‘Winter Wonderland Story Hour’

By the time the middle of December rolls around, kids are ready for a snowy morning. Regardless of whether or not it’s snowing on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, the Indiana State Library invites children to join in on some winter-themed fun from 10:30-11:30 a.m. inside of the library. The Talking Book and Braille Library and the Indiana Young Readers Center have put together “Winter Wonderland Story Hour,” a story time that will be filled with books, activities and a winter-y snack. While the program has been designed for readers who are blind or vision impaired, all children are encouraged to attend. Stories, read by ISL staff and Talking Book Library patrons, will be interactive. Children will follow along as “An Old Lady Swallows Some Snow” and help an assortment of stuffed animals take shelter in a lost mitten. Snacks will be provided in the Great Hall, which will be decked out in its holiday best.

Sledding in Broad Ripple Park, circa 1900. Courtesy of Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.

Parents or guardians should plan on being present for the duration of the event. Older siblings, grandparents and other adults are welcome to come along. There are 20 spaces available for children and registration is required. This event will be most appropriate for children in third grade and under.

For more event details and to register click here.

This blog post was written by Kate McGinn, reader advisor and outreach consultant for the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library, Indiana State Library.

Indiana Voices – Volunteers are what make it happen

Indiana Voices produces audio books for the blind and visually or physically-impaired citizens of our state and would not exist were it not for the active participation by numerous dedicated volunteers. The purpose of this blog is to share the details of their roles that are critical to the success of this program.

Narrators
Our narrators are the “voices” behind Indiana Voices. At present, there are 14 individuals who come in to our studio at the Indiana State Library for a least an hour a week to read a title that has been assigned to them. The books that are chosen by the director of the program must fit within the criteria for books to record for our program. The titles, which can be both fiction and nonfiction, are either written by a Hoosier author, are about our state in some way or may have a plot that places the story in Indiana.

Individuals wishing to narrate for Indiana Voices must complete an audition in order to be evaluated for suitability to read for the program. A good narrator needs to have a natural ability to convey the material that they share with our patrons in an interesting, and engaging manner. Narrators must be willing to make a long-term commitment of time, as producing an audio book can often take weeks or months to complete. It is also important for the narrator to be willing to research the text they have been assigned in order to understand the pronunciation of words and the pacing needed to enhance the patron’s listening experience. The best narrators are those that are able to “disappear” during the recording so that the listener is able to lose themselves in the text.

Audio Monitors
Audio monitors serve another critical role in the production of audio books for Indiana Voices. These volunteers learn how to operate the specialized software that is used to record the narrators they’re teamed up with as they read through their assigned text. The monitor’s job is to confirm the audio quality during each recording session and they are also responsible for maintaining a consistent sound level throughout the narration.

The audio monitor also serves another important role by providing a high level of quality control. To accomplish this, this volunteer reads along with the narrator to assure that the recording is as true to the written text as possible; listening for errors such as missed or added words, mispronunciations, awkward phrasing or other such inaccuracies. When these do occur, it is the monitor’s job to see that these mistakes are corrected.

Audio Book Reviewer
This book reviewer position works independently of the studio setting, but is just as important as any of other roles of Indiana Voices. The reviewer is the final step for assuring the accuracy of the audio book recording.

Reviewers are provided the initial recording of a completed audio book along with a printed copy of the text and an edit log. The reviewer then listens to the audio recording and follows along with the text noting on the log sheet any errors or inaccuracies that may have been missed during the original recording and then returning it to Indiana Voices. Using this log sheet as a guide, the recording can then be corrected and finalized into a finished audio book.

Audio Editor
The audio editor reviews audio files for errors that have occurred during the recording process and makes needed corrections to these files. Once this adjustments have been made, the edited titles can be moved along to a final review and to their ultimate completion as a finished audio book. Audio editors must learn the software needed for editing, have an ability to multitask, possess strong reading and listening skills and be detail oriented.

The role of audio editor requires more than just technical skills, but also an ascetic ability. Good editors are able to compose a recording in such a way that corrections are able to match so well with the original recording that the integrity of the natural flow of the text is maintained.

Volunteer Opportunities
Indiana Voices is always looking for variety of different volunteers to fill openings as they occur. At present, possible volunteer opportunities are for narrator/monitor teams (two individuals are needed to apply together), audio monitors and audio editors.

Persons interested in learning more about these opportunities are encouraged to email Director of Indiana Voices Linden Coffman, call 317-232-3683 or check the Indiana State Library website.

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices.

Vision Expo returns September 14

Please join the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library as it hosts the Indiana Vision Expo on Saturday, Sept, 14, 2019  from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Indiana State Library.

The Indiana Vision Expo provides an opportunity for people with vision loss – and their friends, families and service providers – to learn about the resources available that help promote independent living. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the Talking Book staff as well as fellow Talking Book patrons.

The Vision Expo will feature our usual wide variety of vendors and nonprofit agencies who provide the latest in adaptive technology, independent living aids and other resources for all ages. New vendors this year include the Indianapolis Bowling League for the Blind and Simplified Insurance Solutions.

Our program will include presentations by Bosma Enterprises and Easterseals Crossroads at 10:30 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.,respectively.

Please check our website as the event approaches for more details, including information about parking and a complete list of participating vendors.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

Recommended titles from the Indiana Voices collection

Indiana Voices, the program at the Indiana State Library that records Indiana related books and magazines for patrons of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library, works hard to select books to record that we feel will be something that can be enjoyed by a wide range of Indiana library patrons. We record books about notable Hoosiers, books by Indiana authors that fall into popular genres like cozy mysteries and westerns and books set in Indiana. The program strives to produce audiobooks that captivate, motivate and educate the listener. Many of the books we record are selected from the books housed in the Indiana Authors Room at the Indiana State Library and would not otherwise be available for patrons to enjoy in an accessible format.

Indiana Authors Room

In keeping with that goal, here are a few selections that are currently available through the Indiana Voices program.

Mystery
“Murder on the Bucket List (A Bucket List Mystery)” by Elizabeth Perona

The septuagenarian women of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club have gathered in secret late one July night to check skinny-dipping off their bucket list. But as Francine observes, the jittery members seem more obsessed with body issues and elaborate preparations than actually stripping down and getting in the pool. A pungent smell emanating from the pool shed provides a perfect distraction. When a dead body flops out, it’s an answered prayer for Charlotte, since the first item on her list is to solve a murder.

Thus begins an unexpected adventure for these eccentric seniors filled with unseen twists and turns with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure

Westerns
“Cotton’s War” by Phil Dunlap

As sheriff of Catron County in New Mexico Territory, Cotton Burke has put his life on the line against some of the West’s most unrepentant outlaws, like Virgil Cruz; who’s kidnapped the woman Cotton loves and threatens to kill her should the lawman attempt to interfere with his gang’s schemes.

Memphis Jack Stump used to wear a badge and uphold justice until one drink too many cost him his job, and his friendship with Cotton. But he’s the only man Cotton trusts enough to infiltrate Cruz’s gang as a hired gun and help take them down from the inside before the bandit enacts a terrible revenge.

Biographies
“Richard G. Lugar, Statesman of the Senate: Crafting Foreign Policy from Capitol Hill” by John T. Shaw

In this illuminating profile, John T. Shaw examines Lugar’s approach to lawmaking and diplomacy for what it reveals about the workings of the Senate and changes in that institution. Drawing on interviews with Lugar and other leading figures in foreign policy, Shaw chronicles Lugar’s historic work on nuclear proliferation, arms control, energy and global food issues, highlighting the senator’s ability to influence American foreign policy in consequential ways.

“Gene Stratton-Porter: Novelist and Naturalist” by Judith Reick Long

When Gene Stratton-Porter died in 1924, she was one of America’s most popular novelists and the best-known Indiana author. In this first complete account of Stratton-Porter’s life, Judith Reick Long reveals the author of sentimental and simple nature tales as a much more complex individual than she has heretofore been considered.

Her best-known novel, “A Girl of the Limberlost,” is about a lonely, poverty-stricken girl who lives on a farm in Adams County and escapes from her sorrows in the Limberlost Swamp. She wrote 12 novels, three books of poetry, children’s books, magazine articles and seven nature studies.

Classic Hoosier Literature
“The Hoosier-Schoolmaster” by Edward Eggleston

This cherished tale is considered a milestone in American literature, a monument to regional writing. Edward Eggleston’s account of the adventures of a young schoolmaster in a 19th century school system in rural Southern Indiana presents a vivid and readable chapter in the history of America and American education.

Contemporary Fiction
“Mother Night” by Kurt Vonnegut

“Mother Night” is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.

And there are so many more…

These highlighted titles are just a few choices when it comes to recommended audiobooks available from Indiana Voices. Just about any genre that suits your fancy is available through our program and we are adding more all the time.

Here are just a taste of the titles that are currently in the Indiana Voices pipeline:

“Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500”
“A Dark and Stormy Murder (A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery)”
“Hudson Lake (A Jazz Age Novel)”
“Undeniably Indiana: Hoosiers Tell the Story of Their Wacky and Wonderful State”
“Our Service, Our Stories – Indiana Veterans Recall Their World War II Experiences”
“Letters from Skye (A Love Story spanning two World Wars)”
“Life and Death in Kolofata: An American Doctor in Africa”
“Pioneers of the Hardwood: Indiana and the Birth of Professional Basketball”

To view a complete list of books in the Indiana Voices collection, visit our online catalog, search for “Indiana” and select “subject.” Then choose “Indiana Digital Voices” from the media drop down list. To sign up to receive Indiana Digital Books, or to learn more about the Talking Book Library, please contact us at 1-800-622-4970 or via email. You can also download Indiana Voices books from BARD by searching for “Indiana.”

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about the Talking Book and Braille Library, call 1-800-622-4970 or send an email.

February Talking Book and Braille Library book club selection

The next meeting of the Talking Book and Braille Library’s book club will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Central. We will be reading “Ginny Moon” by Benjamin Ludwig, which is available in audio (DB 88585) and braille (BR 22202). Ginny is an autistic 14-year-old who has been adopted after years in foster care. Her fragile new life is threatened, however, when her obsessive need to get her baby doll back brings her dangerous birth mother into her life again.

Participants can join the discussion by calling our dial in number, 1-240-454-0887, and entering the conference code, 736 597 563#. Participants may also request that the library call them at the appointed time.

Please let us know if you are interested in participating so that we can contact you about any unexpected changes to either the schedule or call in information. You can request a copy of “Ginny Moon” and let us know you are interested in participating by contacting Laura Williams at 1-800-622-4970 or via email.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

Talking Book and Braille Library November Book Club

There is one more chance this year to participate in the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Book Club! The final meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m.Central. The book we will be reading and discussing is “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles, which is available to Talking Book patrons in audio (DB 86668), braille (BR 21741) and large print (LP 20739).

The novel follows an itinerant news reader as he escorts a ten-year-old white girl back to her family after her rescue from a Native American tribe. Participants can join the discussion by calling our toll-free dial in number, 877-422-1931, and entering the conference code 8762032518. Participants may also request that the library call them at the appointed time.

To request the book and to let us know that you are interested in attending, please contact Laura Williams via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

Creating a title for Indiana Voices

Earlier this year, I posted a blog entry about how books are selected for inclusion into the Indiana Voices audiobook collection. This time around I thought that I might share about the process that goes into taking the selected book from its printed form and turning it into either an audiobook on cartridge or a downloadable version for the Library of Congress National Library Service BARD website.

There are multiple steps needed to complete this process, including the aforementioned title selection. After selecting a title, the next step is pairing the book with the right narrator. Many of our program’s narrators are good at reading just about anything, but there are some that just seem to have the right voice for a particular genre. I like to match them up with the types of books that they seem to best convey.

Next, we move on the heart and soul of the process; the actual narration of the book.  Narrators must read ahead to get a feel for the structure and composition of the book and how they need to approach it. Narrators also have to read ahead in order to look for unfamiliar words, names or geographical locations, in order to get the correct pronunciations down.

The narration can take anywhere from six weeks to eleven months or longer to complete, depending on the length of the book. At present, the longest I have worked on getting one title recorded was about two years, but that did include a few breaks for that particular narrator to work on other recordings.

Once a title is recorded, it moves on to the next step, which is proofreading for errors. During the recording process, the narrator and the person monitoring the recording can only catch so many errors. That’s why this step is so critical. It ensures the accuracy of the recording by having another set of ears listen to the book as they read along with the printed text. The proofreader logs any mistakes that may have occurred. These errors could include omitted words, added words, mispronunciations or other such discrepancies that may have happened during the original recording.

After a title is proofread, the log sheet is checked and the discovered errors are corrected. This usually involves having the original narrator come in and re-read some of the text from the book.

The final step of the process is to add the electronic markers onto the completed recording so titles, annotations, chapter headings and such can be accessed during playback. The finished audiobook it is now ready to be either transferred to a cartridge or uploaded to the NLS BARD website.

Learn more about Indiana Voices by visiting this link.

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about the Talking Book and Braille Library, call 1-800-622-4970 or send an email.

Join the new Talking Book & Braille Library book club

The Indiana Talking Book & Braille Library is excited to announce the launch of a new book club! Since Talking Book patrons are located throughout the state, this will not be your normal type of library book club; rather, our book club will meet by conference call so you can participate from the comfort of your own home.

The first meeting will take place via conference call at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Participants can join the discussion by calling our toll-free dial in number, (877) 422-1931, and entering the conference code, 8762032518. We will be discussing “A Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline, which is available in braille (BR 21873), audio (DB 87630) and large print (LP 20372). This novel is a historical fiction work about the life of Christina Olson, who was the model for Andrew Wyeth’s famous 1948 painting “Christina’s World.”

Our second meeting will take place at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 using the same dial-in number and conference code as above. We will be discussing Fredrik Bachman’s “A Man Called Ove,” in which a grumpy, yet lovable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. It is available in braille (BR 21609), audio (DB 84392) and large print (LP 19517).

To request the books and to let us know you are interested in attending, please contact Laura Williams at 1 (800) 622-4970 or via email. If you are not a Talking Book patron and would like to attend our book club, please feel free to borrow the book from your local public library and join us. All are welcome.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

Audio book choices for Indiana Voices

Indiana Voices, part of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library at the Indiana State Library, records Indiana-related materials for residents of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to visual or physical disabilities. In the past few years, the reach of the Indiana Voices program has expanded as the National Library Service (NLS) has allowed the inclusion of locally recorded materials to their Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service for patrons nationwide to download and enjoy.

Since the process of recording a book is so time consuming, we put a lot of thought into each book we choose for recording. Just because a book meets the Indiana-related criteria for the program does not mean that we will be able to record it. When choosing books to record we take into account positive reviews for a book, whether the book covers a subject of interest to our patrons, whether the book covers a subject our collection is lacking in and whether the books is available in an accessible format elsewhere.

Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV visited the Indiana Voices studio in January.

The most important criteria for what books should be added to the collection is rather simple: What do our patrons want to read? Our patrons tend to enjoy mysteries, westerns, religious fiction and historical fiction, along with non-fiction topics like war diaries, biographies and true crime. Patrons also always enjoy books by classic Hoosier authors such as George Barr McCutcheon, Meredith Nicholson, Booth Tarkington and Gene Stratton-Porter. These titles are easily available by simply perusing the book collection located in the Indiana Authors Room here at the state library.

Indiana Voices is always open to input from Talking Book and Braille Library patrons as to what types of titles they would like to see added to the collection. If you would like to make a suggestion, please feel free to contact Linden Coffman via email or via phone at (317) 232-3683.

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about the Talking Book and Braille Library, call 1(800) 622-4970 or send an email.

Dick Wolfsie learns about Indiana Voices at the Indiana State Library

Recently, Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV stopped by the Indiana State Library to learn more about the Indiana Voices program. He met with Indiana Voices studio director, Linden Coffman, to get a basic understanding of what Indiana Voices is and how the program works. While he was here, he also met two recording studio volunteers, Nelson Goud and Stuart Remali, to see what it is like to be a volunteer in the recording studio for Indiana Voices. Watch the videos and check out some pictures from his visit below.

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library provides library service to Indiana residents who cannot use standard printed materials due to a visual or physical disability. Indiana Voices is a program within the Talking Book Library that focuses on recording books by Indiana authors or with another Indiana connection that otherwise would not be available in an accessible format.

Watch WISH-TV’s news segment videos here.

For eligibility requirements and applications for the Talking Book program, please visit the Talking Book and Braille website, email us or call us at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library.