National Book Festival

The Library of Congress National Book Festival will be a virtual event that takes place from September 17 – 26, 2021. The theme of this year’s event is “Open a book, open the world.” All sessions will be available as livestreams and videos on demand. For more information about the festival, visit:

You can also view new information by visiting the National Book Festival blog at:

Bonus TBP Book Club Title Announced for June 2021!

Logo for Center for the Book

The Talking Book Program is participating in the Read Across Texas initiative sponsored by the Texas Center for the Book. In honor of this event, we will be hosting a bonus book club meeting so that our patrons can participate in this year’s event. For more information visit

Please join us on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather (DB 90479).

Please join us on Thursday June 24 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our book club discussion of WHAT UNITES US: REFLECTIONS ON PATRIOTISM by Dan Rather.

NLS Annotation: Essays from the television journalist and his longtime collaborator that celebrate the values that tend to be shared throughout America, particularly those related to patriotism. Topics discussed include public institutions such as parks and libraries, the drive for innovation, and more. Narrated by Dan Rather. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2017.

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 (RSVP preferred by May 27) 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.

2019 TBP Poetry Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of the TBP Poetry contest. Thank you to all that participated in the 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. We look forward to the next contest submissions.

First Place: Valentine Day by Boyd Reedy
This day was made in God`s own heart,
For lovers young and old
To re-affirm their ageless love,
Their purest thoughts confirm.
I have no worldly goods to offer as my due,
My only wealth forever true is life and love for you.

Second Place: Thoughts by Sherrie Lindemann
Sometimes I sit and dream
And let my thoughts go wild,
The things I see inside my head
Remind me of a child.
Our simple thoughts
Give comfort,
Like holding on so tight,
Hoping they don’t go away,
Somewhere in the night.

Third Place: A Talking Book Reader’s Haiku by Neva Fairchild
Will you read today?
But of course. How could I not?
A new book awaits.

Beloved African American Novelist Ernest J. Gaines dies at 86

Author Earnest J. Gaines passed away on Tuesday, November 6th at his home in Louisiana. He was the author of many novels, the most famous being The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. He won the National Book Critics Award in 1993 for his novel A Lesson Before Dying.

Gaines’ work portrays the struggles and experiences of African Americans in the United States from slavery-times to the civil rights era. Gaines received many awards “including a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was named a MacArthur Fellow — the coveted ‘genius grant’– in 1993. President Bill Clinton awarded Gaines the National Humanities Medal in 2000. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts” reports NPR. Ernest J. Gaines work is available for download on BARD.


A Louisiana ex-slave recounts her life from the end of the Civil War to the mid-twentieth-century civil rights movement. Also includes a speech by Sojourner Truth, a short story by Pearl S. Buck, and related memoirs, poems, and essays. Some strong language. 1971.


When a black man kills and shoots a Cajun farmer in rural Louisiana, a young white woman rallies the other black men in the area to his defense. The “gathering of old men” face the local sheriff–each with an identical shotgun, each claiming to be guilty. Meanwhile, across town the youngest brother of the murdered man argues with his father against organizing a lynch mob to take revenge against the old men. Some strong language. For junior and senior high and older readers.

IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE                 DB 12116

In a small, rural, black community in the deep South, a confrontation occurs between the Reverend Phillip Martin, an important civil rights leader, and a callow, young, unkempt stranger, who brutally exposes the minister’s buried past. Some strong language.

A LESSON BEFORE DYING              DB 36694

Bayonne, Louisiana, 1948. A young, naive black man has been sentenced to death for the murder of a white man–a murder that he did not commit. His attorney argues that he is too stupid to plan a crime. “Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair…” Galled by this defense, Jefferson’s godmother, Miss Emma, turns to Grant, the plantation schoolteacher, to teach Jefferson to die like a man. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.


Brady Sims pulls out a gun in a courtroom and shoots his own son, who has just been convicted of robbery and murder. A cub reporter learns that Sims had been tasked with keeping the black children of Bayonne, Louisiana, in line to protect them from the unjust world. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

Low Vision Expo in Austin on May 4th

Northwest Hills Eye Care is presenting the first ever low vision awareness expo in Austin on Saturday, May 4th. Attendees will hear presentations by experts in the field of vision impairment and have an opportunity to meet with exhibitors who provide resources and technology related to low vision and blindness.

This event will be from 9 am to 2 pm at the Austin Jewish Community Center, located at 7300 Hart Lane.

To RSVP for this event, or for more information, contact Regina at 512-328-0555, or e-mail

The Library of Congress Wants to Hear from You!

Beginning in early March, a sample of 10,000 reader/patrons across the country who currently use services provided by the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped–also known as NLS–will be invited to participate in a nationwide survey. The information collected from this survey will guide NLS as they move forward on a variety of projects to enhance and expand the braille and talking- book program. As a part of NLS’s cooperating network of libraries, the Texas Talking Book Program encourages invited patrons to respond to the survey at their earliest convenience. Insights gathered from this survey will help us better understand the needs of all of our patrons. You may receive an invitation by mail, email, or phone. In order to ensure ease of use, readers selected for the survey will be given the option of responding in a number of ways to their invitation. Once you have received your invitation, if you have questions, please feel free to contact Gallup Support at or call 1-888-297-8999.

Introducing Duplication on Demand–A New Service for TBP Patrons

The Talking Book Program is now serving patrons with a great new service called Duplication on Demand (DoD). It will allow you to get almost any book that is available on BARD right away. When you order books, or when automatic selection orders books for you, they are recorded on a cartridge and sent to you within a day or two (provided you don’t already have a full quota.) Of course, if you have other requests on your list, you’ll need to tell us if you want new requests first. Otherwise, the computer may send older requests before the new ones. There’s no waiting for other patrons to return a copy; all downloadable books are always available. DoD puts up to 8 books on one cartridge, but you don’t need to be able to use Bookshelf because new programming has simplified the way you move from book to book. You can also get a whole series put on one cartridge– in series order—just let us know if there’s one you would like.

We are starting the process of moving all of our established audio readers to DoD. This will take quite a while, as each reader must be set up individually. DoD settings will be based on your current account profile, but these settings can be changed at your request. We are working through our patron list diligently, but it may be some time before we get to you. If you would like to switch to DoD right away, please contact us, and we’ll set you up.

Here’s what to expect when you start getting DoD cartridges:

• Each reader can have up to three cartridges checked out at once*

• Each cartridge may have as many as 8 books on it* (or a whole series, at your request.)

• Each cartridge will be labeled “TX Talking Book Library: Audio Books.”

• The mailing container will have a folded book card listing the titles that are on the cartridge.

• To return cartridges, simply remove the book card. The container has TBP’s return address permanently on it.

• Once a cartridge gets back to us, we’ll send you another one. It’s very important to send cartridges back right away to prevent gaps in service.

• The loan period for cartridges is 60 days, with an option to renew for another 60 days, so you’ll have plenty of time to read all of the books on the cartridge.

• If you want to reread a book or cartridge, we can send it again.

Questions? Please contact us! We’ll be happy to answer them. You can email us at, or call us at 1-800-252-9605.

*Note to Institutions: Since institutions (schools, nursing homes, etc.) serve multiple readers, you will receive more cartridges, each containing one book. For more information, please contact us.

*Note to Demo Sites: Demo sites will receive 1 cartridge that contains a Spanish book and an English book.