Talking Book and Braille Book Club October meeting

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library will be having a meeting of the Talking Book and Braille Book Club on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Central. We will be reading “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, which is available in audio (DB 81189), braille (BR 23299) and large print (LP 19795).

The novel is set in France, 1939. Vianne Mauriac sends her husband off to war, while her younger sister Isabelle runs off to Paris, claiming an affair. Once there, Isabelle becomes involved in the Resistance. Vianne’s home is occupied by the invading Nazis. Please note that that “The Nightingale” includes violence, strong language and some descriptions of sex. “The Nightingale” was the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for historical fiction and will be adapted into a film starring sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning, scheduled to be released in December 2022.

You can request a copy of “The Nightingale” and let us know you are interested in participating by contacting Abby Chumin at 1-800-622-4970 or via email. If you want to participate via the Zoom app, we will send you a link via email. For those wishing to join by phone, a number will be provided.

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

Duplication on Demand transition complete!

In March, the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library completed the transition of its service model from sending patrons one book on one cartridge to Duplication on Demand, which sends patrons up to ten books per cartridge based on their requests and subject preferences. The same player and cartridge are used as before. Each cartridge includes a mailing card that lists its contents. Patrons should not attempt to return this card with the cartridge, but instead discard it or keep it for their records. There is an address sticker on each cartridge that ensures its return to the library.

There are many benefits to this change for both staff and patrons. Staff can duplicate up to 20 cartridges at a time. The number of physical items circulating through the library has decreased, allowing mail to be processed more efficiently. Patrons now have access to newly-published books more quickly, and there are no wait lists for popular titles. Cartridges can be easily customized for patrons wanting a series of books, or several books by the same author. Thousands of older titles that previously had to be ordered from offsite are now available immediately. All the Indiana Voices titles are also available through Duplication on Demand.

To access the titles on DoD cartridges patrons can either use the player’s bookshelf mode or the sequential play feature. Sequential play will play books in the order they have been loaded on the cartridge, while bookshelf mode lets the patron pick what book they want to listen to.

To use the sequential play feature, patrons put the cartridge in and listen to the first book as usual. At the end of the book, closing announcements will play; when they are finished a voice will say “end of book, press play/stop to go to the next book”. Patrons press the play/stop button and the next book on the cartridge will begin playing. They can repeat this step until all the books have played

To use bookshelf mode, patrons turn the player on and put the cartridge in. Next, they hold down the green “play/stop” button for ten seconds, or until the player beeps and says, “bookshelf mode.” Once in bookshelf mode, they use the fast forward and rewind buttons to scroll through the books or magazines recorded on the cartridge. After reaching the desired title, they press the green play/stop button again and it will start to play.

Any patron having any difficulties with Duplication on Demand should contact the Talking Book and Braille Library via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams, Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library supervisor. 

Explore the Talking Book catalog

The Talking Book catalog has a fresh new look and some fun new features for patrons to check out.
First, when you pull up the catalog you will be greeted by a new menu screen. This screen is easy to navigate and gives you the options Search, Browse, Quick Request and My Account. There is also a login button in the upper right corner.

Search
The search feature of the catalog has been redesigned to be more user friendly. You can now type what you are looking for into the query box and it will search the whole catalog for results rather than you having to select which field to search. Once you have your search results, you can easily use the options on the left hand side to refine your results by selecting the medium you are looking for (e.g., Digital Talking Book), the availability of the book or one of the other listed options. If you find a book you want, you can select it and add it to your book basket. Then follow the prompts to the check out.

Browse
Browse is a new feature in the catalog which will allow patrons to browse books in four categories: recent titles, popular titles, staff picks and Indiana Voices. This is a good option for someone who does not have a particular book in mind but is just curious about what is available.

Quick Request
Quick request can be used for patrons who have the exact book numbers for the books they want. Book numbers can be entered into the quick request box in the following format DB100054, with one book number on each line. When you have entered all of your book numbers, use the quick request button below the box to proceed to the checkout.

My Account
On the My Account page, patrons can see information related to their Talking Book service. Information about books they have checked out now, items they have on request, and items they have had in the past can be found on this page. Patrons can also review their reading preferences, which is the information the library uses to select books to send, on this page.

Patrons who would like to utilize the online catalog can call the library at 1-800-622-4970 for their username and password.

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

Online resources for talking books

The Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library provides free library service to anyone in the state of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to a visual or physical disability. While our service is primarily through the mail, there are some great online resources available that can help improve the service you are receiving. Here are a few of things to check out:

The BARD mobile app

BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download
BARD is a free service through the Indiana State Library that gives patrons direct access to over 115,000 special format books, magazines and music scores. Audio books and magazines downloaded from BARD can be put on a flash drive and listened to using a library-provided talking book player. Patrons can also chose to utilize BARD Mobile for Apple, Android or Amazon Fire devices. There are never any wait lists or due dates for books downloaded from BARD. Whether you want the most popular book or you are looking for something a bit more obscure, it’s always available on BARD.

For more information, including instructions on signing up for BARD and for downloading books, please visit our website.

Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Online Catalog
The library’s online catalog has many features patrons can use to enhance their library experience. Through the My Account page, patrons can see all of the items checked out to them now, as well as all items checked out to them in the past. If patrons have not been enjoying the books the library has been sending, they can view their reading preferences to make sure their preferred authors and subjects are still accurate. Patrons can also search or browse the catalog to find and request books by placing them in their book basket.

If you are a Talking Book patron and would like a username and password so you can access our online catalog, please contact us by phone at 1-800-622-4970 or by email.

Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review
Talking Book Topics and Braille Book Review are the publications produced by the National Library Service containing the latest releases in audio and braille. Typically, these NLS publications are mailed to patrons’ homes, but they can also be viewed online. Issues of the catalogs are available back to 2014 and can be accessed in html, plain text or as an accessible PDF. The html version contains links that will take you directly to the book on BARD, where it can be downloaded or added to your wish list for later. Patrons can also order books out of any of the catalogs by calling or emailing the library and giving us the book number or title.

List of Books by Topic or Genre
NLS has also created broad bibliographies containing extensive lists of books in the categories of gentle romance and westerns, as well as mini-bibliographies, which contain lists of books on more narrow topics such as guide dogs and Booker Prize winners. These are a great resources if you are looking for some inspirations on what you might want to read next.

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

Duplication on Demand – coming soon to Talking Books!

This summer, the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library will be changing its service model from the current practice of sending patrons one book on one cartridge to Duplication on Demand, which will involve cartridges customized specifically for you with multiple books on each one. The new service will involve the same player and cartridges that we are currently using, but the cartridges will have more books on each one. Your cartridges will continue to come in the same type of container, but the mail card will be foldable and will contain a list of books on the cartridge. When you are ready to return a cartridge, you can throw away the mail card and book list; there is an address sticker on each container that will get your book back to us.

There are many benefits to this change. Currently, our audiobook collection contains thousands of older titles that are only available to download from BARD; these books will now be as readily available to you as new books are. In addition, you’ll now have access to new books faster and will never have to be on a wait list for a popular title. If patrons return their cartridges as they finish them, this will also help with slower mail times.

To access the titles on your DoD cartridges you can either use the player’s bookshelf mode or the sequential play feature. There are instructions for both options below.

While we were initially scheduled to make this transition in April, we now expect it to be delayed a month or two. Please contact us at 1-800-622-4970 if you would like to be among the first patrons to try it.

Sequential Play and Bookshelf
When you have a cartridge with multiple books on it, there are two 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 sequential play, you will need to have the latest version of software for your player; it will install automatically when you play your first DoD cartridge. Or you can install it now by downloading it directly from NLS.

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 for ten seconds, or 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 recorded 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.

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

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.

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.