Talking Book News Bulletin
February 2021

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Director's Report

Loan Periods for TBP Materials

Get to Know the TBP Staff
Texas Produced Books
NLS Free Virtual Concert
Poetry Contest Winners

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Director's Report

Hello and happy new year!
In an ongoing effort to support our patrons and provide timely, helpful information about our services, we are asking that all patrons provide us with an email address if they have one. Email is the fastest and surest way for TBP staff to communicate with patrons. If you have an email address and would like to add it to your account or if you need to update your email address, please send an email to and let us know.

Happy 90th Birthday to the National Library Service and the Talking Book Program!
In March, the Talking Book Program (TBP) and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) will celebrate 90 years of serving people who have print disabilities. The Texas Talking Book Program was one of the first regional libraries in the country to join NLS on March 3, 1931, when the Pratt-Smoot Act was signed into law. Jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker will perform a virtual concert on March 3. The concert will begin celebrations of the services provided by NLS since 1931. More information about the concert is on the last page of the newsletter. We plan to share some highlights of the Talking Book Program throughout the years on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s social media pages at

As we move on into the next decade of the program, we look forward to new technology and innovations that will help better serve your reading needs.

As always, please take care and be well.
Sarah Jacobson, Director, Talking Book Program

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Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Monday, February 15 ~ Presidents Day

Monday, May 31 ~ Memorial Day

Of course, you can leave a voicemail message or send e-mail on a holiday.

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Loan Periods for TBP Materials (Digital Audio, Braille and Large Print)

As a reminder, the loan period for braille and large print books is 45 days, while the loan period for audio books is 60 days. The longer loan period for audiobooks is because there may be more than one book on a cartridge. Loan periods start when the book leaves the library. Estimate about one week for books to travel back to TBP. The due date is printed on the mailing card for each braille or large print book, while the mailing card for an audiobook cartridge shows the date the cartridge was prepared for mailing.

Braille and large print books (and a few audiobooks) have flat mailing cards, while (most) audiobook cartridges have folded mailing cards. To return a book with a flat mailing card, flip the card over. TBP’s address is printed on the back. To return a book with a folded mailing card, remove the card and discard it.  TBP’s address is printed on the cartridge case. Not sure whether to flip the address card or remove it? Just remember: Flat card, flip it; folded card, toss it.

If you are returning defective or damaged books, please call or email TBP and let us know about the problem. If you lose a mailing container, you can also contact us to request an envelope in which to return the book. If you lose a book, please let us know so that we can remove that book from your current loans. Book loans may be renewed only one time, but you are welcome to request the same book multiple times. If you have any questions, email us at or call us at 1-800-252-9605 and leave us a message.

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Get to Know the TBP Staff

In this newsletter edition, meet Inez, Office Assistant in TBP’s Office Services Division, and Gary, Audio Tech in the TBP Volunteer Recording Studio.

Name: Inez
Title: Office Assistant II (Braille)
How long have you been with TBP/TSLAC? 9 years
What is an average day like in your position? My day starts with a cup of coffee, (I need it). I prepare and send out mail, distribute incoming mail, and do data entry. I also braille cartridge labels for our books and magazines.
Favorite book? My childhood favorite book was CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White (DB 08723; BR 17770)
Favorite author? I have no one favorite author, but here is a list of ones I like: David Eddings, Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, Jack Higgins, Clive Cussler, and Arthur C. Clark.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy walking and reading.


Name: Gary
Title: Audio Tech
How long have you been with TBP/TSLAC? 13.5 years
What do you do? I’m responsible for converting analog tape to digital, mastering/audio processing of digital audio, placing digital navigational markers onto audio books, reviewing newly recorded material for problems and helping volunteers in the recording booths with tech issues they might have, and training new volunteers.
What is an average day like in your position? My average day is filled with digitizing, placing navigational markers into audio files, mastering, and helping volunteers.
Favorite book? It is an old one called A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by John Kennedy Toole (DB 15948/DB 50482).
What is the last book that you read? The last book that I ran across a few months ago, again an older one, is called MATHEW BRADY: HISTORIAN WITH A CAMERA by James David Horan.
What are your hobbies? I like to play guitar and sing. I also enjoy kayaking.

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Texas Talking Book Program Produced Books Now Available

Check out some of the books that the TBP Volunteer Recording Studio has produced, now available on BARD as well as by mail.

JOSHUA BEENE & GOD by Jewel Gibson (DBC 18143)
This novel, set in East Texas, follows one curmudgeonly religious leader's crusade against Spring Creek's Baptists, Holy Rollers, and nonbelievers.

Whistle in the Piney Woods is the story of the founding of the Houston East and West Texas Railroad by Paul Bremond.

From the outbreak of gold fever in California in 1848 to the mad rush to Alaska at the nineteenth century's close, this is the aspiring miner's story.

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NLS Free Virtual Concert Featuring Matthew Whitaker: March 3 at 7:00 p.m.

Join the 90th anniversary celebration with a free virtual concert by jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker on Wednesday, March 3, at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Whitaker, who has been blind since birth, is an NLS patron who has garnered accolades across the jazz world. He won ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards for 2019 and 2020.This event showcases the NLS Music Section’s work in providing patrons with direct access to the world’s largest collection of braille, audio, and large print music materials.

Whitaker’s concert and an interview with Whitaker will be posted and broadcasted on the Library of Congress YouTube channel at For more information, follow NLS on Facebook ( or check out the Library of Congress Events page ( or the NLS Music Notes blog (

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TBP Poetry Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the TBP Poetry contest. Thank you to all that participated in the TBP poetry contest. We received a wide range of poems – some were inspiring, some were sentimental, and some were downright funny.

First Place


Have you ever been in the woods on Halloween?
I have, and it’s the spookiest place I’ve ever seen!
There were witches and goblins behind every tree,
And I saw shiny eyes staring out at me.
The wind was blowing and all over the ground,
There was shadows and lights and ghosts dancing around.
And I heard a hoot owl away off somewhere hollering –who, who—
Who goes there?
Now, I wasn’t scared and that’s a fact,
But I thought Mom might be worried, so I hurried back.
I heard the frogs croak, and the crickets sing,
Or was that a witch or a goblin scream?
The limbs on the trees waved and reached for me,
But I didn’t look back, there was nothing to see!
Now I see something up by my house,
With lots of teeth and a great big mouth, with a triangle shaped nose and glaring eyes.
Oh! That’s the jack-o-lantern I made after Mom made her pies.
Now this is all good and I was really having fun,
But it was getting late and I thought I’d better run.
I ran through the door and up to my room,
And I locked out the shadows, the ghost and gloom.
I took off my clothes and jumped into bed.
I snuggled down close and I shook my head,
And all the witches and goblins were gone,
But heck, I wasn’t scared. I was just puttin’ on!

Second Place

LIFE CHANGES by Donna Wilson

My eyes are dim. I cannot see.
My specs are little use to me.

An accident from afar; suddenly a speeding car,
Left my body painfully bleeding and ajar!
My wheelchair became my best friend,
I thought my life was at an end.

My days were long and empty then,
My unread books stared at me from dusty bins.

Then the mail came with a new surprise,
The TALKING BOOK CLUB catalog arrived!
I anxiously scanned its pages,
Filled with adventure and mystery for all ages!

I quickly placed my audio tape,
Into the space I found agape

Now my days fly by with ease,
As I explore deep seas and mysteries.
I would be quite lost and bored,

Honorable Mention


With limitless use
Of stories from my bookshelf,
I experience!


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End of Texas Talking Book News


Page last modified: March 30, 2021