Staff Pick – Laura Jean– IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS by Rebecca Skloot, DB 70661

The imminent release of HBOs The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, featuring Oprah Winfrey on Saturday April 22nd has generated new interest in the book on which it is based. THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS explains the origins of HeLa cells, which were ultimately used in developing vaccines, medical treatments, and many other scientific breakthroughs. These cells were harvested from a young African American woman in Baltimore, Maryland, Henrietta Lacks, who was suffering from a particularly virulent form of cervical cancer. This book not only explains the impact HeLa cells have had on the evolution of medical research, it also delves into the way that the medical establishment treated Mrs. Lacks and her family and their fight for compensation and acknowledgement.

Written in a thought-provoking and journalistic manner, Ms. Skloot, does a brilliant job of explaining fairly complex scientific processes and medical procedures in a way that anyone can understand. In addition, she interviews Mrs. Lack’s family with compassion, yet maintains her journalistic neutrality. She skillfully sets their personal story against the backdrop of the racial and medical culture of the latter half of the 20th century. Winning best book awards from organizations such as The National Academies of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over two years.

NLS Annotation: Science journalist chronicles the life of African American Henrietta Lacks, who in 1951 had cervical tissue removed and grown in culture–without her permission–producing the first continuously replicating human-cell samples for research. Discusses subsequent medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and AIDS treatment. Explores bioethical concerns involving tissue ownership. Bestseller. 2010.

If you have already read this book or would prefer a book that looks at the broader issue of medical ethics and race, try MEDICAL APARTHEID: THE DARK HISTORY OF MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON BLACK AMERICANS FROM COLONIAL TIMES TO THE PRESENT by Harriet A. Washington, DB 66297.

New from the TBP Recording Studio: January 2017

Check out these new adult and children’s titles fresh from the TBP Recording Studio.  They are available for loan on digital cartridge or for download via BARD.

Adult Titles:

Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert (DT07306)
It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, Texas, and China Bayles is
planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam,
who are turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for
birders. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her friend,
game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers, who was recently transferred to
the area. China and Mack team up to solve a complex case of theft and
murder in a South Texas ranching community. Some strong language and
some violence. 2015. Subjects: Mystery and Detective Stories.
Available for download as DBC07269.

Cemetery World by Clifford Simak (DT07335)
An artist of the far future, an archaeologist aided by robots,
and a band of attractive ghosts search for treasure on an
earth that has been turned into a well-kept cemetery by
mercenary Mother Earth, Inc.  Some strong language and some
violence. 1973. Subjects: Science Fiction.  Available for download as DBC07268.

Children’s Titles:

Hank the Cowdog 12: The Case of the Fiddle Playing Fox by John R. Erickson (DT04881)
While working on a mysterious case involving disappearing eggs and a
fiddle-playing fox named Frankie, Hank the Cowdog falls for Miss
Beulah, the beautiful collie.  The twelfth adventure in the Hank the
Cowdog series. For grades 3-7. 1989. Subjects: Humor; Adventure;
Animals and Wildlife. Available for download as DBC07256.

 Hank the Cowdog 17: The Case of the Car-Barkaholic Dog by John R. Erickson (DT05346)
When Hank finds himself stuck in town, he needs all the brains he can
muster to get rid of the mean, monster Great Dane, “Rambo,” who’s
been terrorizing his sister’s neighborhood.  The seventeenth adventure
in the Hank the Cowdog series. For grades 3-7. 1991. Subjects: Humor; Adventure; Animals and Wildlife. Available for download as DBC07270.

 Hank the Cowdog 25: The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado by John R. Erickson (DT06121)
Hank and his friend Drover come face-to-face with the Swirling
Killer Tornado, and must gather every ounce of courage they
have to save the ranch from the tornado’s course! For grades 3-7. 1995.
Subjects: Humor; Adventure; Animals and Wildlife. Available for download as DBC07271.

Hank the Cowdog 36: The Case of the Raging Rottweiler by John R. Erickson (DT06639)
The ranch is in the grip of a sweltering summer heat wave, and to make
matters worse, Bruiser the rottweiler is on the loose. First Bruiser
attacks a defenseless fawn, then he threatens to come after Hank the
Cowdog, the Head of Ranch Security! Can Hank put this crazy canine
in his place? Or are our hero’s dog days numbered? No. 36 in series.  For grades 3-7. 1989. Subjects: Humor; Adventure; Animals and Wildlife. Available for download as DBC07272.

Sweet Valley High 10: The Wrong Kind of Girl (DT04249)
Number ten in the “Sweet Valley High” series of easy reading books. For
junior and senior high readers. 1984. Subjects: School Fiction.
Available for download as DBC07258.

Snowflake, the Ghost Kitten by Zeno Zeplin (DT07346)
Snowflake was a kitten. Now he is a ghost, and the house where he
lives is getting lonely. But a family with three little girls is
moving in and the fun is about to begin. “Spooking” can be a good
thing if it teaches a real stinker to be a better person, can’t it?
For grades 2-4. 1992. Subjects: Animals and Wildlife.
Available for download as DBC07267.

Texas, the 28th State by Betsy Warren (DT07301)
Reviews cultural and industrial growth in Texas from statehood in
1846, through the 1970’s technological advances. For grades K-3 and older readers. 1984. Subjects: U.S. History. Available for download as DBC07266.        
To request a title please call us at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas)/512-463-5458 (Austin area) or send an email to:


Please join us on Tuesday, March 7 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our “Read Across Texas” Book Club discussion of YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE, by Shiobhan Fallon (DT 07103).

Read Across Texas: The Veteran Experience is an initiative of the Texas Center for the Book to encourage communities to engage in tough but important conversations about what happens when veterans come home.

For more information about Read Across Texas, visit

We host our Book Club meetings via toll free conference call. All you need to participate is a telephone!

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.

YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE was recorded in our Texas TBP Recording Studio and it is not yet available on BARD.

Texas Talking Book Program patrons can download YOU KNOW WHEN THE MEN ARE GONE here:

You Know When the Men are Gone DT 07103

The downloaded book can be played only on authorized devices such as the DTBM. It cannot be played on your computer, or downloaded using the BARD mobile app.

Downloading from this link is similar to downloading it from BARD. The file is in a compressed format that will need to be unzipped.  Only TBP patrons may download the book.


Shiobhan Fallon

DT 07103

There is an army of women waiting for their men to return in Fort Hood, Texas. Through a series of loosely interconnected stories, Fallon takes the readers onto the base, inside the homes, into the marriages and families not seen by the public.  When the men are gone, babies still cry, telephones ring, Saturday morning cartoons screech, but without the men, there is a sense of muted silence, a sense of muted life.  Strong language, violence and some descriptions of sex.  2011.

Please help us “Read Across Texas” on March 7!

Scholarship Resources for Texas Students who are Blind

Here are four scholarship opportunities for Texas students who are blind:

American Council of the Blind of Texas (ACBT)
Application packets may be obtained from the following sources:
• Texas Workforce Solutions/Blind Services Division Counselors
• Education Service Centers
• Dianna Carter, ACBT Scholarship Committee Chair
Please submit scholarship packets or requests for further information to the address below:
Dianna E. Carter, Committee Chair
12106 Swaps Drive
El Paso, TX 79936
The applications will be available from March 1 – July 7, 2017.

American Council of the Blind (ACB) Scholarship Program (National)
For more information, contact:
American Council of the Blind Scholarship Program
Attn: Dee Theien
6300 Shingle Creek Parkway, Suite 195
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
The deadline for applying is February 15, 2017.

National Federation of the Blind of Texas (NFBT)
Applications and information will be available beginning June 1, 2017.
The deadline is August 15, 2017.
Applications will be available at
For additional information, contact:
Lara Sowell, Scholarship Chair

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Scholarship Program (National)
NFB is currently accepting applications.
The deadline is March 31, 2017.
Applications are available at

BARD Express is Here!

The National Library Service (NLS) is pleased to offer BARD Express to its BARD patrons.

BARD Express simplifies the downloading process for patron using Windows-based computers. BARD Express downloads multiple books simultaneously, unzips them automatically, and transfers them to your storage device.  It also remembers your BARD password and logs you in automatically each time you access BARD.

Kirk Saathoff, a California software developer, created BARD Express and donated it to the Library of Congress. Saathoff’s wife and son are NLS patrons.

To learn more about this exciting new feature, visit the BARD Express Home page:

NLS has produced a series of tutorial videos that introduce patrons to BARD Express. Browse these informative videos to learn more about BARD Express!

An Introduction

Browsing the BARD Collection

Transferring Materials to a Cartridge

Browsing the Recently Added and Most Popular Lists

Searching the BARD Collection

Using Your Wish List

Setting and Changing Preferences

Managing Devices

Tips and Tricks

Access the whole series here: BARD Express How-To Series.

For additional assistance or BARD support, contact the Texas Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas), 512-463-5458; or

February 2017 TBP Book Club Title Announced!

Texas Talking Book patrons: please join us on Tuesday February 7th at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes.

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:
Working-class English girl Louisa “Lou” Clark is hired as an aide to wealthy Will Traynor, a former mogul who has been paralyzed since a road accident. Lou tries to keep the embittered Will engaged with the world, while Will encourages Lou to expand her horizons. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2012.

Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards Announced


The social cataloging website for book lovers, Goodreads, has just announced their readers’ Choice Awards for 2016. The Texas Talking Book Program has a good number of them in our collection. Are you looking for a non-fiction book? Goodreads members chose WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanthithi (BR 21371; DB 83643) as their favorite memoir. Are you more interested in fiction? Try TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Liane Moriarty (DB 85100). Is young adult fiction more your thing? Ruta Sepetys’ book SALT TO THE SEA (DB 83767) was their selection in that category. Perhaps you’re in the market for a new author to explore. Goodreads readers awarded Alwyn Hamilton the honor of Debut Goodreads Author for her book REBEL OF THE SANDS (DB 84465). No matter which genre you enjoy, the bibliophiles at Goodreads have chosen a favorite book published this year. Contact us and we can help you find your next favorite book.

For more information:

Make Your Voice Heard: Two Survey Opportunities

The first survey involves employment of people with disabilities. The survey may be completed by individuals with disabilities, employers, or providers. This survey is not restricted to any county or area of the state.

The deadline for completion is Friday, December 16th. Please follow this link to access the survey:

The second survey is only for residents of Travis County, and concerns transportation. Here is the link for this survey:

There is one week remaining to complete this survey. Interested persons may choose a brief version of the survey, or a detailed version.

New from the TBP Recording Studio October 2016

Check out these titles fresh from the TBP Recording Studio.  They are available for loan on digital cartridge or for download via BARD.

End of the Line: Cody’s Law Book 7 by Matthew S. Hart (DT 5502)
When a Texas and Pacific train jumps the rail near the quiet town of
Terrell, it’s soon apparent that the bloody incident was no accident.
Someone deliberately pulled the spikes on that section of track, and
it’s up to Texas Ranger Sam Cody to find out who. Subjects: Western
Stories. Available for download as DBC07229.

Memoria del Olvido by Jacqueline Diamond (DT 7196) (Spanish)
Irrumpir en la boda de su novia del instituto iba mas alla de lo que le exigia
el deber, pero el oficial Joseph Lowery habia percibido algo inquietante en el
inminente matrimonio de Erin Marshal con un hombre al que ni siquiera
recordaba haber dicho que si. Despues del accidente Erin no habia
podido recordar nada del dia en que habia estado a punto de morir.
Subjects: Romantic suspense fiction; Spanish Language; Romance.
Available for download as DBC07231.

The Devil’s Odds by Milton T. Burton (DT 7307)
It’s December 1942, and Texas Ranger Virgil Tucker receives a message
from a mysterious young woman, Madeline Kimbell asking for his
protection. Madeline has witnessed a violent crime, and the men
responsible are happy to take extreme measures to keep her from
talking. They are some of the most dangerous men in Texas. And when a
prominent Texas attorney is murdered, Virgil is drawn into the
high-stakes world of the New Orleans mafia. Strong language and
violence. 2012. Subjects: Mystery and Detective Stories. Available for download as DBC07233.

A Dead Bore: Another John Pickett Mystery by Sheri Cobb South (DT 7296)
Eager to escape London following the scandal of her husband’s death,
beautiful Lady Fieldhurst accepts an invitation to summer in rural
Yorkshire at the home of Sir Gerald and Lady Hollingshead. But country
life is not the panacea she imagined; tension reigns and tempers
flare. When a dinner party ends in the death of a kindly old vicar,
Lady Fieldhurst suspects foul play and secretly sends for Bow Street
Runner John Pickett. 2008. Subjects: Mystery and Detective Stories.
Available for download as DBC07234.

Deerinwater by Jan Reid (DT 3990)
Jared Ramey, ex-high school football star, college dropout, and
erstwhile Marine, returns to his home town of Deerinwater, Texas, to
seek his little daughter’s love. He also wants to try to reclaim his
divorced wife and win back the respect of his parents. Working as a
deputy, Jared is drawn into a fierce feud between his boss, Sheriff
Sam Bookout, and District Attorney Jerome Ramey, Jared’s father.
Violence, strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. 1985.
Subjects: Human Relations. Available for download as DBC07235.

Stagecoach Station 11, Deadwood by Hank Mitchum (DT 4666)
Deadwood, the mining town in the Black Hills, exploded in 1876 and
draws a troupe of actors by stage to the Dakota territory. Johnny
Varnes, a gambling hall owner, plots to control the town, but Tom
Burdock and Wild Bill Hickok stand in his way, and the acting troupe
is swept up in the deadly drama. Subjects: Western Stories.
Available for download as DBC07236.

A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado (DT 6008)
Lucado uses passages from the book of John and pictures and parables
from everyday life to call us to trust God in tough times. God’s
goal, he says, is to get us home safely, even if that means trials
along the way. Subjects: Religion. Available for download as DBC07238.

The Darrell Royal Story by Jimmy Banks (DT 2830)
This story outlines the fascinating, spectacular climb of the most
successful coach in Southwest Conference history, Darrell Royal of
the University of Texas at Austin. Subjects: Sports and Recreation; Biography.
Available for download as DBC07239.

No Wonder They Call Him The Savior by Max Lucado (DT 4307)
Insights on what Christ accomplished and its significance for
believers and non-believers alike. Subjects: Religion. Available for download as DBC07240.

What of the Mormons? by Gordon Bitner Hinckley (DT 2817)
This is a brief attempt to answer the questions: Who are the Mormons?
What do they believe? What is their program? What is their
organization?  What is their history? Subjects: Religion. Available for download as DBC07242.

Hank the Cowdog and Monkey Business by John R. Erickson (DT 4933)
Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security, matches wits with an
escaped circus monkey.  The fourteenth adventure in the Hank the
Cowdog series. Subjects: Western Stories. Available for download as DBC07228.

If I Can Do It Horseback by John Hendrix (DT 2895)
A collection of articles originally written for The Cattleman present
a panoramic view of West Texas ranch life.  Topics covered include
the day-to-day life of the cowboy, the problems of ranch operation
and descriptions of various portions of West Texas cattle lands.
1964. Subjects: The West. Available for download as DBC07237.

Catlow by Louis L’Amour (DT 7053) (Spanish)
Ben Cowan y Bijah Catlow eran amigos desde jovenes. De majores, Catlow
se habia convertido en un forajido y Cowan en un alguacil de los
Estados Unidos. Asi que cuando su viejo amigo viajo hasta Mexico para
dar el mayor golpe de su carrera, Ben Cowan tuvo que perseguirlo y
detenerlo. Subjects: Western Stories; Spanish Language.
Available for download as DBC07241.

Frontier Fury: A Western Duo by Will Henry (DT 7295)
Two stories dealing with the Indian wars in the Colorado Territory
and the Pacific Northwest in the mid-1800s. In “The Legend of Little
Dried River,” Preacher Nehemiah Bleek is the founder of a mission
school that offers sanctuary to Indian children orphaned by the
Indian wars raging in the Colorado Territory. In “Frontier Fury,”
Kamiak, a murderous Palouse chieftain, is vying for control of the
Yakima Federation of Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest. Some
strong language, some violence. 1952.  Subjects: Western Stories.
Available for download as DBC07243.

To request a title please call us at 1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas)/512-463-5458 (Austin area) or send an email to:

Important Information for Texas Voters with Disabilities

Here is important information about voting in Texas if you have a disability:

In every federal election each polling place will offer at least one type of accessible voting equipment.

Accessible voting systems can accommodate no vision, low vision, no hearing, low hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited reach, limited strength, no mobility, low mobility, or any combination of the foregoing except the combination of no hearing and no vision.

Each polling place is required to meet strict accessibility standards, such as ground floor access, curb cuts to the entrance, wide doors, and other barrier free elements.

Voters with disabilities may receive assistance in voting from either election officials or a person of their choosing. A voter may not receive assistance from his/her employer or someone from a union. The voter does not have to provide proof of disability.

If a person asks for assistance from an election official, a poll watcher or election inspector is allowed to observe the process.

A voter who does not understand English, or communicates using sign language, may bring an interpreter to assist him/her with voting. If the voter cannot bring someone, he/she should contact a local election official and request that an interpreter be available at the polling location. Be sure to specify what type of interpreter is needed (for an oral language other than English or for sign language).

Curbside voting is allowed during early voting or on Election Day. It is advisable to call an election official ahead of time if curbside voting will be needed.

If you are over the age of 65, have a disability, or will be out of town on Election Day, you may vote by mail. Click here for instructions on voting by mail:

In some counties, the Democratic Party staffs volunteers who will provide transportation to voters who are elderly or disabled on Election Day. These volunteers will not ask for money, and will not ask who you are voting for or what your party affiliation is. It is advisable to contact the office ahead of time as there may be a waiting list or transportation schedule. For a list of the Democratic Party offices in Texas, click here:

Information for this blog post was taken from: