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.

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 tbbl@library.in.gov.

Never judge a book by its cover

But in honor of Valentine’s Day, at least let them entertain you.

Here is just a sampling of cover art that keeps the Talking Book staff entertained on a daily basis. There are hundreds more where these came from, all of which are available to borrow from the Indiana State Library!

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This blog post was written by Talking Books & Braille Supervisor Maggie Ansty. For more information about large print and talking books, please visit the TBBL website.

 

New Grant Opportunity from the Indiana State Library Foundation

The Indiana State Library Foundation in collaboration with the Indiana State Library’s Talking Book & Braille Library is seeking applicants for a new grant supporting talking book patrons with the purchase of assistive technology devices. The grants will provide monetary reimbursements in amounts ranging from $50 to $1,000 towards the purchase of an assistive technology device of the grant recipient’s choosing. These devices remove many barriers to education and employment for visually impaired individuals and may include: video magnifiers, optical character recognition systems, speech systems, etc.Assistive_Tech_Picture_web Continue reading