TBP Poetry Contest Winners Announced

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 TBP Poetry contest. Thank you to all that participated in the first TBP poetry contest. We received a range of poems–some were happy, some were sad, and some were touching.

Choosing the winners was not an easy task. In the end, the judgment came down to the poets’ originality, style, structure and impact. The judges were blown away by the talent and creativity they received from you, our patrons.

The winners are:
Category 1 (Ages 0- 10): Xiomara Gilliam with “A Cat Who Could Jump”
Category 3 (Ages 19 and Up): Barbary Wright with “Now We Are Ninety”
Category 3 (Ages 19 and Up): Tiffany Chartier with “One Cowboy’s End”

Job well done!

A Cat Who Could Jump by Xiomara Grace Gilliam
There once was a cat who could jump.
He could jump high over a bump.
He fell on his head
And thought he was dead
But all that was there was a lump.

NOW WE ARE NINETY by Barbara M. Wright
God brought us together, by His hand from above,
From the moment we met, we were in love.
Loneliness gone, a new life together,
His hand in mine, we learned from each other.

We are seventy-two and ripe for adventure,
He made me smile as we sang, and we danced,
He was the builder, with saw and a hammer,
I was his helper, standing by with the measure.

Day by day, year by year, our love grew stronger,
Until the day came when he could remember no longer.
Each time I am with him, he asks again and again,
“Why can’t I go home, oh please tell me when.”

Now, our bodies are frail, our sight growing dim,
Yet my love is no less than when I married him.
“What’s the matter with me?” words that tear at my heart.
“You love me no more, or we would not be apart”.

Most of his past and the people he knew,
Like a fog rolling in, seem to have vanished from view.
Oh God, if it you hear me, please call my love home,
I don’t want to die first and leave him alone.

One Cowboy’s End by Tiffany K. Chartier
Tree stumps circle around the old stone fire pit;
Tall grass rides up the boots of those who sit.
Stories are shared with an air of pride,
as the fire swells and the night hides.
Critters on the outskirts stop to listen,
but the cowboys see their eyes a ‘glisten.
The shrouded unknown is haunting;
yes, to all creatures – fear is the most daunting.
That is what, after all, boosts the tales,
around all old stone fire pits around the trails.
So long as the faithful fires keep a ‘swellin;
the sins of the cowboys will remain engulfed with their hellin’.
No one will notice the fear in their eyes;
except, perhaps, for that one fearless critter…right before one cowboy dies.



A Visit to Yorktown Public Library, a TBP Demonstration Site


Beth Riesdesel, director of Yorktown Public Library, holds a DTBM.

Beth Riesdesel, director of Yorktown Public Library, holds a demostration DTBM that is kept near the circulation desk.

Yorktown Public Library (YPL) became a demonstration site for TBP after the Library Director, Beth Riedesel, viewed a TBP webinar which encouraged public libraries to partner with us to enroll their patrons who qualify for TBP services. Riedesel says that she wanted the library to be a demonstration site because there are many people in the area who could benefit from the service. She has a Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM) on display near the check-out desk so people will see it and recommend TBP to family and friends.    

I had the pleasure of making a presentation about TBP to the Friends of the Yorktown Public Library on Dec. 5. They are a dedicated group who raise funds to help the library provide the Summer Reading Program, book trucks and furniture, microfilm/digitization of the local newspaper, and any other needs not covered by the budget. During my visit, I was asked to draw the winning tickets for the quilt raffle, which not only featured a beautiful hand-pieced quilt made by several members of the Friends, but also a crocheted afghan, and a framed piece of stained glass crafted by the Library Director’s husband. 

I gave an overview of TBP and a short demonstration on how to download from BARD. Almost everyone present said they knew at least one person who was eligible for Talking Book service, and most took an application. While I was there, Riedesel certified her first application for TBP.

Yorktown is in DeWitt County, about 16 miles southwest of Cuero, and has a population of approximately 2,200. The library serves Yorktown, but also rural areas of DeWitt County, making the service population close to 2,700. When I left, almost every public access computer was in use, illustrating how important YPL is to DeWitt County residents.

TBP is pleased to have Yorktown Public Librarary as a demo site. Your library can become a demostration site too.  Please see our website for more information about how to do this at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/application/demositepolicy.html 

Visually Impaired Texan Competes for MasterChef–Tonight!

Houston resident Christine Ha is a national sensation due to her success on the third season of MasterChef, the popular Fox cooking competition series. Ms. Ha is a fan favorite, which is not surprising; her incredible talent, quiet charm, and stage presence are a compelling combination. Tonight, she competes as one of the final two contestants for the title of MasterChef.

What is surprising is that Ms. Ha creates all of those beautiful dishes without the advantage of sight. Ms. Ha has a visual impairment and uses a cane to navigate the sets of the show. Because she cannot read print, an assistant finds ingredients on her orders. Ms. Ha lost her vision over the course of eight years due to an autoimmune condition.

The Talking Book Program wishes Ms. Ha the very best of luck on tonight’s final show at 8pm CST on Fox. We hope to soon be able to say that a Texan is the first visually impaired MasterChef!