Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
August 2002

Nebraska Native Bob Askey Named Narrator of the Year

The "Alexander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award" was given to Bob Askey, former Nebraska broadcaster and long-time narrator for the National Library Service. Mr. Askey received this award, from the American Foundation for the Blind, in the nonfiction category for his narration of Life Is So Good, by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman (RC 51912). He has been a narrator at Talking Book Publishers, Inc. in Denver, Colorado, since 1975. 

A narrator of nearly 800 books for NLS, Bob won the first "Alexander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award" in 1986. He is the only narrator to receive the award for the second time. 

The American Foundation of the Blind established the "Alexander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award" in memory of the legendary narrator. The award acknowledges the contribution of talking books to the cause of literacy for visually impaired individuals. Other recipients of this year's award are Kimberly Schraf for her recording of Myla Goldberg's Bea Seasons (RC 50897); George Holmes for The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetry Theory (RC 52409) and a special lifetime achievement award to Dale Carter Cooper.

Cassette Magazines for Country Living

If summertime makes you long for life in the country and living close to nature, then we have the cassette magazines for you. Capper, a biweekly publication with a focus on smalltown and rural living, includes reader contributions, recipes, poetry, nationally-known columnists, and a continuing story. Country, published bimonthly, offers feature stories and columns for those who live in or long for the country. It includes country diaries, travel, features, and recipes. A magazine published quarterly by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Trail Tales is for younger readers who love Nebraska's outdoors and nature. 

For information about destinations a little further from home, National Geographic Traveler, a bimonthly, offers six to ten travel articles, mostly about the United States. An additional section gives full data, such as cost, phone numbers, addresses, for the destinations discussed. This magazine is produced by the Florida Regional Library. The others are produced by the Nebraska Library Commission's Talking Book and Braille Service. To request these magazines, please use the order form below or call your Readers Advisor.

Digital Player Design Contest Winner Announced

Winning entries have been chosen in the Digital Talking Book Player Competition. Sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) and the National Library Service (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress, this contest drew 146 entries from 28 design schools across America. Laschezar Tsvetanov, a senior from Connecticut's University of Bridgeport, won first place and $5000 with an entry titled "Dook." 

The student-design competition was established to give students an opportunity to inspire the next generation of audio playback equipment currently being developed by the Library of Congress. The winning model resembles a book that opens to reveal a speaker and audio controls. Tsvetanov, a native of Sophia, Bulgaria, is studying at the University of Bridgeport on a full tuition scholarship that he received for academic excellence. 

"This contest has given NLS an opportunity to examine what the brightest students in the industrial design world proposed as solutions to the complex design challenges a digital talking-book player represents," said NLS director Frank Kurt Cylke. "We're truly pleased with the caliber of the entries and look forward to examining them further." 

NLS has approximately 730,000 analog cassette talking-book playback machines in use worldwide and maintains an inventory of more than 23 million copies of audio books and magazines. "The upgrade to digital versions of not only the playback machines but also the vast collection is the greatest challenge NLS has ever faced," Cylke said. NLS plans on introducing digital talking books by the end of 2008.

Further Reductions in State Budget Likely

State tax revenues have continued to fall below projections and have prompted Governor Johanns to call another special legislative session to make further reductions in the state budget. Nebraska, along with most other states, experienced steady growth in tax revenues throughout the 1990s. Last year, tax revenues began falling below projections. A special session was called last October in order to bring budgets in line with tax revenues and solve the problem. 

The 2002 legislative session required further state budget cuts. The legislature also enacted tax increases in order to balance the budget. Even so, revenues have continued to fall significantly short of projections. So far the Nebraska Library Commission's budget has been reduced eight percent, $313,545, for the 2003 fiscal year. These actions were part of across-the-board reductions applied to many state agency budgets. 

For the Library Commission, budget reductions have been taken in personnel expenditures, library materials purchases, publishing, travel, equipment, and telecommunications. The state funds reductions also includes direct aid to public libraries, regional library systems, and interlibrary loan compensation, as well as project grants for children and young adult services, continuing education, and scholarships. 

In announcing his call for this summer's special session, Governor Johanns asked state agencies to limit expenditures and to plan on further budget reductions. Within this tentative environment, the Library Commission will operate with contingencies in mind until further budget decisions are made.

Studios Now Have a Name

When you listen to closing announcements of Nebraska cassette books and magazines, you might start hearing "Recorded in the Prairie Lane Studios of the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service." 

Since we are now celebrating our library's fiftieth anniversary, are about to start using digital recording equipment for book and magazine mastering, and are making a renewed effort to recruit additional studio volunteers, we chose at this time to give our studio complex a name. It was selected from a number of outstanding suggestions offered by Talking Book and Braille Service volunteers.

New Nebraska Cassette Books


RC 900 Homefield: Sonata in Rural Voice
by Robert Richter
2 cassettes

In the early 1970s, at the start of the farm crisis, a war resister returns to his family's farm in Nebraska. This novel unfolds on the tablelands and plains of this vast land where a man begins to understand his own self and the bonds of friendship, family, and the land. Strong language.

RC 905 Hank's Story
by Jane Buchanan
1 cassette

Twelve-year-old Hank Donohue doesn't mind leaving the New York orphanage for Nebraska as long as his brother Peter goes with him. Together they ride the Orphan Train to live with the Olsons, a bitter, childless couple who need help with their farm. After Peter runs away, Hank finds himself alone and abused. He learns to trust animals more than people, but also forms a special bond with other orphans. At last Hank learns that orphans have rights, too, although they may have to fight for them. Narrated by Bonnie Quinn.


RC 892 My Folks Rode the Rails
edited by Vicki Schalansky and Traci Smith
1 cassette

A collection of personal and family reminiscences about America's love affair with railroads. From steam locomotives to modern engines, these recollections capture the wide-ranging experiences of railroad workers and passengers. Narrated by B.J. Dennis.

RC 897 Of Rice and Men
by Leland Mitchell
1 cassette

The courageous, true story of a young Nebraskan who, in 1942, was taken prisoner by the invading Japanese after the surrender of the Philippine Islands. For the next three and a half years, he endured slave labor, many forms of torture, and starvation. He lost over ninety pounds before being liberated on August 14, 1945. Contains descriptions of violence. Narrated by Mark Janda.

RC 898 Postcards from Nebrska: The Stories Behind the Stories as Seen on CBS News' "Sunday Morning"
by Roger Welsch
2 cassettes

For twelve years, Roger Welsch's "Postcards From Nebraska" aired on CBS News' "Sunday Morning." The originator of these segments tells the inside stories behind their production. Narrated by Marjory Gloe.

RC 915 This Place in all Its Seasons: The Henry Fonda Home in Nebraska
by Ruth McCauley
1 cassette

Accounts of the preservation of the Henry Fonda birth home at Grand Island's Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer are interspersed with recollections of the esteemed actor by his family and friends. Narrated by Jane Knox.

Books About Baseball-America's Pastime

Baseball is America's great summer pastime. Here is a sample of books about this wonderful sport. To request these titles, please use the order form below or call your Readers Advisor. Included are books by and about legendary Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, who recently passed away at age 83. 

RC 00780 Take Two and Hit to Right; Golden Days on the Semi-Pro Diamond
by Hobe Hays 

Former player relives his baseball days at the University of Nebraska and the raucous, competitive, and hilarious arena of semi-pro action in the Cornhusker State. Captures the golden age of local baseball in Nebraska's cities and larger towns. Some strong language. 

RC 30980 Summer of "49
by David Halberstam 

A dramatic and detailed portrait of the suspenseful 1949 American League pennant race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees when both teams were at the height of their powers. Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, and Phil Rizzuto are some of the featured personalities. Strong language. 

RC 34501 Ted Williams: A Baseball Life
by Michael Seidel 

A picture of the legendary Boston Red Sox hitter, Ted Williams, against a background of baseball history of the 1940s and 1950s. Williams, who often stirred up as much excitement with his temperamental behavior as he did with his prowess at bat, kept the newspapers busy. But his running, throwing, and fielding brought complaints from other team members. Some strong language. 

RC 39231 When Women Played Hardball
by Susan E. Johnson 

Author Johnson was a fourteen-year-old fan when the All-American Girls Baseball League died in 1954 after a twelve-year span. To recreate the spirit of the league that fascinated her, Johnson interviewed twenty-six of the women who played for the 1950 Rockford Peaches and Fort Wayne Daisies. Their recollections of the 1950 series are supplemented by newspaper accounts of each of the seven games. 

RC 47461 A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti
edited by Kenneth S. Robson; foreword by David Halberstam 

A collection of nine essays by the former Yale president who was the commissioner of baseball when he died in 1989. The articles convey Giamatti's lifelong devotion to the sport and his belief in the integrity of the game. One essay, "Baseball and the American Character," interweaves the history of the country with that of its national pastime. 

RC 49844 Summer of '98: When Homers Flew, Records Fell, and Baseball Reclaimed America
by Mike Lupica 

Sportswriter and his three sons eagerly follow the amazing 1998 baseball season, which included the McGwire-Sosa home run duel, David Wells' perfect game, the end of Cal Ripken's streak, and the New York World Series victory. 

RC 50016 My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life
by Ted Williams 

Autobiography of top-hitting player Ted Williams, beginning with his childhood in San Diego and his first contract-at age seventeen-with the minor league Padres in 1936 for one hundred and fifty dollars per month. Reminisces about his career with the Boston Red Sox, his military service, and his years as a manager.

Just for Fun...

Here is a fun question posed to Talking Book and Braille Service staff: What summer activities do you enjoy? 

Attending American Legion baseball games and gardening.--Kay 

Softball and being with family.--Annette 

Road trips and Saltdogs baseball games. -Jacque 

Walking the trails.--Bill

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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