Talking Book News Bulletin
Summer 2015

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Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

A new automation system: The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has signed a contract with Ambonare, Inc. to build a new automation system for the Talking Book Program (TBP). The new system will provide all of the current services, and an online public access catalog (OPAC) for books and magazines will be added.  The OPAC will allow TBP patrons to search the catalog via home computers and hand-held devices with Internet connections. Patrons also will be able to order books, place reserves, download books and magazines via the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service, and send emails to staff. Work on the new system already is underway, with the target date of August 2016 for completion of the project. We do not anticipate any slowdowns of current service until near the end of the project when staff is being pulled to do intensive user testing of the new system. Progress reports will be made in future issues of this column.

For those who subscribe to BARD: The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has asked us to remind all of our BARD subscribers that they are supposed to have only one BARD account per person. Multiple accounts for the same subscriber are causing problems in the database and could make downloading slower and more difficult. If you move, get a new email address, or make any other change to your account, you do not have to create a new BARD account. Instead, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for a member of the BARD Support Team. A team member will assist you in making your changes to your existing BARD account. Likewise, if you have moved to Texas (or are going to move to another state), your BARD account follows you to the new location. Each library in the NLS network will transfer your account to the new state of residence, so let your library know that you have moved and want your BARD account to move with you.

Please don’t write on the digital cartridges or mailing cases: We know that sometimes you put a digital book into your player and something doesn’t work. The book won’t play, the sound is bad, or there might be blank spots in the recording. We want you to report problems, but please don’t write on the cartridge or its mailing case. When you do that, we can’t clean them, and we can’t reuse them. Digital cartridges are expensive, and they can be very temperamental. We have a process for checking these books, fixing them, and getting them back into circulation. If you think your cartridge book is broken, please call 1-800-252-9605 and tell the reader consultant who answers the call that you think you have a broken book. Telling the reader consultant exactly what you think the problem is will be very helpful to the staff who work on broken books. The reader consultant will make notes from your report, and the staff will use these notes to locate the problem on the digital book and fix it, if they can. You also may mark an “X” on the mailing card, but calling us is more helpful. If the problem cannot be fixed, then the cartridge will either be erased and reused or disposed of as a true broken book.

Update on the construction work at the Circulation facility: Much progress has been made on the maintenance work at our Circulation facility. Renovation of the restrooms is the last major task, and that is supposed to be finished by the end of Spring 2015.  Once the restrooms are back in operation, we will be able to welcome back our volunteers who have been on hiatus since October 2014. When volunteers are able to come back to the facility, they will begin clearing the backlogs of materials awaiting inspection so that these materials may be available for check-out. Thank you for bearing with us as our staff work under challenging conditions to get your books and magazines in the mail to you.

Magazines available from American Printing House for the Blind (APH): For those of you who read Newsweek and Reader’s Digest in audio format, these two magazines still are not available on digital cartridge or on BARD. They are available, however, for download from the APH web site at If you no longer want either of these magazines on cassette, please call 1-800-252-9605 and tell a reader consultant that you want to cancel that subscription.

Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program:

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

Summer Reading: Adventure

Travel the world this summer and have adventures with these suggested titles.


DX 18825 African Queen by C.S. Forester

A courageous English spinster and a tough Cockney team up to destroy a German boat, but first they must make a long, perilous trip on the river through the African jungle. Their initial bristling hostility warms into comradeship which soars upward to a strange noble passion.


DX 10894 Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

A professional killer is hired to assassinate President Charles de Gualle. The reader is witness to his ruthless and meticulous planning as he eludes trap after trap. Pitted against this unseen enemy is a small, rumpled French policeman.

Contains violence and strong language.

Germany and England

DX 36730 Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

After intense training, a small force of German paratroopers lands on the Norfolk coast in England in 1943, with the aim of capturing Churchill, who is spending the weekend at a neighboring country house.  Some strong language.



Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Friday, July 3 – Independence Day observed

Monday, September 7 – Labor Day

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


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 Disability News

The National Library Service has recently updated several of its in-house created reference guides. If you need information on assistive technology, magnifiers, mobile apps, Braille devices and literacy, sources for digital players, and reading materials in large print, contact the Texas Talking Book Program’s Disability Information & Referral Center for copies of these reference guides in large print.  You can also access the guides online at . In addition, the Disability Information and Referral Center has copies of the updated version of Magazines in Special Media, available in either large print or on cassette. Please call 1-800-252-9605, or e-mail for more information.


Call the Disability Information and Referral Center toll-free at 1-800-252-9605 for information about disabilities and health conditions.




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: June 18, 2015