Talking Book News Bulletin
Summer 2016

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Director's Report

Have you visited our TBP Blog Lately?
Author Luis Felipe Passalacqua
Holiday Closings
Books Worth Revisiting - Women of the Sixties

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Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

We have a new Public Awareness Coordinator: We recently hired a new Public Awareness Coordinator. Jaclyn Owusu started work with us on July 1, 2016. She has a degree in communications studies from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked for the City of Frisco, the Lower Colorado River Authority, and Congregation Agudas Achim here in Austin. Jaclyn is excited about traveling around the state to promote the Talking Book Program and to meet patrons using the program’s services. Jaclyn is available to give talks to small and large groups, to present workshops for library staff and other service providers, and to give demonstrations on how to download books and magazines from the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site. If you would like for Jaclyn to visit your area and do a presentation, please contact her at 512-463-5452 or 1-800-252-9605 or send an email to

New Librarian of Congress is confirmed: Dr. Carla D. Hayden has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the new Librarian of Congress. Her term began immediately on her confirmation. The Senate vote was 74-18, with Sen. John Cornyn voting for and Sen. Ted Cruz voting against the confirmation. Dr. Hayden succeeds James H. Billington, who had been Librarian of Congress since 1987 and had retired at the end of September 2015. Dr. Hayden is the 14th Librarian of Congress and is the first woman, the first African-American, and only the third librarian to head the institution in its 216-year history. She began her professional career at the Chicago Public Library, and in 1993, she was appointed director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, one of the country’s oldest public libraries. Among her many honors are being named “National Librarian of the Year” by Library Journal, serving as the president of the American Library Association, and being appointed as a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board. Dr. Hayden’s most pressing challenge in her new job will be to bring the Library of Congress’ outdated technology infrastructure up-to-date.

Please return books in the correct containers: We are still receiving a lot of mailing cases with the wrong books in them. We do not have unlimited cartridges and mailing cases. If a book comes back to us in the wrong case, that book is broken and is removed from the collection. Please double-check which book you put into which case before putting any of them in the mail. Mailing cases are not interchangeable because each case has specific labeling and a barcode for the cartridge that is in that case. While we know that many of you listen to multiple books and magazines at the same time, we recommend that you only remove one book from its mailing case and then put it back in that case before you remove another book from another case. We want to get books to everyone in a timely manner, but this cannot happen when we don’t have all the pieces in the right places.  The next book that is delayed going out because part of it is missing may be the very book that you are waiting for!

You may make donations to the program: We would like to thank all of you who send in monetary donations in memory of a loved one, to honor a friend, or just because you appreciate the service.  All donations are used to support TBP in some way, whether purchasing books for our collections, buying equipment for the audio department, or paying for operations not covered by our budget.  All donations are acknowledged by a thank-you letter.  If you would like to make a donation, send your check to Talking Book Program, P.O. Box 12516, Austin, TX 78711-2516.  Make your check out to the Texas State Library and indicate either on the check or in an accompanying note that the donation is for the Talking Book Program.  All donations are tax deductible.

Please also be aware that staff cannot accept personal gifts of any kind, nor can money donated be used to buy food for staff. Whenever a situation like this arises, we will contact the person sending the gift about either returning it, putting it into one of the agency’s charitable fund-raising events, or—in the case of money—turned into a donation to the program.

Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program:

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


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

Have You Visited Our TBP Blog Lately?

Talking Book Program staff are posting on various topics, from books to events to activities to resources, that we think might be of interest to many of you. In addition, we would love to know what you think and get your feedback, so you can also post blog comments. Comments are moderated by staff before posting. You can visit the blog at . If you are not up to the public forum discussion, you can also send us an email at to make suggestions about topics you would like to see in the blog.

 Author Luis Felipe Passalacqua Visits TBP Blog

The Puerto Rican artist and writer Luis Felipe Passalacqua recently granted TBP an interview, where he talks to us about his Spanish language biographical novel ÉL--  UNA PEQUEÑA ACLARACIÓN (DB 81978).  Mr. Passalacqua spoke to us on the phone from his native San Juan. He told us about his creative process when writing his novel, which is based on true events in his life. He told us about his experience going blind, and explained how his personal philosophy has helped him face the challenges he has encountered since. The author is also a respected sculptor and accessibility consultant, and he is currently working on his second novel.

To read an English translation of the interview with Luis Felipe Passalacqua, go to the TBP Blog: If you would like a transcript of the interview in an alternate format, please call us at

ÉL--UNA PEQUEÑA ACLARACIÓN by Luis Felipe Passalacqua       
DB 81978

Through autobiographical reflections and fictional vignettes, Passalacqua--a visually-impaired sculptor from Puerto Rico--probes various existential and aesthetic themes that shine a light on the process of creation. Spanish language. 2014.

Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Monday, September 5 ~ Labor Day

Friday, November 11 ~ Veteran’s Day

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

Books Worth Revisiting: Women of the Sixties

   The magical decade of the Sixties saw doors of opportunity opening for women, especially in the worlds of rock music and high fashion. Suddenly, “girl groups” like The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, and The Angels and superstar solo recording artists including the likes of Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, and Janis Joplin were everywhere. Meanwhile, the first supermodels were making their marks, with glossy fashion magazines hitting the newsstands and colorful coffee-table books highlighting the new fashions, like the miniskirt. Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree, and Twiggy became icons of the decade, and their influence is still being felt today. Inevitably, the two worlds collided, overlapped, and melded, with the enduring trend of rock-star-dating-model one of the results. Here are three biographical works that focus on women in these worlds, including the highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies, and the just plain weird experiences of life on the edge.

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller: The three female singer-songwriters profiled in Weller’s biographical study could not be more different in their origins. Carol Klein (1942-  ) might have been headed for life as a traditional Jewish housewife in her native New York, but decided to add an “e” to her first name and choose her future stage name out of the phonebook; she then parlayed her piano skills into becoming half of the very successful songwriting team of Goffin and King. Carole King then went on to have one of the most successful record albums of all times, Tapestry, which was #1 on the charts for 15 weeks in 1971. King’s multiple marriages and her intense political activism are almost as famous as her musical career. Joni Mitchell (1943-  ) started as an itinerant folk singer in her native Canada, having taught herself to play guitar and then to write songs. Contracting polio as a teenager affected Mitchell’s mode of fingering and gave her guitar playing its distinctive style. Among her songwriting credits are “Chelsea Morning” (reportedly the inspiration for Chelsea Clinton’s name), “Both Sides Now,” and “Big Yellow Taxi.” Haunted by the baby she gave up for adoption, she often performed the song she wrote about the experience, “Little Green.” Unlike the other two women profiled in this book who came from modest, middle-class backgrounds, Carly Simon (1945-  ) was a member of the Simon and Schuster publishing families and grew up in an affluent atmosphere of literature, music, and art. As a child, she had a terrible stammer and turned to singing because talking was so difficult. Simon has had many hit records, and her best-known hit, “You’re So Vain,” for decades has been the source of much speculation as to whom she was writing about. Only in 2015 did Simon finally admit that actor Warren Beatty is the source for one of the verses of the song and that two other unidentified men could be sources for the rest. All three women have a common tie through their relationships with singer James Taylor: King as a performance partner, Mitchell as a lover, and Simon as a wife. Strong language. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 66664. Also available for download from the BARD site.

Faithfull: an Autobiography by Marianne Faithfull:  You come away from reading this memoir wondering how Marianne Faithfull (1946-  ) ever survived the Sixties. (She wonders about that, too.) To this day, Faithfull is first and foremost known for two things: singing the smash hit, “As Tears Go By” and being the paramour of the Rolling Stones’ lead singer, Mick Jagger. (You also will never look at Jagger and fellow band-mate Keith Richards in quite the same way, either.) The song and the man, however, took place early in her life and career. The rest of her life—at least up to the end of this memoir which was published in 1994—has been a rollercoaster of substance abuse, homelessness, and broken relationships. Yet, her undeniable talent as a singer and songwriter continued to manifest itself, despite her best efforts to destroy herself. Heroin addiction led to one of her best-known songs, “Sister Morphine,” which she co-wrote with Jagger and Richards. Substance abuse destroyed her pure soprano voice, leaving her with a throaty growl that was put to startling effect on her 1979 album, Broken English—a comeback that garnered her a Grammy nomination for best female rock vocal performance. Turning 70 this year, Faithfull continues to perform, both musically and in film. Explicit language and some descriptions of sex. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for
DB 40717. Also available for download from the BARD site.

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me by Pattie Boyd, with Penny Junor. Pattie Boyd (1944-  ), while not a supermodel, was constantly in demand for fashion shoots and commercials. She soon found herself at the epicenter of the rock ‘n’ roll era in the Sixties and the Seventies. First married to the Beatles’ George Harrison and then to guitar superstar Eric Clapton, she was also sister-in-law to Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. Harrison wrote the Beatles’ smash hit, “Something” about her, and Clapton followed with “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.” (Her sister was the inspiration for Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper.”) Boyd’s memoir begins with her childhood in Kenya and moves to her early career as a model in Swinging London of the early 1960s. She met Harrison when she was cast as an extra in the film, A Hard Day’s Night, and the two were immediately smitten with each other. Thirteen years later, Beatlemania had taken its toll on both of them, and Boyd also found herself the object of Clapton’s intense obsession. After divorcing Harrison, she allowed herself to be talked into marrying Clapton, although she knew the marriage was doomed from the start. Clapton’s alcoholism, erratic behavior, and infidelities eventually caused Boyd to seek a healthier life, and she turned to her hobby of photography as her new path forward. And in the end, she still wonders if she couldn’t have saved her marriage to Harrison. Strong language. To order this book, call 1-800-252-9605 and ask for DB 65367. Also available for download from the BARD site.


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: September 1, 2016