Greetings! Here is the latest news:
U.S. Postal Service delays: Recently, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has gone through more changes, called “network rationalizations.” Several mail processing centers have been closed, including ones in Beaumont and Houston. Centers in Abilene and Corpus Christi are scheduled to close later this year. These closings will affect how quickly the mail moves around the state. You may experience delays in receiving mail, and you will need to be aware that anything you put into the mail may take longer to reach its destination. This includes the books and machines that TBP mails to you and that you return to us.
On top of the closings, the horrible winter weather--especially in the northeastern part of the country--is making the movement of mail around the country even more difficult. Those of you who receive magazines directly from a National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) distributor may experience delays in receiving those magazines because mail coming into Texas is moving very slowly right now. Likewise, when you return them, those magazines may take a while to get back to the distributor. Some of the newest digital books are coming from producers in the eastern part of the country, so the weather may affect when TBP will receive its copies.
Our Circulation facility has had a few days when there has been no mail delivery or the delivery was smaller than usual. On days when we receive no mail at all, we also cannot send out mail until the next USPS truck shows up. If you have not received mail from us, you can call us at 1-800-252-9605 and ask if anything has been shipped to you. Reader consultants can check your account and tell you what has been shipped and what has checked in. Once items are shipped, we have no control over when they will reach their destinations.
Meanwhile, Circulation is undergoing construction: The Circulation facility, which was opened in the late 1980s, is undergoing much-needed maintenance work. Much of the work concerns the heating and cooling systems in the facility, and some parts of the facility are being torn out and rebuilt. Work started in December and is slated to run through March, with an extension into May, if necessary. The facility has had some shutdowns due to lack of heat, water, and electricity. Staff has tried to keep the shutdowns to a minimum, while managing to get all books and machines into the mail promptly. All incoming books and machines are being checked in within one workday to maintain patron service. During this period of construction, no volunteers have been assisting staff with inspection and shelving tasks, so these areas are moving more slowly than usual. Everyone will be very happy to see spring at last!
More books recorded by TBP are now available on BARD: We continue to upload more Texas recordings to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD). Look for the BARD section of this newsletter to see the latest available books, or check the TBP blog for announcements. If you have a BARD account, you may go to BARD and download these titles immediately. If you are interested in reading one of these titles in digital cartridge or another available format, please call 1-800-252-9605 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and make a request.
Update on the free currency readers now available: The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has been working with NLS to make available free currency readers to those with qualifying visual disabilities. At this point, BEP is distributing the readers to any eligible individual interested in having one. To receive one of the currency readers, you must contact BEP directly and request an application. TBP does not have any currency readers to distribute, nor can TBP staff put you onto BEP’s waiting list. You may contact the BEP call center at 1-844-815-9388 and request an application. You also may print an application from either BEP’s web site at www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html or from NLS’ web site at loc.gov/nls/other/currencyreader/index.html.
Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program:
- To order books or report a problem with your machine: 1-800-252-9605
- To request an application or ask about enrollment: 1-800-252-9605
- To access the toll-free information line: 1-866-388-6397
- To contact the Disability Information and Referral Center: 1-800-252-9605
- To contact the Public Awareness Office: 1-512-463-5452 or 1-800-252-9605
- To send email to anyone in the Talking Book Program: email@example.com
- To ask for assistance using BARD: 1-800-252-9605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- To ask a librarian for reading advice or reference assistance: 1-800-252-9605 or email@example.com
- To access the TBP blog: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texastalkingbooks/
- To see the TBP book club schedule: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/tbpbookclub/index.html
Until next time,
Ava Smith, Director, Talking Book Program
There is a lot to celebrate in spring: warmer weather, daylight savings time kicks in, and we celebrate authors’ birthdays and reading days to help you find good books to read or re-read!
March 2 is “Read across America Day” and celebrates the birthday of authors John Irving and Dr. Seuss. Here are a few selections from these fantastic writers:
John Irving: The Cider House Rules DB 21531
Dr. Seuss: Oh, The Places You’ll Go! DB 30795
April 2 is International Children’s book Day and the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson: Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen DB 44585
April is also the birth month of popular authors:
April 21 Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre DB 47868
April 23 William Shakespeare: As You Like It DB 26344
May is “Get Caught Reading” month, and we hope you get caught reading these authors celebrating birthdays in May:
May 1 Joseph Heller: Catch-22 DB 48063
May 22 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes DB 72858
Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day
Of course, you can leave a voicemail message or send e-mail on a holiday.
Most Prolific Narrator Retires
Widely acclaimed narrator Mitzi Friedlander is retiring. During her extraordinary career, which spans over a half century, she has recorded more books than any other Talking Book narrator in the nation. Her fans, locally and nationally, celebrated her accomplishments at a retirement ceremony on February 5, 2015.
To hear a sample of Mitzi Friedlander’s work, visit www.aph.org/museum/Narrator-Jukebox/Mitzi-Friedlander.html or download www.aph.org/museum/Narrator-Jukebox/Mitzi-Friedlander.mp3!
Call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll-free at
1-800-252-9605 for information about disabilities and health conditions
Upcoming Book Club Meeting
All you need to participate in Book Club is a telephone. Please call 1-800-252-9605 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. Dates are subject to change.
Book: Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
Date: May 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m. Central
Western Australia, 1926. On an island one hundred miles from the mainland, lighthouse keepers Isabel and Tom Sherbourne discover a boat carrying a dead man and a crying baby. The decisions they make that day come back to haunt them several years later. Bestseller. 2012. DB 75192; LB 07236
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)