NLS Testimonial Videos Available Online

NLS has produced three short testimonial videos featuring patrons of the Braille and talking book program. These videos are posted on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. Links with a short description of each video are below.

NLS Braille and Talking Books and Magazines
NLS patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials in the mail: the freedom to read their way. (1:50)

NLS BARD and BARD Mobile
Patrons speak about the benefits of downloading free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Mobile. (1:55)

NLS Music Materials
Patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free audio, braille, and large-print music scores, texts, and other instructional materials and recordings in the mail or downloading them through BARD. (2:26)

TBP visits Rio Grande City Public Library

One of our TBP Readers Advisory Librarians recently visited the Rio Grande City Public Library to inform patrons of the services made available through our Talking Book Program. In this YouTube video, produced by Rio Grande City TV, we go step by step through the process of signing up for, receiving and returning the FREE materials offered through TBP.

February is Library Lover’s Month, and TBP is On the Road to Celebrate

February is Library Lover’s Month, so love your Talking Book Program by telling others who may be eligible for our service but may not have heard about TBP.  Spread the love – and the access to great books and magazines.

TBP Braille Story Time

TBP will be travelling all over Texas visiting public libraries for Braille Story Time – see below for more information – as well as visiting other events to promote our service and answer questions.  Look for us in your community soon!

Would your school or library like a unique story time program free of charge?  The Talking Book Program offers a story time that incorporates Braille as a teaching tool.

The program:

Our Public Awareness Coordinator, Heather Bailey, reads 2 – 3 classic picture books that have Braille and text.  Children of all ages get to feel the Braille alphabet and learn how vision impaired children and adults read the same stories others read.

A fun activity is included: each child will get to decode a Braille message using supplied Braille alphabet cards.  All materials are provided by the Talking Book Program.

Benefits of the program include sensory exposure using touch, compassion and understanding for others, and introduction to the language of Braille.

If your library or school is interested in TBP Story Time contact Heather Bailey at

512-463-5452 or

Outreach Dates for February 2015:

02/02 Braille Story Time – Lake Travis Library

02/04-02/05 ARC of Texas – San Marcos, TX

02/06 Special Olympics – Austin, TX

02/09 Braille Story Time  at Salado Public Library and at Boerne Public Library

02/10-02/12 Braille Story Time at Palacios Library, Calhoun Library, Jackson Library, Bay City Library and Victoria Library

02/14 Braille Story Time at Clara Mounce Library – Bryan, TX

02/19-02/20 Texas Transitions Conference – Dallas, TX

02/24 Braille Story Time at Boerne Library

02/28 Parent Resource Fair – Houston, TX


TBP Circulation Center Maintenance May Cause Service Delays, Interruptions

Over the next weeks, you may experience slight interruptions in service or materials may take a bit longer than usual to get to you. This is due to scheduled maintenance at our circulation center in Austin that may require that we close the center on some days.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience and look forward to returning to optimum service as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.

To contact the Talking Book Program, please email us at or call us at 1-800-252-9605 (512-463-5458 in Austin).

Please note that TBP staff do not have a detailed schedule of closures or delays; these are dependent on the progress of the maintenance.

Q & A with New State Librarian and Director Mark Smith

Last month the seven-member Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) selected Mark Smith for the position of Director and Librarian, the agency’s chief executive also known as the Texas State Librarian. Though Mr. Smith’s tenure begins November 1, we reached out to him recently with 10 questions that address his background, perspective, priorities, and even his knowledge of Texas history. We look forward to getting to know more about Mr. Smith in the months and years to come.

Read the interview online at

Mark Smith talks with Texas State Library staff during public reception.


Cowboys and Indians — New Magazine

Announcing our newest shared magazine, “Cowboys and Indians”!!

“Cowboys and Indians” has articles about western photography, travel, art, food, history, music, ranch life and much more. The magazine was founded in 1992 and is published in Dallas, Texas. There are eight issues a year.

Currently on the “Cowboys and Indians” website, an article listed as a reader’s favorite is, “John Wayne: Classic Films and Family Memories 30 Years After His Death”. Other recent articles stories include coverage on food, drink, music, TV / film, and style.

For more information about “Cowboys and Indians” please see their website:

Shared magazines are titles that are loaned to patrons, but must be returned before the next issue can go out. “Cowboys and Indians”  is produced in the volunteer recording studio at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

To order your free subscription to “Cowboys and Indians,” contact the Talking Book Program office at 1-800-252-9605 or at

TBP Book Club – January: No End in Sight by Rachael Scdoris

Our January phone book club selection is by sled dog racer and Iditarod competitor Rachael Scdoris (with co-author Rick Steber).  We are excited to announce that the author has tentatively agreed to join our book club discussion on January 24th, 7:00-8pm Central.

This is how the story begins:  “My perfect moment:  Dead of winter, dogs running flat out, air so cold I can taste its brittleness on the tip of my tongue. I know this trail…”

No End in Sight details Scdoris’ childhood experiences with her visual impairment and how she trained and developed the skills necessary to compete in the 1,000+ mile Iditarod race.  At 16, she was the youngest athlete ever to finish a 500-mile race that helped qualify her for the big race.  She details her struggle to convince Iditarod officials to allow her to compete and how, in 2005, she became the first legally blind person to do so.

We can’t wait to discuss this book in our TBP Book Club.  If you are a TBP patron, you can RSVP by calling 800-252-9605 or e-mailing  You  must RSVP so that we can send you the book club phone number and code to attend.

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: 

Top 10 Downloaded Books by Texas TBP Patrons

Wondering what other Texas Talking Book Program patrons are reading? Here’s a list of the top 10 books recently downloaded from BARD.





1 74709 The Innocent Baldacci, David
2 74862 The Lost Ones Atkins, Ace
3 74676 Guilty Wives Patterson, James
4 53204 Midnight Bayou Roberts, Nora
5 74517 Come Home Scottoline, Lisa
6 74504 Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed James, E.L.
7 74814 Afraid to Die Jackson, Lisa
8 74937 The Storm: A Novel from the NUMA Files Cussler, Clive
9 74761 Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby: A Spenser Novel Atkins, Ace
10 74633 If You Hear Her Walker, Shiloh