National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Celebrate by trying a new creative medium outside your craft comfort zone! If you aren’t already involved in making crafts, now is the time to give a couple of different ones a try. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of introductory books for various crafts. If you’re already at a more advanced level, let us know, and we’ll see what books we have in our collection to inspire your next creative endeavor.

General

CRAFT LAB FOR KIDS: 52 DIY PROJECTS TO INSPIRE, EXCITE, AND EMPOWER KIDS TO CREATE USEFUL BEAUTIFUL HANDMADE GOODS by Stephanie Corfee
(DB 108164) Grades 3-6
EARTH-FRIENDLY CRAFTS FOR KIDS: FIFTY AWESOME THINGS TO MAKE WITH RECYCLED STUFF by Heather Smith (DB 56455) Grades 4-7

Ceramics

CLAY LAB FOR KIDS: 52 PROJECTS TO MAKE, MODEL, AND MOLD WITH AIR-DRY, POLYMER, AND HOMEMADE CLAY by Cassie Stephens (DB 108162) Grades 2-4

Drawing

DRAWING, SKETCHING, AND CARTOONING: TECHNIQUES FOR DRAWING PEOPLE, PLACES, PETS, AND CARTOON CHARACTERS by Deri Robins (BRC 01046)

Felting

UNIQUELY FELT: DOZENS OF TECHNIQUES FROM FULLING AND SHAPING TO NUNO AND COBWEB; INCLUDES FORTY-SIX CREATIVE PROJECTS by Christine White (DB 67685)

Jewelry Making

JEWELRY MAKING FOR FUN AND PROFIT by Lynda S. Musante (DBG 04883)

Knitting

KNITGRRL: LEARN TO KNIT WITH FIFTEEN FUN AND FUNKY PROJECTS by Shannon Okey (DB 62882) Grades 5-8 and older readers

Leatherworking

LEATHER AS ART AND CRAFT by Thelma R. Newman (DB 08973)
KNITTING AND CROCHET FOR THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED AND ELDERLY by Shelagh Hollingworth (DB 17892)

Quilting

FIRST-TIME QUILTMAKING: LEARNING TO QUILT IN SIX EASY LESSONS (DB 108356, BR 24426)

Scrapbooking

MAKING SCRAPBOOKS: COMPLETE GUIDE TO PRESERVING YOUR TREASURED MEMORIES by Vanessa-Ann (DB 47555, BR 12114)

Sewing

FIRST TIME SEWING: THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER’S GUIDE (DB 106097)

Weaving

MAKING RAG RUGS: FIFTEEN STEP-BY-STEP PROJECTS by Clare Hubbard
(BR 14617)
SPIDER’S GAMES: A BOOK FOR BEGINNING WEAVERS by Phylis Morrison (DB 17046)

Woodworking

KIDS’ BUILDING WORKSHOP: FIFTEEN WOODWORKING PROJECTS FOR KIDS AND PARENTS TO BUILD TOGETHER by J. Craig Robertson (DB 60805) Grades 4-7 and older readers
WOODCARVING by Everett Ellenwood (DB 70414) Grades 5-8 and older readers

Accessible StoryWalks for National StoryWalk® Week

November 12-18, 2023 is National StoryWalk® Week, sponsored by Let’s Move in Libraries and the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services! This is the third annual week-long event that, as noted in the Let’s Move in Libraries blog, celebrates “the inspiring work of libraries who spearhead StoryWalk® programs—promoting literacy, reading, health, exercise, and movement in communities and neighborhoods across the United States and the world.”

What even is a StoryWalk®? A StoryWalk® is a permanent installation incorporating a children’s story that has been deconstructed, with each page displayed separately along a path for participants to read and enjoy. It is a wonderful way to promote literacy and movement. Libraries are increasingly working to make these StoryWalks® more accessible to individuals of all abilities. Let’s Move in Libraries includes some tips for making StoryWalks® more accessible in their blog post about National StoryWalk® Week. Here are some things to consider when creating a StoryWalk®:

  • Use braille overlays on top of the book displays.
  • Incorporate an audio reading of the story into the StoryWalk®.
  • Provide audio or braille descriptions of the story’s pictures. Depending on the style of your StoryWalk®, you could even outline the pictures with puffy paint for a tactile design that can be felt!
  • Consider the location of your StoryWalk®. Places that are wheelchair accessible with a wide, paved walkway are preferable to uneven, narrow ground.

If you are in Austin, you can visit a braille enhanced StoryWalk® presented through a partnership between the Texas Talking Book Program and Austin Public Library (APL), located at APL’s Windsor Park Branch (833 Westminster Drive). Currently the APL Windsor Park StoryWalk® tells The Three Billy Goats Buenos story by Susan Middleton Elya. You can read more about this braille enhanced accessible StoryWalk® at the Talking Book Program’s June 6, 2023, press release about the launch of this partnership.

Learn more about accessible design and allyship with these books available through the Talking Book Program, and don’t forget to celebrate National StoryWalk® Week!

ACCESSIBLE AMERICA: A HISTORY OF DISABILITY AND DESIGN by Bess Williamson (DB 94027; BR 22552)

WHAT CAN A BODY DO?: HOW WE MEET THE BUILT WORLD by Sara Hendren (DB 100228; BR 23245)

DEMYSTIFYING DISABILITY: WHAT TO KNOW, WHAT TO SAY, AND HOW TO BE AN ALLY by Emily Ladau (DB 105481; BR 23987)

Introducing “Talking Book Voices” Podcast: Celebrating the Talking Book Program

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new podcast that opens doors to a world of literature and storytelling like never before. “Talking Book Voices” is here, and it’s on a mission to celebrate the incredible magic of the Texas Talking Book Program.

Imagine a world where literature knows no bounds, where books come to life through the power of voice, and where everyone, regardless of their physical abilities or reading difficulties, can access the treasures of accessible reading materials. But the program is much more than just a library. It’s a lifeline to stories, knowledge, and imagination for those who may have thought the world of books was beyond their reach. It’s a testament to the power of technology and community coming together to ensure that no one is left behind in the world of reading.

In each episode, we’ll explore the Talking Book Program’s rich history, share inspiring stories of its impact, and dive into its vast collection of accessible materials. From classic literature to the latest bestsellers, this program opens doors to a world of books, magazines, and newspapers.

“Talking Book Voices” will bring you the latest updates from TBP, offer insights from program experts, and feature heartfelt conversations with patrons who have benefited immensely from this essential service.

To join us on this exciting journey, visit the official “Talking Book Voices” website at www.tsl.texas.gov/podcasts. There, you’ll find more information about the podcast, including details about upcoming episodes, profiles of our inspiring guests, and additional resources related to the Texas Talking Book Program. Episodes will also by published on the TSLAC YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/tslac.

New episodes will be released monthly! So, mark your calendars and prepare to immerse yourself in the world of “Talking Book Voices.” Listen and share with a friend! We look forward to your feedback.

Free Online Courses from DigitalLearn.org

Are you new to the world of technology or maybe you just need a little refresh in your technology skills? Digitallearn.org is offering free online courses to help you in learning the skills you may need.

The “Starting Out” section includes modules for navigating a web site; intro to email, Google Maps, and YouTube; and how to operate both Mac and PC computers.

The “Being Safe Online” section includes information about passwords, privacy, and online scams.

The “Job Skills” section provides guides on how to search and apply for jobs online, as well as creating a resume.

There are also sections for “Being Productive,” “Connecting with Others,” “Mobile Devices,” and “Online Shopping.”

Modules range from 6 to 36 minutes long and include closed captioning.

Visit www.digitallearn.org to access free training modules about aspects of computing.

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 heiskelltech+subscribe@googlegroups.com or contact our tech team to join our announcement list. Email chanceyfleet@nypl.org 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 ChanceyFleet@nypl.org 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

Virtual Introductory Dark Room Ballet Course

If you have vision loss and would like to learn about ballet, a free eight week course is available online.

Movement Research is offering a course starting this Saturday, April 9 from 3-4:30 p.m. (CST) running through the next seven Saturdays.  The course introduces students to necessary concepts such as turnout, torso stability, foot sensitivity and mobility, sightless balancing, and the use of a taped floor for orientation.

The course is taught via Zoom, and there is an option to attend by phone, as well.

To register, send an e-mail to info@darkroomballet.com or call 929-367-0025.

For more information on other virtual courses, visit https://movementresearch.org

Online Technology Classes from the Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library

The Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library in New York is offering free online technology classes for people who are blind or have low vision.

Some of the classes occur just once and some are multi-week courses.

A few examples of the classes are: Intro to NVDA, Exploring JAWS, Intro to Facebook with Accessibility in Mind, and iOS Shortcuts.

For more information on these online courses, you can view the library newsletter at https://www.nypl.org/node/601185 or contact the Talking Book Program’s Disability Information & Referral Center at 1-800-252-9605 (toll free in Texas), 512-463-5458, or by e-mail at tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov.

Workshops from the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area will soon offer two workshops of interest to seniors and their caregivers:

  • The Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop is available to seniors age 60 or older. This six-week virtual course is available online or by phone and will run for two and a half hours each Thursday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. beginning on May 13 and ending on June 17.
  • The Caregiver workshop is for anyone who provides care for a senior who is 60 or older. This six-week virtual course is available online or by phone and will run for two and a half hours each Wednesday from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. beginning on April 14 and ending on May 19.

Both workshops are free, but registration is required, and class size is limited. Contact Jessica Martone at 512-916-6180, or email jmartone@capcog.org for more information, or to register.

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area serves the counties of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson.

Other Area Agencies on Aging in Texas will have these workshops available at various times. To find the office that serves your county, visit https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/contact/aaa.cfm or call 1-800-252-9240.

A Mighty Good Time Programming for Seniors

A Mighty Good Time is a web site for older adults living in the Central Texas area that lists online and in-person programming designed for senior citizens. As most events are virtual for the foreseeable future, this programming can now be accessed from anywhere. These events include a variety of exercise options, virtual tours of museums and world landmarks, cooking demonstrations, book clubs, current event discussions, learning about technology, history lectures, games, and much more. Some of the programs are limited to seniors fifty years and older, but many have no age requirement. And most of the programs are free. Most require Internet access, but some may be accessed by phone or Internet.

During this time of isolation, A Mighty Good Time offers a wealth of social, physical, and intellectual enrichment opportunities. Visit www.amightygoodtime.com and start filling up your calendar.

Senior Planet’s Aging Connected Technology Sessions

Senior Planet is a national organization committed to providing free online programming to older adults. Every week seniors can access a variety of events such as types of exercise, book clubs, and learning opportunities. There are Senior Planet offices in a few cities, including San Antonio.

Recently Senior Planet launched Aging Connected, with the goal of helping seniors learn about technology. Each week Aging Connected highlights the one hour programs that Senior Planet offers about different aspects of current technology, such as getting connected, online shopping, mobile health apps, virtual platforms such as Zoom, transportation apps, and much more. These sessions are interactive, and participants are encouraged to ask questions, and share ideas and resources.

For more information, visit https://seniorplanet.org/aging-connected. You can also call the Aging Connected hotline at 877-745-1930.