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. 


New public awareness coordinator for the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library

In May, the Indiana State Library Foundation hired Elizabeth Pearl to be the new public awareness coordinator for the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. As the public awareness coordinator, Elizabeth provides statewide outreach services to libraries, support groups, nursing homes and any other organization interested in utilizing and promoting talking books.

Pearl works with patrons at the Hendricks County Senior Center in June of 2017.

Elizabeth wants to spread awareness of the talking book program by talking directly to librarians, service providers and potential users. She is happy to travel throughout the state to attend events at your library or provide training to your library staff, to attend local health fairs and other community events or visit other organizations or groups interested in using or promoting the talking book program.

If you would like Elizabeth to visit your library or attend your event, you can contact her via email or call her at 1-847-770-0933.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. For more information, contact the Talking Books and Braille Library at 1-800-622-4970 or via email.

Volunteer at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana Voices program at the Indiana State Library (ISL) records Indiana-related books for patrons of the Talking Book and Braille Library. This program is only possible through the generosity of the volunteers who are involved in everything from narrating to proofreading each recording. What better way to celebration National Volunteer Month than to get involved in the recording process of audiobooks! Here are a few of the current volunteer opportunities.

Audiobook Proofreader
Indiana Voices is seeking volunteers to “proofread” new audiobooks by listening to the work in its entirety, comparing the recording to the printed work and marking discrepancies, mispronunciations and other errors. Volunteers must be detail-oriented and have a good “ear” for proofreading.

Indiana Voices studio

This position allows volunteers to work at the Indiana State Library or from home. For in-library proofreaders, shifts are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  At home volunteers can set their own hours, although completed projects must be returned in a timely manner.

Audiobook Recording Monitor
Indiana Voices is seeking volunteers to assist in recording audiobooks by monitoring the recording process while following along in a print version of the text, providing pronunciation corrections and quality control. Volunteers need to be detail-oriented, familiar with basic computer use, able to learn the recording software and have a good “ear” for pronunciation. Prior experience with recording equipment is a plus.

Indiana Voices studio

This position is flexible, with shifts available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  However, the monitor must be available to work as a team with the reader for at least one hour per week at a consistent time.

To check out these and other volunteer opportunities at the ISL, please visit here.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty and Lin Coffman from the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. For more information, contact Talking Books at 1-800-622-4970 or email

BARD Express: Now available from Talking Books

The National Library Service (NLS) has just released BARD Express for patrons of talking book libraries around the country. BARD Express is a free, Windows-based application designed to simplify searching for, downloading and transferring audio books and magazines from the BARD website to an external USB drive for use with the digital talking book players.

BARD Express is available to any talking book patron who has an active BARD account with the library. Talking Books patrons can apply for a BARD account online here; if patrons are unsure of their log in information for a current BARD account they can contact the library at or 1-800-622-4970.

BARD Express will be available to download from the BARD main page under the “Additional Links” heading. It will only work on Windows based PCs and will work with a variety of screen readers, including Window eyes, NVDA and Jaws.

For more information on BARD express, please vision the BARD Express Homepage page or watch the YouTube series “BARD Express How-To Series” from the Library of Congress.

This blog post was written by Maggie Ansty. For more information, contact the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library at 1-800-622-4970 or email

Reader Advisory Tools: What I Use

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library often gets calls from patrons who just want “something good” or more books like a certain author. While we are able to rely on our ILS for a lot of Reader Advisory assistance, sometimes something more is needed to satisfy patron requests. Here are some tools we use to help us satisfy those types of requests, please share any of your favorites!



The website has a great and fun feature called the blender, which is both helpful and fun to play with. The blender will let you pick your “ingredients” from a list, mix them together, and then display the results. You can blend genres such as romance and horror together or historical and science fiction. The results of the blender are displayed in an easy to read list with the book’s genres listed and links to amazon for more detailed reviews. This is a new discovery for me and I love playing with it.



Goodreads is one of my favorite websites to visit for my own personal reading habits. I love that I can keep track of what I’ve read and that I can usually find interesting lists that can help me find what I want to read next. While some of their lists are silly (I recently read H is for Hawk and was then directed to a list of books with birds on the covers) there are a lot of great ones that can help you to find similar authors or books to what you have just read. We also use Goodreads a lot to help up put proper subject headings on our books.

Literature Map


Literature Map is another Reader Advisory resource that I like playing with just to see what it will come up with. Literature Map allows you to type in the name of an author; it then creates a “map” with the most similar authors to the one you searched for displaying in the middle with results fanning out based on relevancy. This is a great resource to use for a patron who has read everything by their favorite author and is desperate to find a new but similar author to start reading.



Talking About Talking Books

tbblbrochDid you know that Talking Books provides free library service to any resident of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to a physical or visual disability? No? Chances are thousands of eligible Hoosiers do not know about this free service either and you are often the best method of spreading the word.

What can you do?

If you work in a library, you can help by making sure patrons who read large print or listen to audio books know that there are additional materials they can receive from the Indiana State Library. It can be through something as simple as placing some talking book brochures by these collections, or assisting a patron in ordering a book we have that you might not have in your collection. We have over 20,000 large print books and 60,000 audio books (all audio books are also available to download) that we are eager to share.

Your library can also borrow materials to loan to your patrons or to use as demonstration to show what a “Talking Book” is. We are happy to loan your library a rotating collection of large print materials that can be loaned to your patrons. After a few months, return the books and we will send you a fresh supply of books to loan. Your library can also borrow a digital talking book player that can be used to show patrons who may find the idea of digital books a scary prospect, just how easy it is. Demonstration BARD (the website were all of our audio books can be downloaded from) accounts are also available for libraries to assist patrons in downloading their own books.

Our shelves are stocked with promotional materials that we are always happy share. We have applications, brochures, magnets, pens, braille book marks, informational “fact sheets”, posters, and other items that we can send you.

We want to be a resource to help you provide exceptional service to all people.


Here are some resources to help you spread the word about Talking Books and to help you provide the best service possible to your visually and physically disabled patrons.


For further information, please contact us at

The Difference Is You: Your Service Matters

There is a special conference out there just for support staff and it is called The Difference is You.  This year’s theme, Your Service Matters, was chosen by the DIY subcommittee lead by the Indiana State Library’s staff member, Kim Brown-Harden.  This is the second year for this event which caters specifically to Indiana library staff members who do not hold a master’s degree.  Held on August 10th, at the Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Branch, it is a deal at only 25.00 per registrant.  And that includes lunch!  Registration is available through the Indiana Library Federation, which is partnering with the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Committee to produce this event.  

The Indiana State Library reached out to Paris Pegg, Director at the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library for her thoughts on the DIY event held in 2015.   

Why did you decide to send staff to the 2015 Difference is You Staff event?

“It’s always a challenge to find staff development activities that are new, fresh, different, etc.  News of the 2015 Difference is You conference came across my desk and it just seemed like a great alternative to some of the things we’ve done for staff development in the past (and the timing was right).  One highly successful staff development day involved sending teams of staff to different libraries within an hour’s drive of Richmond to see how library service works outside our own doors.  The Difference is You conference afforded us another opportunity to get out of our own space and see library service through others eyes.  MRL staff has been very insulated in this respect and I encourage them to get out and go to conferences and workshops in other locations, but because many aren’t comfortable driving long distances or in heavy traffic, we have limited opportunities.  Another consideration was the cost of the conference.  We couldn’t bring someone in to conduct the quality of workshops and the variety offered for $25 per employee!   Because of the low cost, we were able to charter a bus and get everyone to the conference without anyone having to worry about driving or traffic or parking.

Did you see a difference in your staff after they attended the event in 2015?

There was a renewed enthusiasm about library service; a renewed confidence in what we do at MRL; and a renewed interest in implementing new ideas.  Staff are still hesitant to go outside MRL if they have to drive, but they’re more willing to explore different options and get ideas from other libraries.

How often do you send support staff to off-site conferences?

We encourage them to attend at least once a year for the district conference.  Opportunities for support staff seem to be somewhat limited, but as with the district conference, we will encourage support staff to attend the Difference is You conference and do our best to make travel available.  I’m not aware of other off-site conferences that would be appropriate for support staff to attend.

Would you encourage other libraries to participate in the Difference is You staff event in 2016?

Absolutely!  I will say it is geared toward support staff in a way I’ve not seen with other conferences.  So many conferences offer “professional” development that tends to be geared more toward degreed librarians and administrators.  This conference is unique in that support staff are encouraged in their roles in the library, they are recognized for their service, and they come away with a better understanding of how “professional” applies to them, as well. 

If you have questions about Difference is You: Your Service  Matters, please reach out to Kim Brown-Harden, at the Indiana State Library:


Talking Books Wins Network Library of the Year Award

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library was recently honored by the National Library Service as the 2015 Network Library of the Year for providing outstanding service to its patrons. Innovative services provided by the library in 2015 include the introduction of duplication on demand for books only available on BARD, Vision Expo, the summer reading program for children and young adults, the technology grant that was introduced in 2015, as well as a number of things happening behind the scenes to help improve service to patrons.

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Representatives from the library attended an awards luncheon at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to accept the honor.

You can read the full press release about the award here.