Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
December 2001

Nominees Sought for Advisory Committee

The Nebraska Library Commission is seeking to fill three vacancies on the Advisory Committee to the Talking Book and Braille Service. A term on the committee lasts for two years.

Membership on the committee consists primarily of library borrowers but may include librarians, educators, health care providers, and other individuals who understand the needs of borrowers. The committee meets at least twice a year.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to research the needs of users and to make recommendations concerning library policies, services, and programs.

Interested persons should contact the Talking Book and Braille Service to request a nomination form. Deadline for submitting nominations is February 15, 2002.

Book Requests for Mr. or Ms. Anonymous!

Please remember to write your name and address on order forms from Talking Book Topics, Braille Book Review, or any of our catalogs.

If you remember to write your name but not your address, it is possible that some research on our part will get the books to you. Why not include both pieces of information and spare yourself missed reading opportunities?

It is a sad day when we receive written requests for books or magazines from Mr. or Ms. Anonymous.

Help us serve you better by providing us with your name and address when you send in a request for books.

Volunteer Profile-Lori Davis

For a public school speech/language pathologist, spending her summer as a volunteer narrator was a way of sharing her love of spoken language. Lori Davis loves to read, especially aloud, and wanted to share that love with others during her summer vacation.

During June, July, and August 2001, Lori narrated Nebraskaland, Nebraska Farmer, Nebraska Sports America, and Life Lines.

In addition to being a busy teacher, Lori enjoys spending time with her beloved cat, Mallori. She also enjoys cards and reading. Her favorite foods are cookies; she also enjoys Bible study. Her favorite movie is Casablanca (DVS 40381), and her favorite book of all time is Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (RC 18128).

When she surfs the Internet, her favorite site is www.snopes.com, which features "Urban Legends Reference Pages," which helps sort out true stories from hoaxes.

No Voice? No Sound?

Every so often you may try to play a cassette but find there is no voice. One possible cause is that the battery has died. Using the cord that is tucked into the top end of your machine, plug your cassette player into a wall outlet. An overnight charge will provide approximately six hours of play time. It is alright to play cassettes while you are charging your battery.

Another possible cause is that the cassette tape needs repair. Try using a second tape to see if your machine is operating properly. If it is, place a string or rubber band around the problem cassette and return the book to us. Call your Readers Advisor to request a second copy.

Cassette Magazines Address Needs of Mature Readers

If you are retirement age, several magazines on cassette might be of special interest to you. Life Lines, published by Aging Services/LAAA, highlights activities within Butler, Fillmore, Lancaster, Polk, Saline, Saunders, Seward, and York Counties. This magazine, recorded in our own studios, also features general topics, programs, issues, and activities concerning senior citizens.

Modern Maturity, published by the American Association of Retired Persons and recorded by the Arizona Regional Library, offers short articles of interest to persons over age 50. Topics include travel, cooking, economics, second careers, and health.

Older Nebraskan's Voice, features health news, legislative reviews, and personal profiles. Published by the Nebraska Health and Human Services System, Aging Services, it is recorded in our own studios.

If you are interested in learning more about visual impairment, you might wish to read the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, published and recorded monthly by the American Foundation for the Blind. This scholarly journal presents articles for professional practitioners and researchers. It serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas, airing of controversies, and discussion of issues.

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

Just for Fun . . .

Here is a fun question posed to Talking Book and Braille Service staff: What are your favorite family holiday traditions?

I love the piney smell of a fresh Christmas tree, and that's the kind we always had. (Jacque)

I used to love decorating cut-out sugar cookies and gingerbread men, then giving them as a surprise to the mail carrier, trash collector, and any other folks who provide valuable, but sometimes unnoticed, services to us all year. (Cherie)

My family arrives at Grandpa's farm a day early to help with the prep work. The table is stretched from one end of the dining room to the other. My daughter sometimes uses origami to fold the napkins. After the big family meal, my brothers wash the dishes. (Annette)

New Nebraska Cassette Books


RC 901 Best of Prairie Schooner; Personnel Essays
edited by Hilda Raz and Kate Flaherty
2 cassettes

Includes some of the best essays that have appeared in Prairie Schooner since 1980. This anthology of works by poets, novelists, and critics will delight readers who seek thought-provoking fiction and poetry. Narrated by Kandra Hahn for the Talking Book and Braille Service.


RC 846 Santa Meets the Mob
by Jim Cort and Hendrik Booraem
1 cassette, 1 and 7/8 inches per second

In this story for adults, a Santa down in the mall finds $100,000 in a briefcase under his Christmas tree. What he does with the money and where the mob comes in makes for hilarious complications. Produced by the Blue Ridge Radio Players.

Books About Afghanistan

Afghanistan is in the headlines every day. Want to know more about this little-understood country? These books might help. To request these books, please use the order form below or contact your Readers Advisor.


RC 50889 Afghanistan
by Sarifah Enayat Ali

Describes the geography, economy, and culture of Afghanistan-a country on the crossroads between Europe and the Far East. Traces its history up to 1992, when the Communist regime was overthrown and the Islamic state established. For grades 5-8.

RC 50235 A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
by Eric Newby; preface by Evelyn Waugh

The wry account of an Englishman who leaves the London fashion industry for the adventure of hiking into Nuristan, a remove corner of Afghanistan. Accompanied by a Foreign Service friend, he takes a four-day beginners's course in mountain climbing in Wales before departing on their expedition.

RC 49535 Tournament of Shadows; The Great Game and Race for Empire in Central Asia
by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac

The authors chronicle the struggle between Great Britain and Russia over control of central Asia, beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing through the cold war. They examine the activities of adventurers, explorers, and statesmen in Tibet, Lhasa, Afghanistan, and surrounding areas, who spied for their respective countries.

RC 48185 The Taliban; War, Religion and the New Order in Afghanistan
by Peter Marsden

Examines the beliefs and policies of the Taliban and their rise to power. Traces the history of other radical movements in the area. Discusses the gender issue and how it affects the interactions of the Taliban with the international community. Considers foreign support and opposition to the group.

RC 40522 Husband, Lover, Spy; A True Story
by Janice Pennington with Carlos de Abreu

Janice Pennington, hostess on the TV game show, The Price Is Right," married German mountain climber Fitz Stammberger in 1974. In 1975, while climbing in the Tirich Mir area along the Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russian borders, Stammberger disappeared. Years later, after Pennington had him declared legally dead and married another man, she uncovered startling information. Some descriptions of sex.

RC 34426 The Hidden War; A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan
by Artem Borovik

In 1988, Soviet journalist Borovik began publishing articles on the nine-year Soviet involvement in the Afghanistan war. As Gorbachev was easing the nation out of war, Borovik was interviewing soldiers in combat, deserters, and soldiers' families, to provide an eyewitness account much different from the version presented to the Soviet people during the 1980s. Some strong language.

RC 32137 Soldiers of God; With the Mujahidin in Afghanistan
by Robert D. Kaplan

A journalist reports on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the defense of their country by the Moslem mujahidin. The war was characterized by technologically sophisticated weapons in the hands of primitive fighters and by the planting of millions of mines meant to maim, not kill.

RC 48120 The Black Tulip; A Novel
by Milton Bearden

CIA agent Alexander Fannin has to quit his job after his marriage to a Russian woman. He is then recruited unofficially to assist Afghan rebels fight the Soviet invasion. During a prisoner exchange, Fannin finds himself in a position to help his wife's cousin, a colonel in the KGB, defect.

RC 35395 Horses of Heaven
by Gillian Bradshaw

In 140 B.C., in central Asia, Mauakes, the king of Yavana, forms an alliance with Bactria, a former enemy, for mutual protection. As part of the bond, Mauakes marries a young Bactrian, Heliokleia. Mauakes unexpectedly finds himself falling in love with his wife, but she is unable to return his ardor-she has fallen in love with his son. Some violence and some descriptions of sex.

Borrowers' Talking Books Experiences

In our latest survey, 130 borrowers told us about their experiences communicating with us and using talking books. Most respondents (97) indicated they can always, or almost always, telephone the Talking Book and Braille Service without difficulty. Eight respondents didn't know our phone number; and one had problems hearing or understanding us over the phone.

Sixteen respondents did not know we have a toll-free 800 number for callers who live outside the Lincoln calling area. When asked about using our telephone answering machine, forty-four respondents reported they have never used it to leave a message. Nineteen, however, have used it without difficulty.

Nearly all respondents (92) felt that postcards and letters from the library communicate clearly.

Most respondents (96) found that all, or almost all, of their cassette books perform properly. Forty-one reported some problem with the sound being garbled; and 25 said the voice just stops. Nine respondents indicated a problem with there being no voice; while six reported that one or more books appear to end before the story is finished.

Ten respondents told us that one in twenty cassette mailing boxes have broken or missing straps; three said this was the case for one out of ten. However, 113 respondents told us this seldom or never happens.

Our thanks to all borrowers who responded!

Cassettes Missing From Your Book?

Every so often a borrower or family member 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 that 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 that 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 cassette. Typically, four separate sound tracks are recorded on the surface of each tape; two sound tracks per side. That is the reason why the cassettes are labeled 1, 5, 9, 13, and so on.

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 speed control on the face of the cassette player should be toggled to the left, indicating 15/16, unless the cassette is marked as playing at 1 and 7/8. Also, make sure the side selector switch is toggled to the left, which is marked 1-2. When you finish side 2, turn the cassette over and toggle the side selector switch to the right, or 3-4, in order to continue listening to that cassette.

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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