and follow through from reading to editing. He thought it was 'cool' how all the South Dakota books get created and approved, but the most surprising thing about his visit was just how long it takes to turn a picture book into an approved audio version for distribution. While the completed product was just about seven minutes long, it took Blaine and Josh a couple of hours to complete the project!
On the second day, Blaine got put to work. He spent the morning with distribution guru (circulation technician) Mike Smith, who taught Blaine all the ins and outs of creating and mailing out cartridges full of books for BTBL patrons to read. When they finished the day's run, they reversed the process and checked books in that had arrived in the day's mail. By the end of the two-hour session, Blaine stated, "It was interesting and fun, but I was ready to be done. It was a little boring!" he added with a laugh.
For the rest of the time, reader advisors Lynda Lowin and Lynette Thum stepped up to show Blaine the ropes of being a reader advisor, which he had identified as his dream job, as he would "love to be able to help patrons." He was impressed at how knowledgeable the reader advisors are when it comes to individual patrons and their reading preferences, signing them up for new services like NFB-NEWSLINE, and keeping tabs on which patrons are due for service checks. Finally, Blaine got to participate in the recycling program, helping to ship back cassette tapes from â€˜the old days' of the library.
Blaine and Grandma also attended a team lunch with new State Librarian George Seamon, took photos, and by the end of those two days, were navigating the library like they'd always been there.
At the end of the shadowing experience, Blaine was asked if knowing all the parts of the different jobs that needed to be done, had it changed his mind about wanting to work at the library. He replied with a big smile, "Nope! This is definitely what I want to do someday!"
Currency Reader Program
The South Dakota Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired has signed on with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to provide Currency Readers out of the SD Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls.
From the BEP website:
iBill® is a currency reader device that provides a convenient means for blind or visually impaired individuals to identify Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency). Its compact "keyfob" design allows it to be carried in a pocket or purse, clipped to a belt, or attached to a keychain or lanyard. The iBill® is a fast and accurate means to identify all U.S. currency in circulation: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. It is convenient and easy to use. Simply insert a note into the device, press a button on the side, and the denomination will be identified.
The devices are provided free of charge to eligible individuals. Sandy Neyhart of SDSBVI says that interested individuals can fill out an application, found online at
or by calling your reader advisor at the SD Braille and Talking Book Library. Completed applications should be returned to SDRC, 2900 W. 11th St., Suite 101 Sioux Falls, SD 57104.
The iBill® will be shipped to you from Sioux Falls, saving roughly 3-5 weeks of delivery time. Unfortunately, no money is included!
2022 Ballot Questions
The South Dakota 2022 Ballot Questions pamphlet will be available in audio, large print, and a few copies in Braille. This is for the 2022 November General Election Ballot Measures. The SD 2022 Ballot Questions pamphlet contains the title, explanation, and effect of a vote for each ballot question provided by the Attorney General and statements from proponents and opponents of initiated measures, constitutional amendments, or referred laws. Contact us if you want a copy. You can also go to the
SD Secretary of State website web link
to listen to the audio or print off a copy.
New Suicide Prevent Hotline Number
Many people in South Dakota and across the country struggle with mental health and feelings of isolation, loneliness, and sadness. Sometimes those feelings become overwhelming, and when people feel hopeless, thoughts sometimes turn to suicide. Did you know that individuals with disabilities are at a higher risk for suicide, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine? And South Dakota is at a ten year high for suicide deaths currently.
Consequently, this summer Governor Noem announced a new task force to help address these issues among South Dakotans. There is a new number to call if you would like to speak with a crisis volunteer for free, confidential help. Simply dial 988 any time of the day or night, and a trained volunteer will listen to your worries and help you find the resources you need to pull through. You may also visit SDSuicidePrevention.org or BeThe1SD.org for additional information or to chat with a crisis volunteer online. Finally, if you'd like to text with a trained volunteer, text the word "connect" to 741741.
This month's book recommendations come from you! We've compiled the Top 10 most downloaded books by our BARD users this month. See what you think and don't forget to ask your reader advisor to help you order these if any of them strike your fancy!
- 10. "Quicksilver" by Dean R Koontz
Raised in an orphanage, never knowing his parents, Quinn Quicksilver had a happy if unexceptional life--until the day of "strange magnetism." Now Quinn is on the run from government agents, and who knows what else, fleeing for his life.
- 9. "Dream Town" by David Baldacci
Private investigator and World War II veteran Aloysius Archer heads to Los Angeles to ring in the new year with old friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. But their evening is interrupted by screenwriter Eleanor Lamb, who fears for her life. Archer takes the case, but Eleanor soon disappears after a body is found in her home.
- 8. "Sea Glass Cottage" by Irene Hannon
Christi Reece arrived in Hope Harbor reeling from a series of setbacks and desperate for help. But Jack Colby wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him--until a turn of events finds him needing her help.
- 7. "19 Minutes to Live: Helicopter Combat in Vietnam"
Over 12,000 helicopters were used in the Vietnam War, which is why it became known as "The Helicopter War." Almost half of the helicopters, 5,086, were lost. Helicopter pilots and crews accounted for nearly ten percent of all the U. S. casualties suffered in Vietnam, with nearly 5,000 killed and an untold number of wounded. Lew Jennings flew over 700 Air Cavalry Cobra Gunship Helicopter missions and received three Distinguished Flying Crosses for Valor. This memoir describes first-hand the harrowing experiences of helicopter pilots and crews in combat operations, from the far South to the DMZ, including the infamous Ashau Valley, Hamburger Hill, LZ Airborne, and others. 19 Minutes to Live illustrates the incredible courage and determination of helicopter pilots and crews supporting those heroes that carried a rucksack and a rifle in Vietnam.
- 6. "Before Summer Ends" by Susan Mallery
When Nissa Lang's house-sitting job falls through, she's left with no place to stay for the summer. While she's figuring out what to do, her old family friend Desmond Stilling hears about her dilemma and invites her to stay on his palatial estate.
- 5. "Death of the Black Widow" by James Patterson and J.D. Barker
On his first night with the Detroit Police Department, Officer Walter O'Brien is called to a murder scene. A terrified twenty-year-old has bludgeoned her kidnapper with suspicious skill. She later disappears. When Walter is promoted to detective, he tries to track her down, but finds he's not the only one searching for her.
- 4. "A Family Affair" by Robyn Carr
Anna McNichol has always worked to ensure her three children have every advantage she didn't. And while her marriage has its problems, she believes in "till death do us part." But life can change in an instant, and when her husband dies suddenly, Anna's carefully constructed world falls apart.
- 3. "22 Seconds" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
San Francisco Police Department Sergeant Lindsay Boxer has guns on her mind, thanks to the buzz of a last-ditch shipment of drugs and weapons crossing the southern border ahead of new, restrictive gun laws. But before she can act, her top informant tells her of former cops participating in professional hits and leaving threatening messages.
- 2. "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens
In late 1969, when Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals of Barkley Cove, North Carolina, immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home.
- 1. "Sparring Partners" by John Grisham
In his first collection of novellas, law is a common thread, but America's favorite storyteller has several surprises in store. "Homecoming" takes us back to Ford County, the fictional setting of many of John Grisham's unforgettable stories. Jake Brigance is back, but he's not in the courtroom. He's called upon to help an old friend, Mack Stafford, a former lawyer in Clanton, who three years earlier became a local legend when he stole money from his clients, divorced his wife, filed for bankruptcy, and left his family in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again--until now. Now Mack is back, and he's leaning on his old pals, Jake and Harry Rex, to help him return. His homecoming does not go as planned. In "Strawberry Moon," we meet Cody Wallace, a young death row inmate only three hours away from execution. His lawyers can't save him, the courts slam the door, and the governor says no to a last-minute request for clemency. As the clock winds down, Cody has one final request. The "Sparring Partners" are the Malloy brothers, Kirk and Rusty, two successful young lawyers who inherited a once prosperous firm when its founder, their father, was sent to prison. Kirk and Rusty loathe each other, and speak to each other only when necessary. As the firm disintegrates, the resulting fiasco falls into the lap of Diantha Bradshaw, the only person the partners trust. Can she save the Malloys, or does she take a stand for the first time in her career and try to save herself? By turns suspenseful, hilarious, powerful, and moving, these are three of the greatest stories John Grisham has ever told.
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: Edna Sprecher, Nadine Wunder, Viola Vansickle
The talking book library made a difference in Edna's life because the talking books made the time go by faster so she didn't' get so bored. Edna recalls her parents and teachers reading to her as a child. She enjoys reading in her easy chair. Her all-time favorite book is The Bible. Other hobbies Edna enjoys are playing BINGO, card games, and singing hymns. Enda commented on how having nothing has changed to having computers and social media and how this has made living much easier.
Congratulations to Edna for being inducted into the 10 Square Club on September 7, 2022.
The talking book library made a difference in Nadine's life because she can still do devotions and listen to some of her favorite authors. Nadine unfortunately has no recall of reading as a child or who read to her. She enjoys reading in her favorite chair. Her all-time favorite book is The Bible. Other hobbies Nadine enjoys are BINGO games, listening to church services and being with family. She spent many winters in Arizona playing shuffleboard and won many trophies. She also taught herself to cook, sew and crochet.
Congratulations to Nadine for being inducted into the 10 Square Club on April 29, 2022.
Viola Vansickle was inducted into the SD Braille and Talking Book elite 10 Square Club on April 25, 2022. The talking book library made a difference in her life by allowing her to continue reading since she lost her vision. She remembers her mom reading to her as a child. Her favorite place to read is in her living room in her recliner. She enjoyed reading stories of pioneer living, history and biographies. Other activities Viola enjoyed was belonging the "Happy Hookers" crochet club, Mall walking and going to Rummage Sales. She and her husband worked in a shipyard during WWII and they owned a bait shop. They enjoyed sharing stories and especially enjoyed the salmon Doctor Barton brought to them from Alaska.
Adult Summer Reading Challenge 2022
The Adult Summer Reading Challenge took place June 1-August 26, 2022.
Interested readers who registered received a customized Adult Summer Reading Challenge cartridge with 6 books from various genres. Multiple staff members chose books this time.
We had 29 patrons sign up for the program and 13 returned the questionnaire or gave us answers over the phone. Participants who answered questions about the books were entered in a prize drawing held at the end of the program. The drawing was held live at the BTBL Social Club challenge books discussion on Zoom on August 29, 2022. Natasha won the cooler tote and another surprise!
Join us for the 2023 Adult Winter Reading Challenge in February and March 2023.
Are there any books you would recommend fellow library patrons read? We want to know. Share the titles you would recommend by calling or emailing your reader advisor and we may use them for a future reading challenge.
We've collected comments from our patrons about the 2022 Summer Challenge books and thought it would be fun to share some with you.
Question: Name one "greenlight" moment you have experienced.
- One Greenlight experience for me is me learning to walk around the mall for the first time. I have never done that before and it was new.
- A "green light" moment for me was when I told my family about the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and they said, "go for it we believe you can do the program."
- Making a major life change by leaving our home and the area of our lives by moving to a new location in another state. Knowing only a handful of people and getting re-established in our 60's was not easy but we did it!
- I had cataract surgery which was supposed to help me see better, instead it accelerated my journey into blindness. I took that as a greenlight to learn braille, how to use JAWS and other tips and tricks to being a blind person.
Question: Could this book be made into a movie and why?
- Without a doubt! PTSD and domestic violence are prevalent in today's society. Instead of not talking about it, it needs to be addressed and help given to all involved.
- Yes, I think it could be made into a movie. It has all the elements needed for a great movie. Gorgeous scenery, mental illness, some violence, young love, tragedy, self defense/murder and cover up and triumph over tragedy.
- I think this should be made into a movie because there are so many ups and downs in life and through all of this crazy thing we call life, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Question: Have you ever witnessed someone with a disability being treated poorly? How did that make you feel?
- I have never witnessed someone with a disability being treated poorly, but if I did it would make me mad and I would speak up for that person. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
- Experienced it myself with mobility problems. accessible buildings and sidewalks, wheelchair access.
- No, I never have. And if I ever do, the person that's doing the mistreatment will know that I have.
Question: What is your favorite conspiracy theory?
- She says she saw these lights above the farm she lived on when her kids were small.
- My favorite conspiracy theory is that big foot is real because people have found foot prints and pictures but none of them are clear.
- That we never landed on the moon in 1969 and that it was all done by Hollywood film production tricks. This is not true.
Question: Bobby Moch was Jewish. Knowing what he knew about Germany, are you surprised he went? Would you have gone?
- I was not at all surprised the Bobby Moch went to Germany in 1936. USA was in a deep depression in 1929 and we had no safety nets for the people and Roosevelt was just getting started on recovery. Would I have gone? Yes! Of course being a female in the era - could I have gone? No!
- He went to lawyer school. No I would have went home and used what I learn to do things, fix up things.
- Yes I was surprised that he had gone to Germany. I don't think I would have gone if I were Bobby.
Question: How has reading this book impacted you? What are your takeaways?
- Me, being blind doesn't stop me from doing the things that I want to do. Yes, I'm blind but I can still do things like everyone else. I think that other people with and without disabilities should read this because it reminds us that we can do anything that we want!
- Just because I'm blind doesn't mean I should sit in a corner and feel sorry for myself. The possibilities are almost endless to what a blind person can do. One of My takeaways is if there is a need out there, instead of waiting for someone else to come up with a solution, find one myself.
- This book has made me want to do more, and that I can achieve more then I think.
What are some of your recent favorite books you've read? We want to know. Give us Some ideas for future reading challenges or patron recommendations articles.
Upcoming Social Club Dates
We are continuing our virtual programming 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 2022.
- Oct. 31: A Visit with National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and South Dakota Association of the Blind (SDAB)
2 PM Central/1 PM Mountain Time
- Dec. 19: Holiday Book Club
2 PM Central/1 PM Mountain Time
Let us know if you want to be reminded about Social Club by email or phone.
2022 Youth Summer Reading Program
The 2022 South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library (SD BTBL ) summer reading program theme was "Oceans of Possibilities." The aquatic themed program ran eight weeks from June 5 to July 30, 2022 and was open to all registered library patrons birth to 19. We had several videos with one highlighting world oceans day, a Storytime with Kate, and the early bird registration and end of program drawings. You can check out the videos on our library
We had 40 patrons birth-19 who registered. 16 patrons returned their reading charts.
For the end of program drawing we had four winners of the $50 Amazon gift cards donated by the Eastern Star Lions Club of Rapid City (won by Jaxon, Taisley, Tysen, Jeren) and an android tablet purchased with gift funds from library patron donations (won by Lincoln).
We will be holding our 2023 Youth Winter Reading Program during the month of February. If you have any questions please contact:
1-605-773-3131 Option 1, 4;
1-800-423-6665 Option 1, 4; or
We also have an Adult Winter Reading Challenge planned for older readers that senior high and up students can participate in.
Educational Materials Order reminder
Contact Lynda Lowin to order Braille or Large print textbooks and learning materials for patrons K-12. Applications to sign a qualifying student up for services and the Textbook order form are located on our website.
While materials can be ordered year-round, to assure they will be available for the start of the fall 2023 semester, orders must be received by January 15, 2023.
Questions, please contact:
Lynda Lowin, Educational Materials Coordinator/ Reader Advisor:
1-605-773-3131 Option 1, 1;
1-800-423-6665 Option 1, 1; or
Gifts and Donations
The SD Braille and Talking Book Library thanks all our generous donors who have made contributions to the library in the past several months.
4 $50 gift cards prizes
Evening Star Lions Club of Rapid City
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 and winter reading programs . 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.
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 10, 2022, Native American Day (Columbus Day)
- Friday, November 11, 2022, Veteran's Day
- Thursday/Friday, November 24-25, 2022, Thanksgiving
- Monday, December 26, 2022, Christmas Day (observed)
- Monday, January 2, 2023, for New Year's Day (observed)
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.
The Prairie Trails Newsletter is our means of communication with all patrons of the South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library. The Prairie Trails Newsletter is made available in digital audio on cartridge, or via email, and is posted on our website in large print and audio.
If you have any questions or comments, or wish to request this newsletter in an alternative format, please contact the SD Braille and Talking Book Library.
South Dakota Braille and Talking Book Library
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2235
1-800-423-6665 (in SD Only)
The SD BTBL does not endorse any service or product listed in this newsletter.
Masthead photo of prairie grasses and pasque flower with sunrise courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism © 2019 .