Vol. 49, No. 3 Winter 2019/2020
1970 - 2020
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FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR
Every year is memorable for a different reason.
The Arizona Talking Book Library is proud to look at March 19, 1970 as the day we had the grand opening of the talking book service in Arizona.
In the 50 years since we opened, we have seen technology change from records and cassette tapes, to digital cartridges and downloadable audio and braille books, with an online catalog system to make selection of books easier for the reader advisers and the patrons.
The talking book library program was established by an act of Congress in 1931 to serve blind adults. This law, known as the Pratt-Smoot Act, was named after the sponsors of the bills in Congress, U.S. Representative Ruth Pratt of New York and U.S. Senator Reed Smoot of Utah. In 1952, talking book services were offered to blind children. Then in 1966, individuals with physical disabilities were included in the program.
The number of Arizona Talking Book Library users has grown to 9528, with the annual number of book and magazine cartridge check-outs or downloads through the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) at 433,952, and newspaper articles accessed through NFB-Newsline growing to 415,218 (statistics as of October 1, 2019).
This service is based within the Library of Congress, at the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled division.
It is amazing to look back and see the pleasure, learning and adventure reading has brought to talking book library users.
Thank you for signing up for services with our library and participating in the various reading, entertainment and learning opportunities we provide.
Janet Fisher, Administrator
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ARIZONA FRIENDS OF TALKING BOOKS –
20 YEARS OF SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT
The Arizona Friends of Talking Books formed in 1999 and became registered as a non-profit organization (501 c (3)) one year later. In the many years of their support, the Arizona Talking Book Library and its library users have benefitted from the Friends’ support in many ways over the years. Printing of our annual large print calendars is what people remember most, though they also provide volunteer and recording support.
We appreciate the Friends and their efforts to enhance our services and support our library projects and volunteers.
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CENSUS 2020: SHAPE YOUR FUTURE
In mid-March, letters will go out to households around the country inviting them to respond to the 2020 census (www.census.gov). The letter will provide contact and other information.
Why should you respond? Census results play a large part in determining how governments at all levels allocate hundreds of billions of dollars for services that communities rely on. Some groups of people, including those who are blind or disabled, historically have been undercounted. We at the Arizona Talking Book Library want to make sure all our patrons are counted and don’t miss this chance to shape their future!
This year, for the first time, households will have three ways to respond to the census: online, by calling a toll-free number, or by mail. The questionnaire takes less time to complete than drinking a cup of coffee.
Guides will be available in braille and large print. While the census questionnaire itself won’t be available in braille, people who are blind or visually impaired can take advantage of the online and phone-in options. The online questionnaire is accessible, following the latest web accessibility guidelines.
A representative from the Census Bureau will be presenting information and answering questions at the library’s 50th Anniversary Open House. We hope you can join us!
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MEET OUR NEWEST READER ADVISOR
My name is Lisa Watson. I was hired to replace Tony following his promotion to another position in the library. My main responsibility is as a Reader Advisor for patrons with the last names that begin with the letters S - Z.
I moved to the Phoenix area from Boise, Idaho where I worked in a similar position for the talking book library there. I am really enjoying the beautiful, warm, sunny weather here in Arizona. I lived in Tucson for about 23 years prior to living in Boise, so I do have an idea how hot it gets in the summer!
I have loved books and libraries for as long as I can remember, and I am looking forward to speaking with patrons in Arizona about subjects, books, and authors that interest them!
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BUILDING CHILDREN INTO THE
TALKING BOOK LIBRARY PROGRAM
by Elizabeth Thompson
Serving children at the Arizona Talking Book Library is a natural part of our work. It is a pleasure seeing the enjoyment in their participation in books and learning, both audio and braille.
Children were not always a part of the federal law or the national program. Congress passed the Pratt-Smoot Act in 1931 to serve blind adults and enabled the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It was not until 1952 that children were included in this program.
I discovered a beautiful article on the Lions Club website. Madeline Miller shares the event that occurred at the Lions Clubs International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio. In 1925, Heller Keller made her appeal
“Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness;
no little deaf, blind child untaught; no blind man or woman unaided?
I appeal to you Lion, you who have your sight, your hearing,
you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves
knights of the blind in this crusade against darkness?”
(https://www.lionsclubs.org/en/blog/touchstone-story-6-helen-keller retrieved 02/08/2020)
Early services available to visually impaired children dating back to the 1800’s and early 1900’s included references to asylums and orphans. Nowadays, their support network has improved on education and job training. The community of kids to whom I provide service are amazing!
References to positive examples of early services to children included the following:
These changes are heartwarming and find me constantly looking for more opportunities to continue to find new tools to bring books and learning to the lives of children and youth. Today, at the Arizona Talking Book Library, we continue to fully embrace our role fostering literacy and a love of reading.
A grant project we are building is Book Buddies to aid our parents and early literacy teachers in preparing our youngest members for school. Each kit in the Book Buddy program will include a large print book, a Braille version, an audio version, and tactile learning activities. The set will also include suggestions on how to share new vocabulary and ideas from the books using the many different aspects of literacy for blind and visually impaired children. The boxes will circulate just like our books! We will be working with Phoenix area schools to pilot this program.
Children, youth and adults are also encouraged to join our summer reading program, Imagine your Story. Explore new authors, genres and win prizes. We are going to explore memoir writing and journaling. Stay tuned for more information later this spring.
The Arizona Talking Book Library has been lucky to serve our community for 50 years. Come join us this March 19th to celebrate the library’s 50th anniversary and share your story. Meet others who participate in our programs and thank your Knights, your librarians and all those who provide services that benefit you and your family/friends.
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JOIN OUR STAFF IN THANKING A VOLUNTEER
Volunteers share their knowledge, enthusiasm and skills with the Talking Book Library staff. These volunteers are eager to make our library services more accessible for registered users. They know how gratifying it is to help others experience the joy of reading. They complete tasks that allow us to be faster and more responsive, as well as make it possible for our users to stay informed and connected to the world.
If you have an opportunity to meet any of our volunteers, please give them a resounding THANK YOU!
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THIS LIBRARY RELIC NAMED HENRY
by Henry Hayden
As the Arizona Talking Book Library begins 50 years of service, Reader Advisor Henry Hayden (Librarian for Readers with the last name of E-L) is pleased to tell you that he has been with the library for 30 of these fifty years!!
Prior to my arrival in Arizona, I had the great experience of being Assistant Library Director at the Braille Institute Library in Los Angeles. So, if you put all these numbers together, it means I have been with The National Library Service for The Blind and Print Disabled for 43 years, a real Library Relic!!!
During all these years, many readers have shared personal stories of gratitude. When they began to lose their sight, this library service gave them hope and provided inspiration to deal with their new life challenges.
What follows are but of a few of their stories:
This reader considered himself one of the last true cowboys of Arizona. He helped me with my reader advisement by noting western writers “that really knew what they were talking about.” He didn’t read much when he had vision but thought he might like westerns and boy did he! Upon sending him books, I would call and say, “The Cavalry is coming!!!”
I also had a reader who was a retired professor of philosophy and would call and ask for talking books written by Plato, Socrates, Rousseau, Locke and other what librarians might call “not easy reading.” So, one time I said, “what if I sent you an exciting fast-paced novel?” His response was “Well maybe one.” I sent him DB021513 “The Hunt for Red October” by the best-selling author Tom Clancy. His next phone call, “Henry, this service is fantastic, and could you throw in one of your surprises!!”
Yet, another story, comes from a reader, who donated thousands of dollars to animal rescue groups in Arizona. She loved animal stories, especially those with a mystery setting as Lillian Jackson Braun’s “Cat Mysteries.” This reader in her final days, told her family and friends that The Arizona Talking Book Library had given her the wonderful world of books that she never thought possible after her vision loss.
These stories, from our readers, bring inspiration to our staff and volunteers. We know that the human element in providing library service goes way beyond your smartphone or other computer devices. When we call new readers and explain our program, noting that they will have a personal librarian assigned to them, they simply are amazed. You might even say The Arizona Talking Book Library brings hope when all seems lost!!!!
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Whether you plan to vote in-person at a polling place or from the comfort of your home, you have many options to help you participate in upcoming elections.
All polling locations and vote centers must have an accessible voting device for use by voters with disabilities. In addition to the accessible voting devices, each poling location will have magnifying instruments, large print versions of the publicity pamphlets and trained poll workers who are ready to assist you.
If you would like to receive an early ballot by mail in an alternate format, like large print or braille, you can contact your local county elections department.
More information about accessible voting can be found at the following websites:
Arizona Secretary of State:
Clean Elections Commission:
A representative from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office will be available at the library’s 50th anniversary celebration on March 19th to answer questions and to demonstrate accessible voting devices and materials. We hope that you can join us!
Primary Election: 8/4/20; Voter Registration Deadline: 7/6/20
General Election: 11/3/20; Voter Registration Deadline: 10/5/20
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50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Open House & Tours
9 – 11am, 1 – 3 pm
Commemoration 11:30 am – 12:30 pm with Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs; Director Karen Keninger, National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled; and other local partners.
Contact the library for special accommodations or for groups of 15 or more.
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Any mention of products and services in Talking Book News is for information only and does not imply endorsement.
Talking Book News is also available in other formats including our website at http://www.azlibrary.gov/talkingbooks If you would like to receive this newsletter on cartridge or in email, please call 602-255-5578 or 1-800-255-5578.
Talking Book News is published quarterly by the Arizona Talking Book Library, Archives and Public Records, a Division of the Secretary of State. Administrator: Janet Fisher, Assistant Administrator: Erin Pawlus.