Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
August 1998

Response to Survey is Extraordinary

A short survey joined the order form on the back page of Interchange last issue. The initial survey topic was Nebraska books and magazines. Response to the survey has been extraordinary; responses continue to arrive by both mail and phone. Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts. If you have not yet responded, please do so. Responses received by September 4 can be included in the survey report, appearing in the October issue.

The survey topic for this issue is "Calls, Correspondence & Computers." The response report for this survey will be included in the December issue.

On-Site Machine Exchange Statewide

Nebraska's local public libraries often provide valuable help to talking book patrons in their communities. For example, some libraries serve as machine exchange sites. Machine exchange libraries keep a small number of talking book cassette players on hand, so talking book patrons can "trade in" malfunctioning players for working players.

You know how talking book service works and how to use the cassettes and players. You know what kinds of books and magazines you receive, and you may know about other materials that are available but don't interest you.

In these communities, talking book users do not have to spend days waiting for a player to arrive from Lincoln. Instead, they are often able to replace a malfunctioning machine within the day. The process is a simple trade. The malfunctioning player is brought to the library. A library staff member completes a short form-noting the user's name and the serial number of the machine being issued. The talking book user then has a working player. (NOTE: Machine exchange libraries are only authorized to exchange players and may not issue a player without receiving one in exchange.)

Libraries in the following communities offer machine exchange: Alliance, Beatrice, Bellevue, Central City, Columbus, Cozad, Fremont, Grand Island, Hastings, Holdrege, Kearney, Lexington, McCook, Norfolk, Papillion, and Scottsbluff. In Omaha, the W. Dale Clarke main library and the following branch libraries offer machine exchange: Abrahams, Charles B. Washington, Millard, W. Clarke Swanson, and Willa Cather.

Staff Profile - TBBS Director Dave Oertli

Dave Oertli is the Director of the Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS). According to Dave, his job involves both near- and long-term planning while overseeing a circulation of 1,400 talking books each day. Being Director of TBBS also involves maintaining relationships between the TBBS and local libraries, other programs in the Library Commission, the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and other organizations.

Dave says he finds being a librarian "intellectually satisfying, contemplative, challenging, and rich in relationships." He became a librarian because, after receiving his BA in English from UN-L, he couldn't decide upon a single career, and librarianship would let him do it all. Dave went on to complete Masters Degrees in Library Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia and in Public Administration from UN-O.

Dave's main reading interests are science, the Beat Generation, and Eastern and Western religions. However, he notes with chagrin, one is most likely to find him reading book review publications while sipping his noon hour gourmet coffee.

Given the opportunity to change anything in the library world, Dave would try to advance two ideas.

Dave is a native of Washington State. He became a Nebraskan by marriage t o long-distance running wife, Valerie. They have one daughter, Sarah, and a dog, Max.

For Your Information

YOUR TELEPHONE CALLS are important. We work hard to respond quickly to both the calls we receive in person and those picked up by the answering machine. The answering machine offers us the opportunity to serve you whenever making the call is most convenient for you. Please help us to respond to your message by remembering to

The answering machine picks up calls whenever the library is closed or staff are unavailable.

THE SCHOOL YEAR is about to begin. Annual classroom enrollment forms are in the mail to classrooms that used talking books last year:

Application forms for new students and new schools/classrooms are available upon request. Teachers who would like more information are invited to request a "Service to Schools Information Packet."

THE OFT-QUOTED Shakespeare's "a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet" may indeed by true. However, talking book borrower Rose, by any other name or without a name at all on an order form or request list, won't have much luck getting the books she wants. Please be sure your name appears on request lists, order forms, or any correspondence you send to us.

VOLUNTEERS PLAY AN essential role in providing talking book service. They do so much more than narrate Nebraska books and magazines. They also repair cassette players, assist with cassette duplication, prepare incoming cassette books for circulation, and check the quality of each magazine cassette before it is placed in the mail. Recruiting volunteers who are able and willing to do the work is an ongoing process. Currently, our most crucial needs are cassette player repair, on-call clerical, and assistance with duplication of cassette magazines. All volunteer tasks are done in our Lincoln office. Please help us publicize these needs by talking with your family and friends in the Lincoln area.

Nebraska Cassette Books Collection Features These New Titles

Books of Nebraska...

When the Tree Flowered
NE 629 3 cassette
John G. Neihardt
Members of the last generation of Sioux to have participated in the old buffalo-hunting life describe their customs and beliefs. Narrated by Brian Rockey.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble
NE 644 2 cassettes
Shirley Lueth
Nebraska humorist and syndicated columnist explains through anecdotes how she raised seven kids and lived to tell about it. Narrated by Sher Brophy.

Walks the Fire
NE 697 2 cassetteS
Stephanie G. Whitson
Captured by the Lakota Sioux on a Nebraska prairie, Jesse King wonders how she will adjust to life among the Indians. But as she prays for sustaining faith, she discovers God's tender mercies in her friendship with an Indian woman and in her love for the Sioux brave, Rides the Wind. Narrated by Tami Works.

Mari: A Novel
NE 731 2 cassettes
Jane Valentine Barker
A fictionalized account of the turbulent relationship between famed Western author Mari Sandoz and her pioneer-rancher father, Jules. Set in the Sandhills of northwest Nebraska in the early 1900s, the novel brings to life the struggle between free-spirited, determined Mari and her violent, yet brilliant and imaginative, father. Narrated by Jane Knox.

The Good Green Witch from Ipswitch
NE 729 1 cassette
Garnett Tremain Bond
A children's story about a good witch who safeguards the earth from pollutions. Includes original music performed by Dan and Denise Cotton. Narrated by Garnett Tremain Bond.

This Death by Drowning
NE 711 1 cassette
William Kloefkorn
The author's personal memoir that is an artfully assembled collection of reminiscences, each having to do with water. Narrated by Heather Houghton.

General Fiction...

Apple Tree Lean Down
NE 692 5 cassettes
Mary Emily Pearce
Poignant, old-fashioned novel that chronicles the lives and loves of three families in the rural Midlands of England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Some strong language. Narrated by Noelle Middleton. Produced by NLS.

The Land Endures
NE 693 2 cassettes
Mary Emily Pearce
Shortly after World War One, Stephen Wayman leaves his law practice and moves with his wife and four children to Holland Farm in Worchestershire. The even rhythm of farming brings its own rewards until personal tragedy threatens to overwhelm the young family. Sequel to Apple Tree Lean Down, NE 692. Narrated by Tom Martin. Produced by NLS.

Polsinney Harbour
NE 698 2 cassettes
Mary Emily Pearce
Maggie Care walks into the Cornish fishing village of Polsinney one July evening in 1869, a stranger to everyone. She arrives carrying one small bundle over her shoulder, along with a sad burden of a tragedy at sea and a dark secret. When her secret is revealed, it disturbs the village and forever changes the lives of the two men who fall in love with her. Narrated by Pat Gilbert-Read. Produced by NLS.

Non Fiction...

When Bad Things Happen to Good People
NE 691 1 cassette
Harold S. Kushner
Impelled by the personal tragedy of his own life, the author, a rabbi, tries to help others cope with grief, guilt, rage, bitterness, and bewilderment at God's "unfairness." In his search for answers to why tragedies seemingly strike those undeserving of them, he offers comfort and reassurance to the troubled. Narrated by John Richardson. Produced by NLS.

Nebraska Library Commission Explored

The second in a two-part series responding to the question, "What does the Nebraska Library Commission do in addition to circulating talking books?" Part one described the agency's mission, the roles it fills in pursuit of that mission, and the future it envisions for libraries and library users in Nebraska.


The Nebraska Commission was originally established by an act of the Nebraska Legislature on March 27, 1901, as the Public Library Commission. The office of the Commission opened in the State Capitol on November 11, 1901. Its original charge from the Legislature was to "encourage the establishment of libraries where none existed and the improvement of those already established."

In 1933, due to economic hardships, the Legislature abolished the Library Commission, established in its place the Nebraska Public Library, and moved it to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with the University Librarian serving as its director. In 1935, the Legislature reestablished the Public Library Commission, moving its offices to the new Capitol Building. In 1972, the agency assumed its present identity, as the Nebraska Library Commission (NLC).

Books for the Blind

In 1952, the Library of Congress designated the Nebraska Public Library Commission as the official distribution center for its Books for the Blind program. In the mid-1960s, federal legislation expanded talking book service to individuals with physical handicaps. In 1966, NLC changed Books for the Blind to Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH). At that time, Nebraskans were served both by the Lincoln facility and by subregional libraries in Kimball, North Platte, and Hastings. In 1974, the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and the Library Commission joined in a physical sense with a move to the old Nebraska Farmer building.

In the next few years, talking book service changed in many ways. Computers replaced book card in- and out-files. Nebraska joined other Western states in contracting for Braille service from the Utah State Library. Statewide service from a single site became a reality; all the subregional libraries were merged with the Lincoln facility by 1993. In January 1993, the LBPH changed its name to reflect its service rather than its clientele and became the Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS). July 1, 1993, the Library Commission, TBBS included, moved to its current location in the Atrium at 1200 N Street.

TBBS continues to fulfill its role within the Library Commission: providing recreational reading material to any Nebraskan who cannot use regular print due to visual or physical limitation.

Talking Book Survey - Calls, correspondence & Computers

Thank you for your responses. If you would like to make additional comments on this topic or suggest a topic for a future survey, please contact us: 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023; local 471-4038, toll-free long distance 800-742-7691; or email.

1. How do you prefer to make your book requests? (Please mark all that apply.)

2. When you have questions or problems regarding your talking book service, what do you do? (Please mark all that apply.) 3. How do you prefer to contact the Talking Book and Braille Service regarding a question or problem? (Please mark all that apply.) 4. When your call to the Talking Book and Braille Service reaches the answering machine do you (Please mark all that apply.) 5. Do you have a computer conveniently available for your personal use? (Please mark all that apply.) 6. If you do not have a computer available for personal use, do you expect to have one within the next five years? 7. Do you use the Internet? 8. If you don't use Internet now, do you expect to use it within the next five years?

Order Listing

New Books in the NE Collection
To respond to the survey and order the items described in this issue: email; 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, zip code, and telephone number in all correspondence.

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