Talking Book News Bulletin
Spring 2018

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Director's Report

Greetings! Here is the latest news:

Updates on new automation system: The Talking Book Program (TBP) is in the final phases of switching over to its WebREADS circulation system. We are currently in user acceptance testing, and if all goes well, we expect to make the switch-over in mid- to late May. Much depends on how many issues are to be resolved before the final transfer of data from the current system. This new system is very different from our current system, so there will be a period of adjustment and a learning curve for all involved. At the time of the switch-over, we will be closed for up to a week while we bring up the system on our computers, start retraining staff, and start rewriting procedures. With any migration from one system to another, there will be glitches and various problems that will have to be worked through. We ask that you be patient while we put our new environment into order.

Sunset Commission review has begun: The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), which includes the Talking Book Program, currently is undergoing review by the Sunset Commission. Approximately every twelve years, TSLAC goes through the sunset process which reviews the agency’s work and processes. Recommendations are formulated by the Sunset Commission for the Legislature to consider during its next session in 2019. Any member of the public may give comment to the Sunset Commission. If you wish to contact the Sunset Commission, you may send an email to, call 512-463-1300, or send a letter to Sunset Advisory Commission, P.O. Box 13066, Austin, TX 78711. Since the Sunset Commission is reviewing more than one agency, be sure to mention that you are commenting on TSLAC.

The Marrakesh VIP Treaty: As many of you are aware, many published works are still not available in accessible formats to persons with visual disabilities. If you prefer to read in a foreign language, for example, materials in languages other than English are even harder to come by. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (or The Marrakesh VIP Treaty, for short) could remove some of the obstacles to making those materials more accessible. Since the treaty was first created in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been seeking ratification of the treaty through various governments around the world. The treaty came into force in September 2016 after twenty countries had ratified. To date, thirty-five countries have ratified the treaty, including Canada and Mexico. The United States has not yet ratified the treaty.

What does ratifying the treaty mean for a country? Being a signatory to the treaty means that a country gains certain cooperative copyright exemptions with the other countries that also have ratified the treaty. In simpler terms, if the United States ratifies the treaty, then the United States may have freer access to copyrighted works in any other country that also ratified the treaty. For example, TBP would be able to record works published in Mexico that we do not have access to now. One interesting aspect of the Marrakesh VIP Treaty is that large print versions of books will become easier to produce, an exemption not covered by the U.S. copyright exemption that allows us to record many books published here in the United States. For those of you who read large print, we may be able to make many books in this county available in large print editions through the exemptions provided by the treaty.

The Marrakesh VIP Treaty is currently undergoing hearings in the U.S. Senate and may come up for a ratification vote. If you would like to express an opinion to either of Texas’ senators and need contact information, just call 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant for contact information.

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

Texas Talking Books will be closed for these holidays

Monday, May 28 ~ Memorial Day
Wednesday, July 4 ~ Independence Day

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



BARD Mobile App

Did you know that you can download books and magazines on the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) Mobile app? With BARD Mobile, it is a quick and easy way to listen to talking books and magazines on your smartphone or tablet. You will be able to receive reading materials faster and won’t have to be weighted down with bulky volumes or playback equipment. The free app is available on iOS and Android. The app allows you to download talking books from you NLS BARD account. If you would like to learn more about the BARD Mobile App, please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask to speak with a BARD technical support staffer; if you would like to sign up for a BARD account, please follow the BARD link from our website ( or go to to complete a very brief online application.

May 2018 Book Club

Talking Book patrons, please join us on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. (CST) for our book club discussion of News of the World by Paulette Jiles. (BR 21741; DB 86668; DX 86668) Paulette Jiles was the 2017 winner of the Texas Center for the Book, Great Reads Author.

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 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.

NLS Annotation: 1870. Captain Kidd rides across Texas delivering the news of the day. He is asked to take ten-year-old Johanna Leonberger, recently rescued from a Kiowa tribe, to her family near San Antonio. The captain must deal with Johanna's inability to reacclimate to white culture. Some violence and some strong language. 2016.

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


Scholarship Opportunities for Texas Youth with Disabilities

American Council of the Blind of Texas (ACBT) 2018-2019 Scholarship Announcement - The American Council of the Blind of Texas awards scholarships on an annual basis to deserving students who will be entering college, undergraduate and graduate students, or enrolled in a trade school or technical program. Qualified students must be Texas residents. A completed application and all required supporting documentation must be received by July 7, 2018.

Application packets may be obtained from Texas Workforce Solutions/Blind Services Division Counselors, Education Service Centers, the ACBT website – or from Dianna E. Carter, ACBT Scholarship Committee Chair. Recipients will be notified by Saturday, August 11, 2018. Scholarship recipients are encouraged to attend the 2018 ACBT Conference/Convention on September 20 – 23 at the Houston Marriot Westchase. Scholarship recipients will be presented their scholarships during the Awards Breakfast on Sunday, September 23, 2018. Please submit Scholarship Packets or requests for further information to the following address:

Dianna E. Carter, Committee Chair
12106 Swaps Drive
El Paso, Texas 79936

Education and Training for Youths Aging Out of Foster Care in Texas - Financial assistance of up to $5,000 annually is available to help current and former foster youth ages 16-23 to begin, continue or complete postsecondary education and training programs. Visit Texas Education and Training Voucher program (ETV) at or call 1-877-268-4063 to talk to an ETV Coordinator.

Grants and Scholarships for Students - State and federal grants and scholarships provide financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Some grants and scholarships require the student to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) or take certain courses. Most grants are awarded based on financial need. Visit the following websites for more details about financial aid opportunities and planning for college:

Helpful contacts information for the Talking Book Program

End of Texas Talking Book News
Spring 2018

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: May 23, 2018