Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille S
July 2005                            Vol. 29 No. 4

Digital Talking Books in 2008

The Library of Congress is planning a transition away from audio cassette books to books on flash memory. The change is scheduled to begin in 2008, and is expected to take up to four years. Borrowers will use a digital player, provided by the Library of Congress, and could also choose to download a book using their personal computer, similar to the way they now download Web-Braille files.

The digital player will be smaller and lighter than the C1 cassette player now commonly used by talking book borrowers. A digital book cartridge, on flash memory, will be slightly larger than a credit card but capable of holding a complete audio book. Borrowers should find the digital talking books and players easier to operate than audio cassettes and cassette players. Overall sound quality should also be better. Digital audio books will continue to be narrated with human voices and will continue to be sent to and from borrowers postage free.

The Talking Book and Braille Service will continue to circulate cassette books during and after the transition.

Librarians Meet to Consider Today's Reality/Tomorrow's Promise

"Getting from Here to There: Delivering Excellent Service Utilizing Today's Reality" was the theme of a recent conference in Seattle that drew talking book librarians from the Midlands and West. A pre-conference on assistive technology offered practical advice on how to improve the accessibility of library resources and public access computers. Other important topics included outreach efforts by the Library of Congress and by talking book libraries, digital recording and plans for digital talking books, and pilot projects involving books and magazines on the Internet. Some meetings were held at Seattle's new downtown Central Library.

Volunteer Profile-Barbara Rixstine

If you enjoy listening to Reminisce, Reminisce Extra, Nebraska History, or Nebraska Farmer, you've heard the voice of volunteer narrator Barbara Rixstine. She has also helped to narrate a special edition of Nebraskaland Magazine entitled, Birding in Nebraska, which is now one of our Nebraska books (RC 964). A Communications Specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barbara decided to become a volunteer narrator because it is a good use of her skills and because she wants her efforts to help people have access to print.

Along with gardening, reading is one of Barbara's hobbies. Her favorite author is John McPhee, especially his book Looking for a Ship (RC 32135). Her favorite book of all time is The Wind Chill Factor, a World War II mystery by Thomas Gifford (RC 14469). The latest book she has read is The List of Seven, by Mark Frost--a pre-Sherlock Holmes mystery featuring Arthur Conan Doyle (RC 39937).

Barbara's favorite food is The Ice Cream Club's "Midnight Chocolate." Her two favorite Web sites are www.flatwater.org, sponsored by her British car club, and www.testycopyeditors.com, which features newspaper copy editors from all over the world.

Cassette Magazines for Summertime Reading

If summertime makes you appreciate living close to nature, then we have the cassette magazines for you. Capper's, a biweekly publication with a focus on small-town 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. Great Plains Game and Fish, published monthly, describes fishing and hunting hot spots in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

Gardening How-To, published bimonthly by the National Home Gardening Club, is filled with gardening tips, techniques, and equipment reviews. These first three magazines are produced within the studios of the Talking Book and Braille Service. The fourth is produced by Associated Services for the Blind.

For information about destinations a little further from home, National Geographic Traveler, a bimonthly produced by the Florida Regional Library, offers six to ten travel articles, mostly about the United States. An additional section gives full data, such as cost, phone numbers, and addresses for the destinations discussed. Sunset: The Magazine of Western Living, a monthly publication, discusses what, when, and how to enhance your life in the West. It is produced by the Arizona Regional Library.

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

Helpful Hint...

Question: I have a hard time getting through when I try calling the Talking Book and Braille Service during the noon hour. Is there a better time to call?

Answer: If your call is not being answered on a weekday between 12:30 and 1:30, it is probably because several staff members are taking their turn having lunch. You might try calling at other times between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. No matter when you call, including evenings and weekends, it is always possible to leave a message on our answering machine, which is checked several times each working day.

In addition to telephone contact, borrowers and their family members are increasingly sending us email.

New Cassette Books


The Middle of Everywhere: The World's Refugees Come to Our Town
RC 921

by Mary Pipher

read by Beth McNeil

3 cassettes

The newest members of America's family-the refugees-have fled oppressive regimes to live in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in every town across the United States. Bringing with them their own endurance to survive in the face of tragedy, they often come with nothing except the desire to live the American dream. Their stories show how recent immigrants from numerous countries and religious traditions offer a wider perspective on the world.
Contains some strong language.

Danes in America: Kansas and Nebraska
RC 956

edited by John W. Nielsen; translated by Ninna Engskow

read by Marie Johnson

2 cassettes

Accounts of early Danish settlers describe pioneer life in Kansas and Nebraska. Virtually all the material comes from volume two of the original work (Danske i Amerika), published in 1916.

Books for the Long, Glorious Days of Summer

Many Nebraskans look forward to summer. Many authors like summer as well. Here are some great books which are set in the good ol' summertime:

RC 46315 Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art and Writing About It a Game, by Roger Kahn

A sportswriter's memoir of "the gilded era of baseball," the postwar years before million-dollar salaries, television networks, and player strikes. Recounts his experiences covering the Brooklyn Dodgers and offers observations on Willie Mays, Leo Durocher, Mickey Mantle, and other stars.

RC 46715 Devil's Rim, by Sam Brown

Concho Smith is headed to Mexico in the summer of 1898 when he comes across Judith Van, who is trying to mend a broken gate on her ranch. Her husband has been crippled by a fall from a horse, and she really needs help with the ranch work. Concho stops to help and ends up staying and facing problems. Strong language and some violence.

RC 48128 The Plum Thicket, by Janice Holt

A grandmother returns to the dusty Arkansas town where she spent her most unforgettable summer with her own grandparents in the early 1900s. At age eight, with acute perception but little understanding, she became a central character in a tense drama involving her aunt, her grandmother, a young doctor, and a housemaid.

RC 49957 Dreamer: A Novel, by Charles Johnson

During the tense summer of 1966 in Chicago, Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers are trying to quell outbreaks of violence. Matthew Bishop introduces King to Chaym Smith, who could easily pass as King's double. Their struggle against racial prejudice and social upheaval is presented from Bishop's point of view.

RC 51995 The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound, by Roger Kahn

The author discusses the psychology and physics of baseball pitching, as well as some of the major personalities immortalized in the history of the sport.

RC 52160 Dying for Chocolate, by Diane Mott Davidson

To escape from her abusive ex-husband, caterer Goldy Bear accepts a summer job cooking for a retired general. After one of her suitors dies in a car accident, she joins another, Detective Tom Schulz, in the investigation. And soon her son, Arch, is in danger. Some violence and some strong language.

RC 52222 Actor, by Parnell Hall

New York private investigator Stanley Hastings accepts the lead in a summer theater production on behalf of an old college chum. The once-aspiring thespian meets an assortment of fellow players, including a soap opera star. Then the stage manager is murdered. Some descriptions of sex and some violence.

RC 52378 Truth & Bright Water, by Thomas King

Summer in a Montana reservation town moves in unexpected directions after Tecumseh and his cousin Lum witness a woman dancing on a clifftop and then leaping into the river below. Tecumseh helps a trompe l'oeil artist make a derelict church "disappear" but cannot deal so easily with Lum's unhappiness. Some strong language.

RC 52617 How I Survived My Summer Vacation: And Lived to Write the Story, by Robin Friedman

The summer before starting high school, Jackie is determined to finally write his novel, but he keeps getting distracted by his embarrassing New Age parents, his buddies, the swim team-and his first girlfriend. For grades 6-9.

RC 53067 The Smoke Jumper, by Nicholas Evans

Julia Bishop meets Ed Tully first but soon is introduced to his best friend and fellow forest firefighter Connor Ford. That summer a catastrophic fire forces Julia to choose between the two men she has come to love. Some explicit descriptions of sex, some violence, and some strong language.

RC 53732 Summer Moon, by Jill Marie Landis

Kate Whittington, who grew up in a Maine orphanage, impulsively answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride for Reed Benton of Texas. But when she arrives, she discovers her husband knows nothing about her. And he has just recovered his son who was captured by the Comanche years earlier. Some explicit descriptions of sex.

RC 54579 Holding Up the Earth, by Dianne E. Gray

Fourteen-year-old orphan Hope, spending the summer on a Nebraska farm with Sarah, her latest foster mother, reads family documents left by four previous generations of teens: Abigail, the first homesteader; Rebecca, a hired girl; Sarah's mother, Anna; and Sarah. For grades 5-8.

RC 54777 Summer of Storms, by Judith Kelman

Thirty-three-year-old photographer Anna Jameson returns to work in New York City three decades after her sister is murdered there during a hurricane. As she investigates the past and uncovers family secrets, she becomes a target of the killer, who is still very much alive. Some violence and some strong language.

"Golden Oldies' for Summer Reading

Here are more books recorded in our own studios during past years that are still great to read. To order, please check the box next to the RC number and mail this page to the Talking Book and Braille Service; or contact your Readers Advisor.

  • RC 419 Nebraska Football: the Coaches, the Players, the Experience, by James E. Sherwood
    2 cassettes        Football

  • RC 420 Death on the Prairie: Thirty Years' Struggle for the Western Plains, by Paul I. Wellman
    2 cassettes     History of the West

    RC 421 I Fought with Custer: The Story of Sergeant Windolph, Last Survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, by Charles Windolph
    2 cassettes     Autobiography

    RC 422 The Covered Wagon and Other Adventurers, by Lynn H. Scott
    1 cassette     Autobiography

    RC 423 What to Do in an Emergency, by the Lincoln Police Department
    1 cassette     Personal safety

    RC 424 Country Tales and Truths, by Dick Kimbrough
    2 cassettes     Short stories

    RC 426 About Wife Abuse / What Everyone Should Know About Child Abuse, by the Lincoln Police Department
    1 cassette     Family safety

    RC 427 Custer's Chief of Scouts, by Charles Albert Varnum
    1 cassette     Western history

    RC 428 Do You Work Someplace? by Eunice L. Preston
    1 cassette     Humor

    RC 429 The Keepers, Volume I, by Joan Rossiter Burney
    2 cassettes     Essays

    RC 430 People of the Moonshell: A Western River Journal, by Nancy M. Peterson
    2 cassettes     Nebraska history

    RC 440 Animal Heroes, by Ernest Thompson Seton
    2 cassettes     Animal stories

    RC 441 Westward Vision: The Story of the Oregon Trail, by David Sievert Lavender
    3 cassettes     Pioneer history

    RC 442 Amana: From Pietist Sect to American Community, by Diane L. Barthel
    1 cassette     American history

    RC 443 Fort Robinson Illustrated, by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    1 cassette     Nebraska history

    RC 444 The Fish Book, by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    1 cassette     Nebraska fish

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.

  • Capper's
  • Country
  • Gardening How-To
  • Great Plains Game and Fish
  • National Geographic Traveler
  • Sunset: The Magazine of Western Living
  • RC 921
  • RC 956
  • RC 46315
  • RC 46715
  • RC 48128
  • RC 49957
  • RC 51995
  • RC 52160
  • RC 52222
  • RC 52378
  • RC 52617
  • RC 53067
  • RC 53372
  • RC 54579
  • RC 54777
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 at 471-4038 or 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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