Talking Book News Bulletin, Summer 2008.........Español

Internal Links
Director's Report
Holiday Closings
Books on American Revolution
New on the Texas Talking Book Program Web Site
Prevent Blindness America
Focus on Native Americans
Assistive Technology Fund

“Braille Codes Update 2007” Published
Favorite Short Stories By Female Authors
Tips and Reminders for Better Service
Related Links
Loan Policy
Spotlight on Texas Books
Disability Information & Referral Center
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

Talking Book Program rule review: As part of a state agency, the Talking Book Program is required to have administrative rules for operation and to periodically have a review of those rules. With all the major changes that the program is undergoing, staff found that the latest review required us to make not only substantive revisions but also to add additional rules. Therefore, we are proposing to repeal the current set of rules and replace them with a new set of rules. The new proposed rules have been posted in the Texas Register (June 27, 2008 issue) for a period of public comment. These rules may be viewed electronically at the following link: (Because of the length of this link, you will need to copy it into your browser.) Comments may be made on the rules until September 31, 2008. In order to be considered, comments must be in writing, either via email or by postal mail. Comments should be sent to Ava M. Smith, Director of the Talking Book Program, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927 or to

Update on State Library building renovations: By the time you read this, the Talking Book Program’s main offices and patron call center will have moved into its temporary quarters in northeast Austin. We expect to be in these temporary quarters for approximately two years and will be moving back to the state library building when renovations to that facility are completed. We have tried to keep disruptions to a minimum and apologize for any inconvenience the move may have caused to our patrons. 

Our temporary facility is not open to the public. If you pick up your books at the state library, you will still be able to do so for now. We have not yet determined where book pickups will be located once the lobby goes under construction. If you have correspondence to mail to us, continue to use the regular address, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927. Our telephone numbers are the same, 1-800-252-9605 (toll free) and 512-463-5458 (in Austin). Updated information about the renovations will be posted on our Web page at and on the toll-free telephone information line at 1-866-388-6397.

Some good news about the NLS appropriations request: Finally, there is some encouraging news about the NLS appropriations request that is being considered by the U.S. Congress. In June, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee reversed course and not only restored the full amount that NLS had originally requested but added an additional $15.5 million to the request, bringing
the total appropriation request to $34.5 million. While this is certainly a more hopeful situation than NLS was facing just a few months ago, the appropriation request still must go before the Senate’s appropriation committee and then on to a vote by the full Congress. Interested constituents should continue to contact their congressional representatives and senators to express their concerns and support for NLS.

Overdues: We would like to remind everyone that we will begin sending out overdue notices, soon. These reminders are intended to show you what is on your accounts so that you can begin returning books that have been out for too long. Since books will not be as plentiful in the future as they have been up to now, all patrons must be more considerate and diligent in returning books when they are due. In the future, having overdue books on your account will delay your receiving a new digital machine and digital books. Please do not ignore the notices. The mailing card on each book you receive has the due date printed on it, and you may renew each book once, unless the book is too long overdue or another patron has put a reserve on the book. At any time, you may call the toll-free number 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant to check your account for overdue materials.

Newsletter by email:  Do you want to receive our newsletter by email instead of on paper? If so, please call a reader consultant at 1-800-252-9605 or send an email to Tell us that you want to change your newsletter preference to email and give us your email address. The newsletter also is available on our web page at and on the new toll-free information line at 1-866-388-6397.

Until next time,
Ava Smith, Director, Talking Book Program

Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays.

Friday, July 4, Independence Day
Monday, September 1, Labor Day

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

Three Books Offer Some Insight into the American Revolution

The American Revolution: A History by Gordon Wood BR 14160 and RC 54537   Wood, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, explores the causes and effects of the rebellion of the North American colonies. The book looks at republican ideas that developed since the early 1600s and inspired the colonists. To read this book, call 1-800-252-9605, and ask for BR14160 or RC 54537.

Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady   RC 61531
The widow Martha “Patsy” Dandridge Custis (1731-1802) married Virginia planter George Washington. The author explores Martha’s influence on her husband, involvement during the Revolutionary War, and role in the presidency. To read this book, call 1-800-252-9605, and ask for RC 61531.

American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation  by Jon Meacham  RC 62640  This book examines U. S. traditions and the intention of the nation’s founders when they created freedom of religion more than 200 years ago. The author contends faith and freedom are linked – a nation will thrive only by cherishing freedom and protecting faith. To read this book, call 1-800-252-9605, and ask for RC 62640.

New on the Texas Talking Book Program Web Site

TBP has begun adding bibliographies to the TBP web pages. The first one, "Presidential Campaign 2008,” is a list of books by or about the main contenders for the Republican and Democratic nominations for president. Check it out at our Bibliography page.

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “To prevent blindness and preserve sight.” The PBA’s winter/spring 2008 newsletter, Prevent Blindness America News, has an interview with Beth Finke whose blindness stems from diabetes retinopathy. Beth stays busy as an award-winning author, sports reporter, commentator on National Public Radio, and speaker. Her first book, Long Time, No See, relates her life story. Hanni and Beth: Safe and Sound, is a children’s book about her guide dog, Hanni. You can click on the Web site to learn more and order a free copy of the newsletter:

Focus on Native Americans

The National Library Service recently added 39 titles to its Native American collection. Both juvenile and adult level books are available. To order one of these books, call 1-800-252-9605, and ask for their number.

These three new books are available for juvenile readers.

Blood on the River: James Town 1607 by Elisa Lynn Carbone RC 63493
Counting Coup by Joseph Medicine Crow with Herman Viola RC 62442
Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories from a Native American Childhood by Ednah New Rider Weber RC 63346

These three titles are part of the newly available books for adult readers.

Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today by Lori Marie Carlson, ed. RC 62313
Soul of Nowhere: Traversing Grace in a Rugged Land by Craig Leland Childs RC 63294
Warrior Woman: A Novel Based on the Life of Nonhelema, Shawnee Woman Chief by Dark Rain Thom RC 64004

The Association of Blind Citizens operates the Assistive Technology Fund offering up to 50% of the retail price of adaptive devices or software. The retail cost must be between $200 and $6,000. Applicants must have a family income less than $50,000 and cash assets less than $20,000. The next application deadline is December 31. Funds may be used to buy a Victor Reader Stream machine for downloading TBP books. For more information, click on

“Braille Codes Update 2007” Published

Judy Dixon, Consumer Relations Officer at the NLS, wrote recently about the Braille Authority of North America’s (BANA) changes in the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, English Braille, American Edition, and Braille Formats, Principles of Print to Braille Transcription. For BANA updates, “send a blank e-mail message to bana-announce-subscribe- (then put your full e-mail address in, substituting the equal sign for the at sign) – example: bana-announce-subscribe-” The article is in Dixon, J. ”BANA Publishes New Braille Rules,” The Braille Forum, Vol. XLVI, No. 10, May 2008, 20-24.

Mention of a product or service in this news bulletin does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs and items that may be helpful to our patrons.

Favorite Short Stories By Female Authors

Here is list of some most interesting short stories written by some of the world’s most popular female writers. To order one of these books, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for the book’s number.

East and West: Stories by Pearl Buck
LB 1795
Stories set in India and China show Buck’s understanding of East and West.

Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories by Sandra Cisneros
RC 33451
Stories about women and men in the Mexican-American culture in Texas.

Double Sin and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
BR 3460RC 61693, or  LB 4360
Eight eerie stories featuring Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple.

Diamond Dust: Stories by Anita Desai
BR 13325
Nine tales set in the U.S., India, Britain, and Mexico. Some strong language.

Winter’s Tales by Isak Dinesen
RC 15321
Eleven romantic, symbolic short stories with European themes.

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot
RC 45862
Stories about three clergymen told with humor and pathos.

Scrap of Time and Other Stories by Ida Fink
RC 26556
Poignant stories of the daily lives of Polish Jews during World War II.

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
BR 13701     
Short stories and a novella by one of Britain’s nineteenth-century feminists.

Flights of Angels: Stories by Ellen Gilchrist
BR 12417 or RC 48964
Several stories involve Aurora Harris, a precocious sixteen-year-old who goes to France with her parents and becomes pregnant.

Loot and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer
RC 65215
Ten stories by the Nobel Prize-winning South African author. Some violence and descriptions of sex.

Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folktales from the Gulf States by Zora Neale Hurston
RC 53958
African American folklore collected from oral tradition in the late 1920s. Some strong language.

Interpreter of Maladies: Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri
RC 50087
Tales of brier encounters with lasting effects, set in India and America.

Collected Stories by Carson McCullers
BR 11296
Many of these stories are autobiographical and feature southerners, either at home or transplanted to the north.

Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
BR 17576 or RC 31587
These stories feature Anne Shirley’s life on her beloved farm, Green Gables.

Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee
RC 29576
These stories focus on contemporary immigrant experiences in America.

Collector of Hearts: New Tales of the Grotesque by Joyce Carol Oates
RC 51191
Psychological horror tales that delve into the “waking nightmares of life.” Strong language and some descriptions of sex.

Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor
RC 15019
Stories blend comedy and tragedy in expressing the real spirit of the South.

Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
BR 11791 or RC 47137
Stories about characters often caught in unsuccessful personal relationships.

Flowering Judas and Other Stories by Katherine Anne Porter             
BR 1060 or CT 3988
Ten finely crafted stories by an outstanding Texan.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
RC 48276
Stories depict the harshness of life in the cowboy culture of the West. Includes “Brokeback Mountain.”

Richer, The Poorer: Stories, Sketches, and Reminiscences by Dorothy West       
RC 42997
Stories of everyday experiences by one of the members of the Harlem Renaissance.

Collected Stories of Jessamyn West by Jessamyn West
RC 25363
Thirty-eight of the West’s popular stories of life among the Quakers.

Curtain of Green and Other Stories by Eudora Welty
RC 46352
Stories about the common people Welty knew in her native Mississippi.

Oriental Tales by Marguerite Yourcenar
BR 6367
Folktales, fantasies, and allegories with varied themes and an Oriental flavor.

Lizard  by Banana Yoshimoto
BR 10389
Stories feature Japanese professionals who learn to blend traditional ways with modern values.

Tips and Reminders for Better Service

Equipment. Talking Book cassette players are just like any mechanical device-they break down from time to time. You'll get the best service from your equipment if you:

  • always use the battery to play your tapes and allow the battery run down completely before recharging it;
  • keep food and beverages away from the player;
  • clean the heads from time to time using a head-cleaning tape (available at stores that carry stereo equipment);
  • don't try to fix a broken player-just return it.

Before returning a piece of equipment, please call or write to let us know you are returning it and to request a replacement. It's a good idea to keep the box your player comes in so you can use it to return equipment if it breaks down.

Loan Period. The normal loan period for braille, large print, or cassette books is 45 days. Please call or write if you need to keep the book longer. Returning books promptly and keeping a list of book requests on file with us will keep a steady flow of reading material in your mailbox.

Broken Books. To let us know you have had a problem with a book, please mark a large "X" on the return label on the left side of our address.

Services. Our staff is dedicated to making the Talking Book Service work for you. Please let us know how we can help by contacting us at:

Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (in Texas)
512-463-5458 (in Austin)
512-936-0685 (fax)

Page last modified: August 30, 2011