Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
April & June 1999

New Members Appointed to Advisory Committee

Carl Olson and Amy Rut, both of Lincoln, are the newest members of the Talking Book and Braille Service Advisory Committee.

Other Advisory Committee members are Omahans Bill Carter, Donna Friedman and Tony Jaynes; Robert Howard, Greenwood; Gladys Maxwell, Norfolk; Robert Schnuelle, Grand Island; and Jane Crouch, Lincoln. The committee will meet early this summer to discuss its role in promotion and other aspects of talking book service.

Advisory Committee members are appointed to two-year terms.

Books Complete, But Cassettes Cause Problems For Some

Many thanks to all who completed and returned the surveys in the June, August, October, and December 1998 issues of Interchange. The number of responses grew with each survey, particularly the telephone responses from those who receive the cassette and braille editions. Surveys will periodically be included in future editions of the newsletter as well-on new topics and, at some points, repeating the past questions to determine to what extent our efforts to act on the information received have succeeded. Please continue to respond.

In the December 1998 issue, the survey asked questions about the cassette books you receive. Ninety-two percent of respondents reported that all of the books they received each month were complete-no missing and no extra cassettes. However, 50% of respondents reported that one or two of the books they receive each month contain cassettes that do not play properly. While more than 85% of those receiving books that did not play properly notified us of the problem by placing a string or rubber band around that cassette; nearly 15% did not.

The E-1: Fewer Controls, Less Versatility

If you have an Easy (E-1) machine and find it confusing to use, this article describes the machine and its controls and offers step-by-step instructions for inserting and removing cassettes.

You have an E-1 if the cord is thick, round, and comes from the side, not back, of the machine; and the machine must be plugged in at all times in order to play. On the top side, near the front edge of the E-1 is a knob that slides left and right. This is the on/off and volume control. The full-left position is off. Sliding the control to the right begins play and increases the volume. Behind the on/off/volume control is the raised edge of the cassette door. When this raised edge is nearest the front of the machine the door is closed. When it is furthest from the front, the door is fully open.

To play a new cassette, slide the volume control to the off position and slide the cassette door as far back as it will go. (The spring loaded cassette platform should be in the up position.) Place the cassette onto the platform, holding it so that the exposed edge of the tape is away from you and the raised Braille dots are on top. Push down on the cassette until you hear a click and slide the cassette door closed.

As soon as the cassette door clicks into place, the E-1 will automatically rewind the cassette to the beginning of side 1. When the cassette has been fully rewound, you will hear a tone indicating the cassette is ready to play. To start the cassette, slide the volume control to the right. If the player emits a wavering tone, it is not fully in the play position. Move the control further to the right to begin playing the cassette. Remember that when you are starting a cassette for the first time, it may take up to a minute for the cassette to start playing. You are now ready to play every word that is recorded on the cassette-up to six hours of reading. During that time, you can stop at any time by sliding the cassette door back or sliding the volume control to the off (full-left) position. To resume listening, slide the cassette door closed or slide the volume control to the right.* You are also able to review material you have already heard. A review key is located to the right of the sliding on/off/volume control. It is a square button with a raised arrow. Press the review key down as far as it will go, the tape will rewind. Release the key, the cassette will start playing again.

After each 90 minutes of playing, you will hear instructions to turn the cassette over or to change the side selector switch. Ignore these instructions; the E-1 player does these things automatically. Simply wait 30 seconds while the machine switches from one side to the next. When the reading ends on the last side of a cassette, you will hear a long, low tone and the machine will stop. Slide the volume control off, the full-left position; the cassette will automatically rewind. When the cassette is ready to be removed, you will hear a short tone or beep.

To remove the cassette, open the cassette door by pushing it back as far as it will go. Push down firmly on the near edge of the cassette itself. Then release the pressure, and the cassette should pop up. If this doesn't happen, check to see that the volume control is in the full-left position and that the cassette door is opened all the way. (Remember that a cassette should not be removed until you have finished listening to it, because each time you insert a cassette, the machine will automatically rewind to the beginning of side 1.)

Place the next cassette onto the platform, holding it so that the exposed edge of the tape is away from you and the raised Braille dots are on top. Push down on the cassette until you hear a click, then slide the cassette door closed. Listen for the tone indicating the cassette is ready to play, then slide the volume control to the right to begin listening.

While the E-1 machine reduces the need to push buttons and handle cassettes, it also eliminates the user's flexibility in listening to more than one book or magazine at a time. If you find the E-1 frustrating to use because of this lack of flexibility and are "ready, willing, able" to press more buttons and handle the cassette for every side change, please contact your reader advisor about changing to a standard talking book cassette player.

* NOTE: Do not remove the cassette from the machine until you are completely finished listening to it. If you remove and then replace the cassette, the machine automatically rewinds the cassette to the beginning of side 1 and begins playing there. For example, if you remove the cassette while listening to the middle of side 3 then reinsert it, the machine will resume playing the cassette at the beginning of side 1, not the middle of side 3 where you stopped.

NE Cassette Books Collection Features These New Titles

Books of Nebraska ...

History of Nebraska
by James C. Olson and Ronald C. Naugle
NE 706 5 cassettes
This revision of Olson's History of Nebraska (1955) updates the one-volume general survey of the history of the state. Narrated by Tami Works.

From Hunger; Stories
by Gerald Shapiro
NE 749 2 cassettes
In these nine contemporary Jewish stories, Shapiro's deft use of detail takes readers into the lives of idiosyncratic characters-beyond the grimness to reveal the hunger and hope in us all. Narrated by Beth McNeil.

The House of the Roof
by Mignon Eberhart
NE 756 2 cassettes
Deborah, under suspicion, returns to the scene where she witnessed the murder of a gaudy diva-a house on the rooftop of her Chicago apartment building. Narrated by Helena Whitaker.

Detective & Mystery ...

What Happened At Midnight
by Franklin W. Dixon
NE 766 2 cassettes
Assuming they are tackling a simple case of burglary, the Hardy boys realize they are in danger only after Joe is kidnapped. For grades 4-7. Narrated by Burt Blackwell. Produced by NLS.

Mark On The Door
by Franklin W. Dixon
NE 767 2 cassettes
While searching for a thief, Frank and Joe Hardy encounter a mysterious submarine, hostile Indians, and a band of smugglers. For grades 4-7. Narrated by Hal Tenny. Produced by NLS.

Hidden Harbor Mystery
by Franklin W. Dixon
NE 768 2 cassettes
Hardy boys find their lives in danger after offering to help a small-town publisher who is being sued for libel. For grades 4-7. Narrated by Burt Blackwell. Produced by NLS.

Sinister Signpost
by Franklin W. Dixon
NE 769 2 cassettes
Mr. Hardy is hired by a race car designer to investigate a series of mysterious accidents. For grades 4-7. Narrated by Ryan Halloran. Produced by NLS.

Non Fiction ...

Women of the West
by Dorothy Gray
NE 759 2 cassettes
The author examines the lives of women who made their own way in the American west. Included are Sacajawea-guide to the Louis and Clark expedition, Narcissa Whitman-missionary, Esther Morris and Carrie Chapman Catt-leaders of the woman suffrage movement, and Biddy Mason-black freedom fighter. Narrated by Helena Whitaker.

Radio Dramas * ...

The Law of Averages
by Louis Pelletier
NE 777 1 cassette
A radio drama about a phony lawyer who peddles his services using phony wills. The World-Wide Detection Agency catches up with him just before a lady is relieved of her life savings. Written originally for "The FBI in Peace and War." Blue Ridge Radio Players.

The Nobility Pitch
by Louis Pelletier
NE 778 1 cassette
Dramatized story about two English types who swindle rich Americans by posing as royalty, and get them involved in a gambling adventure. Blue Ridge Radio Players.

The Lovers
by David Levey
NE 779 1 cassette
It is 1883. Eve loves Simon; but Ward, a bully and a mean drunk, is stuck on Eve. This explosive romantic triangle is set in the mountains of western Montana. Blue Ridge Radio Players.

*Note: Radio drama are recorded in standard cassette format-2-track, 1 and 7/8th inches per second These cassettes cannot be played on the E-1 cassette player.

New Currency Easier to Identify

Among the design changes incorporated in the $20 and $50 bills are several that should be helpful to people with limited vision. Similar to the redesigned $50 note issued in October 1997, the redesigned $20 note and consequent denominations include a large dark numeral on a light background on the back of the note.

The portrait of the U.S. President on the face of each bill is larger. Together, these features should help people with limited vision or anyone in a low light situation to correctly identify a bill's denomination.

For the first time, a machine-readable capability has been incorporated for the blind. The security thread that runs through all 1990 and later series bills (except the $1) also facilitates the development of convenient scanning devices to assist blind persons identify the denomination.

Each denomination has a unique thread position and a unique color when exposed to ultraviolet light. In the $20 bill, the thread is to the far left of the portrait and glows green when held under ultraviolet light; in the $50 bill, it is found to the right of the portrait and glows yellow; in the $100 bill, it is found to the left of the portrait and glows red.

The denomination of the note is also printed on each security thread; for example, "USA TWENTY" and a flag are repeated along the thread in the $20 note.

National Cost Figures Updated

The National Library Service-Library of Congress (NLS) estimates its total cost for library service for the blind and physically handicapped reader to be 60 cents per day per reader. This includes the more than $44 million postal subsidy for free mailing and a combined $40 million budget for the 48 regional libraries across the country.

Nationwide 550,000 individuals use library materials and equipment provided by NLS. Costs of materials specific to the service are

For Your Information

Guideposts magazine has discontinued its flexible disc (FD) edition. Readers Advisors telephoned all Nebraskans receiving Guideposts on FD to make certain they had cassette players in working order before changing their subscriptions to cassette. Attention, young readers ages 13 and under.

"Get hooked on books" this summer. Register for the 1999 summer reading program, Treasure Your Library to receive your summer reading packet. All registered participants who read five or more books between June 1 and August 15, 1999 will receive certificates and end-of-summer prizes.

Spring is traditionally accompanied by an increase in activities. Travel, gardening, outdoor recreation, and home repair may mean less time for reading. Now is the time to call the library if you would like to reduce the number of books you receive.

If you personally select all or some of the books you read, you may occasionally find that you've run out of ideas for titles or authors to request. We have many catalogs and bibliographies to help you make selections. You received some catalogs in a packet when you began service. Talking Book Topics is a bimonthly mini-catalog listing the newest books. And annual and subject catalogs are offered on an annual survey form sent directly from the National Library Service. If for any reason you are not receiving the catalogs you need, please call and talk with your Readers Advisor about the range of catalogs and bibliographies that are available in large print and on cassette.

Are you a baseball fan and a Braille reader? We have seven Braille copies of the 1999 baseball schedule available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call if you're interested.

Enjoy Descriptive Video Service Without A VCR. No Cassettes To Order Or Return

Descriptive Video Service (DVS®) is more than just movies like those you can rent from the video store. DVS® is also available on broadcast and cable stations. The DVS® narration can add to your enjoyment of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Turner Classic Movies, Encore, and USA Network programming already enjoyed by your family. With DVS® you'll hear descriptions of actions, body language, settings, and graphics without interfering with the dialogue.

What Programs Have DVS? For program information, call the DVS® automated program guide at 800-333-1203, visit the DVS® web site at http://www.wgbh.org/dvs, or order the DVS® quarterly print program guide by calling 617-492-1777, extension 3490.

How Does It Work? The DVS® narration is delivered through television's Second Audio Program feature. The Second Audio Program is an additional track of audio provided as part of the standard broadcast signal.

Do I Have Access? Most stereo televisions and VCRs are equipped to receive the Second Audio Program (SAP). It might also be called MTS, Audio 2, or Audio B; and may be activated by a button on the control panel or remote control or as part of an on-screen menu. If you have a satellite dish, select the "alternate audio" or "aux audio" button on your remote or from your on-screen menu. If your television or VCR does not have the Second Audio Program feature, separate receivers are available for purchase.

Order Listing

To order the items described in this issue:
call, 800-742-7691; or write, 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, zipcode, and telephone number in all correspondence.

New Books in the NE Collection

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