Talking Book News Bulletin
Spring 2017

TBP Home
Back to Newsletters

Internal Links
Director's Report

Holiday Closings
Helpful Contact Information
TBP Book Club Title Announced
Braille Books for All Reading Levels

Disability News


(RTF), (PDF), (MP3)


Related Links
Loan Policy
Spotlight on Texas Books
Disability Information & Referral Center
Disability Information & Referral Center
National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

Impact of President Trump’s proposed budget: On March 13, 2017, President Donald J. Trump released his preliminary federal budget for fiscal year 2018. Among the agencies slated for complete elimination is the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is an independent federal agency that supports museums and libraries of all types. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, of which Talking Book Program is a division, receives nearly $11 million in federal funds from IMLS. Most of these funds are distributed to libraries around the state through grants. Approximately $480,000, however, is part of the Talking Book Program budget. This represents about 20% of the TBP budget, so if IMLS is eliminated, the impact on TBP will be significant. Here’s what federal funds pay for in the TBP budget:

  • Purchase of Braille and large print books
  • The daily printing of thousands of address cards for books mailed to patrons
  • Printing and mailing patron newsletters in large print
  • Outreach and educational activities, including the salary of the outreach coordinator
  • Utilities for the Circulation facility where the books are housed and the daily mail is processed
  • Maintenance and upkeep of TBP’s automation server in the statewide data center
  • Replacement of our aging computer equipment and software
  • One-time projects—such as upgrading wiring and cabling—for which other funds are not available

At this writing, there is no information about cuts for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) or the Library of Congress.

You may wish to inform your senators and representatives in Congress about the importance of federal funding for library programs, including for TBP. If you need assistance in determining who your representatives are, please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant to look up contact information for congressional representatives based on your home address. You may also send an email to for assistance from TBP staff.

Upcoming Sunset Commission review: TBP’s parent agency, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), will be undergoing sunset review during the next two years.  All state agencies go through a sunset review every twelve years. The purpose of the review is to determine if the agency is carrying out its functions and whether or not those functions are still needed. The review is overseen by the Sunset Advisory Committee, which reports to the Legislature.  During the next legislative session in 2019, legislation will need to be passed to continue TSLAC as an operational agency. If you are interested in reading about the sunset process, please visit the advisory committee’s web site at

If you wish to participate in the sunset process, here are two ways that you may do so. TSLAC has posted to its web site an online survey to gather information for the self study that the agency is required to file with the Sunset Advisory Committee. There is a special section for TBP. If you would like to fill out the survey, you may find it at this link: We will also be having some call-in sessions with TBP staff so that you may ask questions about the sunset process and give us your opinions. These calls will require reservations because of limited slots on the call. If you are interested in participating in one of the phone calls, please call 1-800-252-9605 to reserve your spot.

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

Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Monday, May 29 ~ Memorial Day

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

Helpful contact information for the Talking Book Program

June 2017 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Please join us on Tuesday June 6 at 7pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson [DB 75820] NLS Annotation: On his one-hundredth birthday, former demolitions expert Allan Karlsson escapes from an old folks' home, steals a suitcase filled with money, and begins a madcap adventure running from criminals and the police. Originally published in Swedish in 2009. Some strong language. 2012

Our book club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call, so all you need is a telephone to participate. To RSVP call the Talking Book Program at: 1-800-252-9605 (RSVP preferred by May 16) or email us at: Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD.

Braille Books for All Reading Levels

Did you know that the Talking Book Program offers a wide selection of books to read in Braille? We have books for all levels of Braille readers - from infants to adults! Our beginner Braille books are a wonderful choice not only for young readers, but also for patrons of any age who are learning Braille for the first time or refreshing their Braille skills, or for those who want to read to a young family member or friend. Here are just a few titles:

Sensational Alphabet Book by April Rofe
This alphabet book includes print, Braille, sign, things that feel, smell and sound. Unified English Braille Code. Uncontracted Braille.  PRINT/BRAILLE.

It’s not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler
Unhappy at home, P.J. Funnybunny tries living with various other animals, only to find that he’s homesick. Unified English Braille Code. Uncontracted Braille.  PRINT/BRAILLE.

Winter’s Tale: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again by Juliana Hatkoff
A heartwarming and uplifting book about a dolphin who overcomes adversity. Unified English Braille Code. Contracted Braille.

Against the Odds by Joe Layden
Inspirational, true-life stories of eight NBA players. English Braille, American Edition. Contracted Braille. PRINT/BRAILLE.

There are thousands of Braille books of to choose from. Give us a call! Our Reader’s Advisory Librarians are available to help find the right book for you.

Disability News

In the July – September 2016 issue of NLS News, the National Library Service announced that an amendment to the 1931 Pratt-Smoot Act gives NLS permission to explore the possibility of providing refreshable Braille displays to patrons. While this is an exciting development for many in the Talking Book Program, please note that no money has been appropriated yet, and likely the plan is still several years from becoming a reality. Requests to be testers of such a device are not being accepted at this time. Watch for updates on this topic in future issues of the Talking Book Program newsletter. For more information and other resources, please contact
TBP’s Disability & Referral Center at 1-800-252-9605.

End of Texas Talking Book News
Spring 2017

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: April 27, 2017