ANNOUNCING: 2023 Summer Reading Program

Our ALL AGES summer reading program is returning for its second year on June 5, 2023! This year’s theme is All Together Now and focuses on friendship, kindness, and unity.

Sign up will begin on April 1, 2023. The first 100 people who sign up will receive a summer reading goody bag!

Sign up by filling out the following online form:

Or by calling us at 1-800-252-9605.

The webpage for summer reading is here:

From June 5 to August 11, you’ll get themed book lists and matching activities by age group, and you can win a prize at the end of summer by reviewing books.

This year the National Library Service is also providing several virtual events, including live, virtual author talks!

We can’t wait for you to join us this summer!

Join us March 21 for TBP Book Club: WILDER GIRLS

Image of books, audio book on cell phone, and headphones, with text "Talking Book Program Phone-In Book Club," 1-800-252-9605

Please join us on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our TBP Book Club discussion of WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power.

We host our Book Club meetings via Zoom; however, all you need to participate is a telephone! If you have a land line, we will provide a telephone number for you to dial. If you have a smart phone, we will email you an easy “one click” number you can use to join the discussion. We will also email a Zoom invitation to those who prefer to use a computer. This information will be sent to all patrons who RSVP a week prior to the book club meeting.

To RSVP, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605. (RSVP preferred by March 6.)

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD. Also, please let us know if you would like a reminder via email or phone-call (or both).

We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous and respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power DB 96341

Teens Hetty, Byatt, and Reese go to extremes trying to uncover the dark truth about the Tox, a mysterious disease that has them in quarantine at their boarding school on a Maine island. Violence and some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

We look forward to having you join us on March 21!

Announcing Our NEW Youth Book Club

We are excited to announce our first ever youth book club selections! Below you will find the dates, times, titles, and recommended age ranges for each event. If you need to do some more digging into the contents of each book, we recommend checking if our descriptions are not in-depth enough. The age ranges are just recommendations. If you are interested in a book that is not in your age range, you are welcome to join anyway-just double check those descriptions!

These will take place on password protected Zoom calls. You can join with a computer, smartphone, or by calling in.

Once you register for the book clubs you’d like to join, we will approve the registration and you’ll get an email confirmation with all the details.

February 7, 2023 (Tuesday)= YA Book Club. Recommended for 9th grade and older

6:00-6:45 pm on Zoom  


DB 104015; BR 24064

Length: 12 hours 36 minutes listening time

1954. McCarthyism and the Red Scare are genuine threats to Lily’s family; her father is already at risk of deportation despite his valid citizenship. Lily, who is Chinese American, could lose everything just for dating anyone white–let alone another girl–but she could lose herself if she isn’t true to her feelings. Includes supplemental material. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

Why we picked it:

This book has won so many awards that the print cover is barely visible! Includes the National Book Award, Stonewall Award, and Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.

Register here:

April 6, 2023 (Thursday)= Middle Grade Book Club. Recommended for 4th– 8th graders

4:30- 5:00 pm on Zoom

GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Regan Barnhill

DB 85739; BR 21836; LB 09158

Length: 8 hours 30 minutes listening time

Every year a community leaves a baby as an offering to a powerful, yet misunderstood witch named Xan. One infant–now a young girl–is being raised by the witch and must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her. For grades 4-7. 2016. Rated: no sex, profanity, or violence.

Why we picked it:

Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal!

Register here:

June 13, 20203 (Tuesday)= Summer Reading Program Book Club (all youth participants)

5:00- 5:45 pm on Zoom

TOO BRIGHT TO SEE by Kyle Lukoff

DB 105462

Length: 4 hours 30 minutes listening time

In the summer before middle school, eleven-year-old Bug must contend with best friend Moira suddenly caring about clothes, makeup, and boys; a ghostly haunting; and the truth about Bug’s gender identity. Rated commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 2021. Rated: no sex, profanity, or violence.

Why we picked it:

Summer reading theme is friendship! National Book Award Finalist 2021, Stonewall Book Award 2021, Newbery Honor Book 2021.  

Register Here:

August 8, 2023 (Tuesday)= YA Book Club. Recommended for 9th grade and older

6:00-6:45 pm on Zoom


DB 89542; BR 22186; LB 11298

Length: 7 hours 15 minutes listening time

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake, and her best and most fearless friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. Meanwhile, Aza obsesses about everything. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2017.

Why we picked it:

New York Times Bestseller, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Register here:

October 10, 2023 (Tuesday)= YA Book Club. Recommended for 9th grade and older

6:00-6:45 pm on Zoom

SO MANY BEGINNINGS by Bethany Morrow

DB 105273

Length: 8 hours 16 minutes listening time

At the Freedpeople Colony at Roanoke, a haven for the recently emancipated, the four March sisters–Meg, Joanna, Bethlehem, and Amethyst–come into their own as independent young Black women, together facing love, sickness, heartbreak, and new horizons. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

Why we picked it:

A Little Women remix. Part of Remixed Classics series. American Library Association Rise Top 10 Selection in 2022.

Register here:

December 7, 2023 (Thursday)= Middle Grade Book Club. Recommended for 4th-8th graders

4:30- 5:00 pm on Zoom


DB 89430; BR 22120

Length: 5 hours 26 minutes listening time

Born without arms, spunky thirteen-year-old Aven worries about making friends at her new school after her family moves to Arizona to manage the run-down Stagecoach Pass theme park. Aven bonds with classmate Connor, and the two soon find themselves immersed in a mystery at the park. For grades 5-8. 2017. Rated: no sex, profanity, or violence.

Why we picked it:

Library of Congress’s 52 Great Reads List 2017 and Reading the West Award Winner.

Register here:

Bluebonnet Award Voting is Now Open!

Bluebonnet Award Logo

For 3rd – 6th graders

The Texas Library Association offers “a unique program that encourages reading for pleasure for students in grades 3 – 6.” Each year a committee of librarians and teachers nominates several titles for people in grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 to read and then vote for their favorite.

Link to Bluebonnet Nominee List

Read 5, then decide!

Vote using the link below for your favorite Bluebonnet title by February 9!

Your votes will be tallied on February 9 and submitted to the committee on February 11.

Announcing: Youth Newsletter and Website

Texas Talking Book Program Youth Services Header with Logo

The Texas Talking Book Program is excited to offer a new monthly newsletter just for our youth patrons!

Any patron 18 and younger (or their caregiver) can sign up to receive a youth-specific newsletter each month that will include book lists, BARD tips and tricks, activities, and other fun things. We encourage you to choose the email format because of paper shortages, but the newsletter will also be available in large print and Braille as needed. A Spanish version is also available.

You can sign up here:

Or you can call us at 1-800-252-9605

By signing up you’ll be the first to know about new youth service offerings and events!

Affordable Connectivity Program: Get Discounted Internet and Vouchers Toward Devices

Recently the federal government launched the Affordable Connectivity Program to help people get home internet services and devices such as tablets and computers at a lower cost. This program can be accessed by people who want help paying for their current internet service, or those who do not have home internet service yet. Below is some information on the program and tips for how to apply, and how to get help with the application process.


The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Who Is Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

A household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if the household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program;
  • Participates in one of these assistance programs:
    • The National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
    • SNAP
    • Medicaid
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • WIC
    • Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
    • or Lifeline;
  • Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands:
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance 
    • Tribal TANF
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Tribal Head Start (income based)

Get Help:

How to Apply Link:

Helpline Phone Number: 877-384-2575

Link to Participating Providers in Texas:

What you will need to apply:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • ID verification such as Social Security Number, Tribal ID, Drivers License, Passport, or other government ID
  • Home address where you want internet service (no PO boxes)
  • Knowledge on if you and/or your child qualify based on their eligibility guidelines
  • An email address if applying online (follow mailing instructions in that How to Apply link to do it by mail)
  • Documentation to prove eligibility

Tip 1: If you already have internet service, contact your provider and have them enroll you in this program!

Tip 2: If you live with other people that you are not related to, all of you can apply for this program separately.

Tip 3: Approval is not instant. Make sure you plan ahead, with the knowledge that you will need to wait for approval before getting the discounts.

Summer Reading

Every summer former President Barack Obama shares his favorite books. Below are his selections for this year. There are two that we do not have in our collection, but they are listed here if you would like to find them elsewhere.

SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Emily St. John Mandel

DB 107705

At scattered points across time and space, overlapping occurrences of violin music and a mysterious forest emerge. They are experienced by a young man in the Canadian wilderness, a famous writer visiting Earth from a moon colony, and a detective hired to investigate an anomaly in time. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.


DB 98738

A political journalist argues for the inevitability of President Trump’s election given the partisan state of politics in early twenty-first century America. The author traces polarization in politics in the late twentieth century and feedback loops that he perceives between polarized political identities and political institutions. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

THE CANDY HOUSE by Jennifer Egan

DB 107786

Tech mogul Bix Bouton’s company, Mandala, has developed a new platform called “Own Your Unconscious” that allows you access to every memory you have ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others. While some embrace this new technology, others–including Bix’s son—reject it. Strong language. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.


DB 103276

The author of GO AHEAD IN THE RAIN (DB98408) presents a collection of essays connected by the topic of black performance in America. Combining personal stories with history, he explores how African Americans have contributed to American culture while facing racism and stereotyping. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

TO PARADISE by Hanya Yanahihara

DB 106323

A townhouse in Greenwich Village ties together three stories of love and loss. In an alternative version of 1893, same-sex marriage is commonplace. In 1993, a young Hawaiian man lives with an older lover while the AIDS epidemic rages. In 2093, the world is ravaged by plagues as a woman seeks her missing husband. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022

SILVERVIEW by John le Carré

DB 105799

Julian Lawndsley has left a high-flying job in the city for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. A few months later, he is approached by a Polish émigré with dangerous knowledge of Julian’s family. Julian is soon approached by a spy chief. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.

BLACK CAKE by Charmaine Wilkerson

DB 106558

In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two estranged children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording. In the message, she shares the story of escaping her island home under suspicion of murder. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022

THE FAMILY CHAO by Lan Samantha Chang

DB 106766

The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. But when the three sons are all back in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT by Sivlia Moreno-Garcia

DB 104794

Mexico City, 1971. Maite is a secretary who lives for the next issue of Secret Romance. She envies the apparent intrigue and romance of her next-door neighbor Leonora. But when Leonora disappears, Maite searches for her. Maite’s path crosses with criminal Elvis, who is also hunting Leonora. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.


DB 106410

Set in near-future America, the School for Good Mothers is a government-run reform program where bad mothers are retrained using robot children with artificial intelligence. Single-mother Frida Liu is turned in by a neighbor and must spend a year at the newly created institution to regain custody of her daughter. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.


DB 104101

Ike Randolph knows as a Black man to be cautious with the police at your door. He is not expecting news of his son Isiah’s murder and that of Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Both victims’ fathers are intent on getting revenge for their sons. Violence, strong language, and some explicit descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2021.


DB 106707

A sports journalist looks at the origin, evolution, and eventual decline of the New York Knicks basketball team, focusing on the 1990s. The Knicks hired coach Pat Riley in 1991, who radically changed the culture of the franchise—turning them into a team often looking for a fight. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

MOUTH TO MOUTH by Antoine Wilson

(Not in NLS collection)


(Not in NLS collection)

Free Workshops on Accessible Tech from New York’s Talking Book Library

A fellow NLS network library in New York is hosting several Tech and Culture workshops virtually this summer. They are inviting patrons from all libraries to attend for free! You can read about each session below, and there will be a contact person or a sign-up link for you to follow. Please note you will need to call the New York library for assistance with these workshops, their contact information is in their introduction. All times are listed in Eastern time.

Tech and Culture Workshops from the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library in New York:

Join our vibrant community for free, interactive remote workshops every week covering tech topics for beginners and seasoned users, book discussions, a Braille study group and more. Below, you will find offerings for August: just use the link within each listing to register. To receive a reminder about each upcoming workshop or find out about additional pop-up offerings, email or contact our tech team to join our announcement list. Email or call (212) 206-5400 and ask for zoom links for tech workshops, where available.

iPhone Chat for Voiceover Beginners

First Saturdays (July 2, August 6, September 3), 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. (EST)

If you’re new to using Voiceover on the iPhone or if you’re still working toward confidence, this discussion group is for you. We will spend some time going over the theory of how screen readers work, gestures everyone needs to know, and some strategies for getting help. Then, we will open it up for questions and networking.

This event will take place online.  

Join the Zoom for Voiceover Beginners

iPhone Chat for Voiceover Users: Beyond the Basics

First Saturdays (July 2, August 6, September 3), 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. (EST)

Talk about customizing gestures and settings, exploring new apps, choosing accessories, dealing with bugs, and whatever else comes to mind. This is a space for any and all Voiceover topics that go beyond the basics of using common gestures and built-in apps. 

This event will take place online.  

Join the Zoom for Voiceover: Beyond the Basics

The Zoom about Zoom: What Participants and Hosts Need to know

Friday July 1, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (EST) 

Get ready to manage microphones, cameras, chat messages, raised hands, polls and breakout rooms with confidence. We will show you everything you need to know to bring your best self to virtual gatherings, whether you’re attending or hosting.

This event will take place online.

Register for Zoom about Zoom

Descriptive Origami

Friday July 1, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (EST)

We will use effective verbal communication and teamwork to learn origami models like a lotus, a goldfish and a card holder. This hands-on event will take place in person: kindly RSVP to to reserve your spot!

Intro to NVDA: a Ten-day Summer Immersion 

August 8 through 19, Monday through Friday, 3 – 5 p.m. (EST)

There are several Windows screen readers to choose from. Come discover how this free, open-source option compares. If you know how to type, understand Windows basics, can commit to attending ten sessions, and would like to become more confident and proficient with the NVDA screen reader, this workshop is for you! Please plan to join us each week for a hands-on lesson and discussion. This workshop also includes a group mailing list where you can post your questions and discoveries for other members of your cohort to read and respond, as well as a weekly recap that is optional to attend half an hour before the official start of each class. We will cover the basics of customizing NVDA settings, getting around in Windows 10 or 11, working with text, managing files and folders and exploring the web. This workshop will be limited to 30 participants, so please apply to participate soon!

This event will take place online.  

Register for NVDA Summer Immersion

Getting Started with Podcasting

Saturday July 16, 2 – 3:30 p.m. (EST)

Join volunteer Brian Fischler from That Real Blind Tech Show to find out how you can get started producing your own podcast. Brian will walk you through the supplies you will need to get started podcasting, easy ways to record both you and guests, hosting services, editing, and publishing your own show.

This event will take place online.

Register For Getting Started with Podcasting

Making Videos with Clips

Saturday July 23, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (EST)

Learn how to use this popular mobile app to create, edit and share your own videos.

This event will take place online.

Register For Making Videos with Clips

Getting Started with Podcasting

Thursday August 4, 7 – 8:30 p.m. (EST)

You probably have heard people discussing fantasy football at school or around the office. What is it, and why are millions of people playing it? Volunteer, Brian Fischler, will share his 20 years of knowledge playing fantasy football with you. He will explain the game and how to play for free on Yahoo Fantasy, discuss different strategies to the game, the live draft where you pick your own players, following your team, making trades of players, and how live scoring works. The great thing about fantasy football is that you can put as little or as much time into it as you want. And as Brian says, fantasy football is the world’s greatest waste of time, but wow is it fun.

This event will take place online. 

Register for Getting Started with Podcasting

High- and Low-tech Organization and Labeling Tips

Monday August 15, 7 – 8:30 p.m. (EST)

We all have items around that we need to identify. Whether a document, file folder, containers, books, or clothing, there are eyes-free strategies for identifying things around the home or office. Join this workshop to learn about and share resources and methods for labeling as a blind person. We will cover resources for adhesive labeling with a slate and stylus, Perkins brailler, as well as more high-tech tools to label clothing for laundry and identification, and more.

This event will take place online. 

Register for High and Low Tech Organization

Using Braille Displays with iOS

Monday August 22, 7 – 8:30 p.m. (EST)

Your Braille display can be a powerful companion to your iPhone or iPad, but there is so much to know as you begin. We will go through common Braille display commands, settings and customizations, known bugs and workarounds, and apps that work especially well with Braille.

This event will take place online. 

Register for Using Braille Displays with iOS

Google Apps with Accessibility in Mind

Let’s explore popular free tools that you can use on the web or with mobile apps to manage your time, share your work and collaborate. Participation in all sessions is encouraged, since we’ll be building your knowledge from week to week.

All sessions meet on Wednesdays, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (EST)

August 24: Drive and Docs Basics

August 31: Drive and Docs: Formatting, organization, editing, and version control

September 7: Docs: Commenting, Collaboration, Track Changes, Sharing Permissions and Publishing 

September 14: Calendar (including invitations, shared calendars, and Meet)

September 21: Sheets

September 28: Slides 

This event will take place online.

Register for Google Apps with Accessibility in Mind

Announcing Braille on Demand Service from NLS

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) just announced the launch of Braille on Demand. This new service allows braille readers to request one title per month in paper braille format that patrons are allowed to keep.

You may begin requesting titles on June 20, 2022.

To request the one monthly title, patrons of the Talking Book Program will fill out the request form that goes directly to NLS:

Once NLS processes your request, they will mail the braille book straight to you.

The link to theform is also available on our website at: and here

Guidelines for requesting titles:

  • Braille titles will be limited to books that are currently available on BARD. You can either search BARD for titles here or call us to check if the title you would like is available.
  • Only complete titles will be distributed. Requests for partial titles (for example, volume one of a three-volume book) will result in receiving the entire book.
  • As of now, patrons may request one title per calendar month.

If you fill out the request form on your own, you will need to know the following:

  • The book title
  • The BR number of the title from BARD
  • Your patron ID number (it begins with TX1A. Call us to get that number if you don’t know it)
  • The name of your network library: Texas Talking Book Program

We hope that our braille patrons will take advantage of this new service.

Please call us if you have any questions or if you would like us to fill out the form for you.

July 19 Book Club Title Announced

Blue background with image of 2 books stacked on top of each other with an iPhone on top displaying the BARD Mobile app, and headphones over the stack. Text reads: Taking Book Program Phone-In Book Club 1-800-252-9605"

Please join us on Tuesday July 19, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. for our book club discussion of GREENLIGHTS by Matthew McConaughey (DB 101312).

Fun fact: Matthew McConaughey is a native Texan and a Texas resident!

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 book in digital cartridge or if you prefer to download the audio version from BARD, and if you’d like the discussion questions mailed to you instead of sent by email.

RSVP preferred by July 2.

NLS Annotation for GREENLIGHTS:

Memoir from Academy Award-winning actor in films including Dazed and Confused and Dallas Buyers Club shares his experiences and his philosophy on life. He describes “greenlights” as the times when the universe gives us permission to try new things. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2020. Narrated by the author. 6 hours, 45 minutes.

We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous. Be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

We look forward to having you join us on Tuesday, July 19!