Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
April 2003

First Audio E-Book Available Soon


Time Warner AudioBooks, American Foundation for the Blind Talking Books, and Dolphin Computer Access have partnered to produce the first commercially available audio e-book.

Best-selling author James Patterson will release his new novel, The Jester, as an audio e-book in conjunction with its standard print, audio and e-book releases.

This new technology offers many features that allow people to enjoy books in a unique and exciting way. Readers can display the text of the book on the computer screen, fully synchronized with the audio of a professional narrator, or they can switch back and forth between the text and the audio. Those who are blind, visually impaired, or dyslexic may access the text via audio or on screen in large print or in Braille.

"I am pleased to release The Jester as an audio e-book," said James Patterson. "On-the-go consumers will welcome the chance to read or listen to the book on their laptops. I'm especially excited to know that people who are blind and visually impaired will benefit from this new technology."

Request, Reserve, or Auto Select: What is the Difference?

When you request a book, it is placed on your book list along with other requests that you submitted to us. When you are due for books, our computer system looks at your list and sends an available copy of a requested book to you.

When you reserve a book, you will automatically receive a copy as soon as it is available, no matter if you are due to receive books or not. This a way to help you receive a book that you need right away. If you need a specific book in a timely manner, be sure to ask us to reserve it for you.

You can also ask that our computer system select books for you based on your reading interests. Books chosen for you in this manner are known as auto selects. It is possible for you to rely upon us for auto selects, and still request or reserve specific titles that you especially want to read.

Volunteer Profile-B.J. Dennis

A volunteer narrator since March 2002, B. J. Dennis is becoming a familiar voice to subscribers of LifeLines, Cappers, Midwest Living, Nebraska Life, and Nebraskaland. B. J. has also narrated two books, This Old Tractor (RC 891) and My Folks Rode the Rails (RC 892), and has another book in process.

A person who loves to read, and especially to read out loud, B.J. has found narrating to be a natural outlet for someone who wants to give of themselves. Also, B.J. views her volunteer work as a narrator as something she can do while living near Lincoln, since she cannot be directly involved in helping a loved one who was born deaf but who lives far away.

A licensed massage therapist for twelve years, B.J. operates her own day spa in her home. She currently holds office in the American Massage Therapy Association, Nebraska Chapter, and is chairperson of the Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Massage Therapy, as well as Complaint Screener and Investigative Consultant. She teaches classes in aromatherapy, reflexology, and couples massage and provides certified spa specialist training. When she can find spare time, she loves to bake desserts. B.J. has a dog named Jess and a black cat named Jazz. She also has lots of koi and gold fish.

Traveling is a passion. She spent two weeks in Belize scuba diving and cave dwelling. This spring she is planning a motorcycle trip through Germany. Every New Years, B.J. picks two things she has never done, and then, during that year, does them. She says this is more fun than making resolutions.

What's Wrong with My Book?

Every so often a borrower lets us know that a cassette book is incomplete. Either the book seems to start in the middle or else is missing its ending. Upon inspecting the book, library staff often finds the book is complete.


What might be confusing is exactly how four-track tapes should be played on the Library of Congress C-1 cassette players. Commercial audiotapes are two-track, which means two separate sound tracks are recorded on the surface of the tape. Talking books from our library are different, however, in that they follow the Library of Congress format of four tracks on each side of the tape.


Another distinction of talking books is that they are recorded at 15/16 inches per second, which is one-half the standard commercial speed. By using four tracks and this special play speed, each talking book cassette can hold four times the amount of recording as a commercial tape.


To begin playing each cassette of a talking book or magazine, remember that the top rocker switch on the face of the cassette player should be on the left, indicating 15/16.

Next, the side selector switch (or second rocker switch) should be on the left or into the 1-2 position. After you have finished listening to side two, you would need to turn the cassette over to side one once again, but this time press the second rocker switch to the right, or the 3-4 position, in order to hear side three. With the rocker switch now pressed to the right, side two becomes side four.


When you are ready for the next cassette, remember to press the second rocker switch back to the 1-2 position.


Side change instructions are recorded at the end of each side of a cassette tape. In addition, you might want to use the instruction tape that came with your Library of Congress cassette player to review basic operating instructions. You are always welcome to call your Readers Advisor for personal help.

Nebraska Cassette Books


RC 810 Nebraska Magazines on Cassette
by Nebraska Library Commission
1 cassette

Catalog of cassette magazines circulated directly from the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service. Narrated by David King.

RC 916 Touched by the Hand of God
by Helen Norwood
2 cassettes

Autobiography of a woman who grew up with a disability in Seward, Nebraska, during the 1920s and 30s. She completed a long and successful career with the telephone company. As a Telephone Pioneer, she has initiated projects in behalf of individuals with disabilities. Narrated by Bonnie Quinn.

RC 918 Born to Fly: The Heroic Story of Downed U.S. Navy Pilot Lt. Shane Osborn
by Shane Osborn, with Malcolm McConnell. Adapted for young people by Michael French.
1 cassette

A graduate of the naval ROTC program at the University of Nebraska, Shane Osborn worked tirelessly until he advanced from navy pilot to mission commander. All of his skills were put to the test when a Chinese fighter jet collided with his plane during a U.S. surveillance mission through international airspace. Having landed his crippled plane safely on the Chinese island of Hainan-saving the lives of his twenty-three crewmates-Lt. Osborn was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Adapted for younger readers. Narrated by David King.

RC 922 Flower Gardening in the Hot Midwest: USDA Zone 5 and Lower Zone 4
by Linda Hillegas
2 cassettes

This handbook for flower gardening covers the basics for growing flowers in the Midwest where temperature extremes involve bitterly cold winters as well as hot summers. A veteran gardener shares strategies for gardening success in a region that extends from South Dakota and Nebraska east to Indiana. Advice includes choosing plants, preparing the soil, watering, pruning, and combating pests. Narrated by Roy Bailey.


RC 929 The Getaway and Other Stories
by Dorothy Thomas
2 cassettes

In these twelve short stories, written between 1924 and 1957, Nebraska author Dorothy Thomas illustrates the flaws in relationships within families. Though rustic in their settings, these stories often challenge the stereotypes of country people as being good hearted, simple individuals. Narrated by Frances Buell.

Family Living and Information Magazines

Here is an assortment of free cassette magazines to help us celebrate the arrival of spring. Humpty Dumpty, produced by the Florida Regional, is a magazine full of stories, poems, puzzles, activities and more to engage children age 4 to 6. The magazine's philosophy is to help kids have fun through creative ways to exercise, eat right, and play safely.

An interfaith magazine, Guideposts offers inspirational stories of human interest. This magazine is recorded by American Printing House for the Blind.


N-Compass, produced by the Talking Book and Braille Service, is a newsletter highlighting the activities of the Nebraska Library Commission and Nebraska libraries and media centers. This newsletter also provides information about national library and information service issues.


Providing an overview of proposed federal and state legislation, regulations, and policies, Report on Disability Programs contains articles of interest to individuals with disabilities. It is produced by the Talking Book and Braille Service.


The Saturday Evening Post, produced six times a year, is a general-interest magazine containing humor, fiction, and non-fiction articles. It is recorded by the Braille and Talking Book Division of the Arizona State Library, this magazine is now available free of charge to any Nebraska talking book reader.


To sign up for any of these free cassette magazines, please use the order form on page 7 or call your Readers Advisor.

April Fool's Day: Time for Fun!

No one knows for sure where April Fool's Day began. Some believe it stemmed from the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, when New Year's Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. Those who continued to observe New Year's Day on April 1 were ridiculed by being sent on "mock errands" or tricked in other ways. Today April Fool's Day is a time for good-natured wit and humor. Here are some cassette books to tickle your funny bone:

RC 689 Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them; How to Keep Your Tractors happy and Your Family Running
by Roger Welsch

The author offers tips, techniques, and laughs as he explores his sometimes rocky love affair with his growing family of Allis-Chalmers WC tractors.

RC 793 Busted Tractors and Rusty Nuckles: Norwegian Torque Wrench Techniques and Other Fine Points of Tractor Restoration
by Roger Welsch

The author revisits his favorite pastime, tinkering with beat up tractors. The book follows the rescue of a scrap yard refugee Allis-Chalmers WC tractor, a journey that pulls Welsch deep into a bottomless morass of broken bolts, smashed fingers and frozen pistons. Strong language.

RC 886 The Man Who Ate the 747
by Ben Sherwood 

J. J. Smith, authenticator for The Book of Records, is in Superior, Nebraska, where farmer Wally Chubb is grinding up and eating a Boeing 747 cargo jet to prove his love for local newspaperwoman Willa Wyatt. Despite his scientific mind, J. J. is soon falling for Willa too. Some descriptions of sex.

RC 37848 Russell Baker's Book of American Humor
edited by Russell Baker

The author indicates that selections in the book are his, he likes them all, and they wouldn't be included if he didn't. His selections-"Comical-Tragical Tales," "Shameless Frivolity," "Sex Problems," "Family Life," "Politics and Patriots," and "Fable, Lore and Fantasy"-contain works by such persons as Mae West, Mark Twain, James Thurber, O. Henry, Fannie Flagg, Art Buchwald, Larry King, and Baker himself.

RC 39976 Grandchildren Are So Much Fun I Should Have Had Them First
by Lois Wyse

The author, who has a growing collection of grandchildren, offers anecdotes, poems, and stories about grand parenting in the 1990s. She begins with the concept that no one is ever ready to be a grandparent, but no one is able to turn away from that adorable grandchild once it arrives.

RC 47634 Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor
edited by Roy Blount, Jr.

A collection of some 160 humorous tales, memories, poems, essays, and song lyrics from the American South. The diverse authors include Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Little Richard, and Dave Barry. Blount's comments precede each selection. Some strong language.

RC 48268 The Penguin Book of Women's Humor
edited with an introduction by Regina Barreca

A treasury of women's humor ranging from one-liners to excerpts from novels. Spanning three centuries, the collection features authors, comedians, actresses, feminists, and politicians. Witticisms include Mae West's famous quips and Jane Austen's astute social observations. Concludes with brief biographies of the contributors. Some strong language.

An Encouraging Word

One of our long-time volunteer narrators, Marjory Gloe, relates the following:

 "I have an elderly friend whose mind and intellect are sharp, but her sight is failing. She uses Talking Books for her reading now.

One evening at a club meeting, she came and sat beside me and said, "Last Saturday evening I was feeling a little lonely and blue, so I decided to listen to a talking book. Imagine my delight when I heard your voice, Marjory, reading the book. I listened with interest, pleasure and a feeling of comfort, hearing your familiar voice. I no longer felt lonely.'

This meant so much to me as a volunteer narrator to hear firsthand how our work can make a difference in someone's life. Something that brings us satisfaction and pleasure is bringing pleasure to others."

Gimp on the Go

A Web site on travel and tourism for people with disabilities can be found at http://www.gimponthego.com. The site contains a wealth of disability-related travel news, links to other travel sites, and travel tips. You will find information on various destinations, traveling with a guide dog, traveling with oxygen, wheelchair beach access, and other advice for individuals with vision, mobility, or hearing impairments.

Order Form and Ordering Instructions

You may place your order by mailing or e-mailing it to the Talking Book and Braille Service, or by calling your Readers Advisor.

For mailing, please mark the magazines and books you wish to order and enclose this page in an envelope. Instead of using a stamp, you may put "Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped" on the corner of your envelope. Send your request to the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023. Be sure to include your name, address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number.

For e-mailing, send your order information to the Talking Book and Braille Service. Please include your name, address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number.

You may reach a Readers Advisor toll free by calling 1-800-742-7691. Be prepared to give your name, address, city, state, zip code, and telephone number.

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