Peggy D. Rudd, Director and Librarian, and Ava Smith, Director of the Texas Talking Books Program, receive the award from Karen Keninger, Director of NLS
TSLAC's Talking Book Program receives Library of Congress Award
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s Talking Book Program (TBP) received the Network Library of the Year Award for outstanding accomplishments during 2011. The award is presented annually by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress. TBP was honored at the annual award ceremony luncheon held in the historic Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2012.
Initiated in 2004, the recognition program commends excellence, innovation, and special achievement in providing library services to blind and physically handicapped readers. To earn the award, TBP had to demonstrate through a nomination process the high levels of creativity, dedication, and achievement that are expected of libraries throughout the NLS network. The annual award carries a $1,000 cash prize.
The award presented to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Talking Book Program.
“These are challenging times for all government agencies, but the Talking Book Program has continued to meet the needs of the blind and disabled readers it serves in creative and innovative ways,” said NLS director Karen Keninger. “It is an outstanding representative of the more than 100 cooperating NLS libraries across the United States.”
The Talking Book Program, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, served nearly 16,000 individual readers and institutions and circulated 891,662 books and magazines in 2011. In addition, Texas readers accessed more than 143,000 books and magazines online through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.
“In recent years, the transition from analog cassette technology to digital cartridge and download services has presented both challenges and rewards for our readers,” said Peggy D. Rudd, director and state librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. “Through planning, innovation, and hard work, TBP staff has made the transition as seamless as possible, while generating great excitement among readers who continue to marvel at the digital talking-book machine and who cannot wait for new books to appear on BARD. This award is a tribute to TBP director Ava Smith and the exemplary team she has assembled.”
“I cannot thank you enough for your service through all these years,” the daughter of a reader in Greenville, Texas, told the TBP staff. “Your staff could give lessons in service to others.”
NLS Network Division chief Carolyn Sung said the Texas program also excels in providing service in Spanish, maintaining a toll-free information line that includes audio versions of its quarterly newsletters, and offering public awareness, education, and outreach activities across Texas, including “BARD parties” where readers can learn how to use the download service. TBP staff automated the process for inspecting DTBMs before they are distributed to readers and also established a special unit to answer questions on disability and health issues.