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

Center for the Book Seeks Book Discussion and Writing Groups

The Nebraska Center for the Book is a nonprofit organization that attempts to bring together the state's readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars. Its purpose is to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. One of its current projects is to identify book discussion and writing groups across the state.

So far, the Nebraska Center for the Book has found more than 170 groups in 46 communities. These groups read and write about an amazing variety of topics and genres and are organized in as many ways as there are groups. The oldest were started in the last century: The George Elliot Club of Hastings-1889; Musigma of Omaha-1892, etc. The newest were begun last year. Memberships range from three to forty.

If you are active in a book discussion or writing group, please contact Mel Krutz, 2625 Bluff Road, Seward, NE 68434. Email: ck3438@navix.net.

Help for Air Travelers With Disabilities

The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the U.S. Department of Transportation offers information for the disabled air traveler, including travel tips, publications, guidance regarding aviation rules and statutes, complaint resolution, consumer reports, and strike information. This agency also receives complaints from consumers regarding air carriers who allegedly violate travelers' rights.

Contact: Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division C-75, 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202-366-4000, 202-366-2220 (complaint line). Web-site address: www.dot.gov/airconsumer.

Happy 50th Anniversary-Talking Book and Braille Service!

On January 1, 1952, what was then known as the Nebraska Public Library Commission created a Division for the Blind in order to begin talking book and Braille service to visually impaired Nebraskans. Under the direction of Helen Dvoracek, that new division, now known as the Talking Book and Braille Service, began with a collection of 400 titles. During February of that year, the new library had circulated 454 books. By July, the collection contained 1,100 talking books, with an average length of 22 long-playing records per title, which were circulated to just over 300 Nebraskans. A complete recording of the Bible required 12 boxes of records.

Nebraska became the 28th talking book library in the National Library Service / Library of Congress nationwide network of cooperating libraries. Prior to this, visually impaired Nebraskans received service through a regional center at the Denver Public Library.

Today, with a collection of 49,000 titles, mostly on cassette, our library provides talking books and magazines on cassette and in Braille to over 4,600 Nebraskans with visual and physical impairment. We look back with gratitude to the hard work and vision of scores of staff members, including Helen Dvoracek, Dorothy Lessenhop, and Executive Secretary of the Nebraska Public Library Commission, Louise Nixon, for the crucial roles they played.

Books About the Presidents

February is known as the month of presidential birthdays. Presidents Washington, Harrison, Lincoln, and Reagan were all born in this month. Presidents' Day, a holiday in commemoration of the Presidents, especially George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, is observed this year on February 18.

Here are some cassette books about the four presidents born in February:

RC 50542 The World Turned Upside Down: George Washington and the Battle of Yorktown
by Richard Ferrie

Examines the events surrounding the Revolutionary War battle that led to the defeat of the British at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. Explains how General George Washington won the war even when his army was falling apart and the country was collapsing. For grades 6-9 and older readers.

RC 48304 George Washington's Socks
by Elvira Woodruff

Matthew and his friends form an adventure club so they can talk about real adventures from throughout history. But at their first meeting, in which they plan to discuss George Washington's crossing of the Delaware, the members suddenly find themselves back in the time of the American Revolution. For grades 4-7.

RC 43027 The Presidency of George Washington
by Forrest McDonald

The author explores the reputation of the first president and its role in American history, arguing that the mystique surrounding Washington allowed a divided and contentious young country to trust executive authority and establish the office of president. McDonald also describes Washington's administration and the end of his immunity to public criticism.

RC 36753 The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler
by Norma Lois Peterson

In the 1840 election, the Whips placed William Henry Harrison on the ballot. The party, expecting the defeat of the Democratic incumbent, passed over Henry Clay, their actual leader, in search of a candidate who would respect congressional power. But death took the successful Harrison after a month in office. Tyler, the vice president, claimed the office and, to the chagrin of the Whigs, refused to be their puppet.

RC 30109 William Henry Harrison: 9th President of the United States
by Rebecca Stefoff

William Henry Harrison was born in Charles City, Virginia, on February 9, 1773, into a prominent Virginia family. His father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. William Henry became a hero in 1811 at the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was elected president in 1840 and died from illness one month after his inauguration. For grades 5-8 and older readers.

RC 49400 Lincoln's Men: How President Lincoln Became Father to an Army and a Nation
by William C. Davis

Explores the role of Abraham Lincoln as the practical and inspirational leader of the Union Army. An examination of the letters and diaries of Union soldiers reveals their affection for the president, their belief that he understood them, and their abiding loyalty to "Father Abraham."

RC 39423 The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln
by Phillip Shaw Paludan

A Civil War scholar analyzes Lincoln's administration. Proceeding chronologically, Paludan examines Lincoln's presidency beginning with his election and the formation of his cabinet. The author asserts that no other president ever faced greater challenges in defending the oath of office. He credits Lincoln with resolving two of the greatest struggles in American history; saving the Union and freeing the slaves.

RC 21105 Abraham Lincoln; the Man Behind the Myths
by Stephen B. Oates

Concentrates on the personal life and humanity of Lincoln, separating the facts from the highly elaborated myths. Also presents a detailed reconstruction of the assassination and a reassessment of Mary Todd Lincoln.

RC 52547 Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, and the End of the Cold War
by Frances FitzGerald

Examines President Reagan's worldview and the origins of his "Star Wars" missile defense initiative. Documents the clashes between Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger concerning the program. Concludes with a report on missile defense research.

RC 48814 Dutch
by Edmund Morris

Biographer Morris interjects himself as a fictional contemporary of Ronald Reagan in this authorized account of the fortieth president of the United States. He covers Reagan's life from his birth in Tampico, Illinois, through his college days, his movie career, his governorship of California, his presidency, and final public appearance.

RC 32006 An American Life
by Ronald Reagan

Shortly after Reagan's birth in 1911, his father reportedly remarked, "He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president one day." That prediction did come true, but according to Reagan, if he had not been turned down for a job at Montgomery Ward, he may never have left Illinois. Reagan writes of his growing up in Illinois during the depression, his Hollywood career, and his rise to the top in politics.

To request these books, please use the order form on below or call your Readers Advisor.

PSAs Spread the Word About Talking Books

In early winter, Nebraska radio and television stations began to air talking book public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at the state's seniors and their family members. Newspapers published press releases as well. Most of the PSAs were delivered to Nebraska stations by twenty community volunteers, many of whom were public library directors, their staff, or members of the library's Advisory Committee.

Provided by the Library of Congress/National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, these PSAs are part of a four-month public education campaign, "Take a Talking Book @ your library." Promotional mailings have been made to Nebraska eye care professionals and Senior Centers.

New Nebraska Cassette Books


RC 847 Man With the Giant Stride; The Story of Ken Witt
by Joe Swatek
2 cassettes

A Nebraska farm boy made up his mind to overcome a devastating illness, paralysis and leg amputation in order to regain his independence. He went on to become a renowned Nebraska businessman and civic leader with a long list of accomplishments. These include life membership in the Million Dollar Table for Prudential, member of Citibank Board of Directors, and President of St. Elizabeth Community Health Center Board of Trustees. Narrated by Janene Sheldon.


RC 886 The Man Who Ate the 747
by Ben Sherwood
2 cassettes
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. Narrated for the Talking Book and Braille Service by Jane Knox.

Choice Magazine Has New Name and Format

Beginning January 2002, Networks Magazine replaced Choice, the program guide to Nebraska Public Television and Public Radio. This change is more than a new name; Networks offers new features, including combined primetime listings for Nebraska ETV and its cable television network, NETV2. Other enhancements include repeat times for programs being aired more than once, all-day Saturday and Sunday listings, and combined weekday listings.

If you have been receiving Choice on cassette, you will automatically receive Networks. Otherwise, to subscribe, please contact your Readers Advisor.

Magazines for Lovers of History

The beginning of a new year sometimes makes us want to look back. Three cassette magazines are written especially for readers who enjoy history. American History, produced six times a year by Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind, presents all phases of American history. This magazine emphasizes personalities and concrete events. It covers a variety of social, political, military, and artistic themes.

Closer to home, Nebraska History, published quarterly by the Nebraska State Historical Society, presents articles on the history and people of Nebraska and the Midwest. This journal is recorded in our own studios.

A monthly publication of the Smithsonian Institution and recorded by the Florida Regional Library, Smithsonian offers a wide variety of articles about science, natural history, art, archeology, history, and ecology. This publication also covers events at the Smithsonian Institution.

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

More Oprah Books

The February 2001 issue of Interchange featured cassette books from our collection that had been selected for Oprah's Book Club. These titles, arranged alphabetically, are often used by reading groups. Of course they can be enjoyed for personal reading pleasure as well. To request these titles, please note on the order form below or contact your Readers Advisor.

RC 52281 Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Author's fictionalized account of her maternal ancestors from 1834 to the 1950s. Some violence.

RC 49152 Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
Growing up in the 1950s in a small Kentucky town, a young girl with Tourette's syndrome realizes she is different from the other kids.

RC 52093 Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir
Moroccan woman describes her family's twenty-five-year imprisonment after her father led an unsuccessful coup against the king.

RC 44100 We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates After daughter is assaulted, everything comes apart for the family. (Strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex.)

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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