Newsletter of the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service
June 2000

Three New Members Appointed to Advisory Committee

Alisa Gunther, of Gering, and Constance Merritt and Stephen Speicher, both of Lincoln, are the newest members of the Advisory Committee to the Talking Book and Braille Service. Their first terms will expire December 31, 2001.

Other members are Robert Howard, of Greenwood, Tony Jaynes, of Omaha, Gladys Maxwell, of Norfolk, and Jane Crouch, Carl Olson, and Amy Rut, all of Lincoln.

The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to represent the needs of users and to make recommendations concerning library policies, services and programs. 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 users. Normally the committee meets twice a year.

Cassettes Talking Too Fast?

Every so often borrowers call the library because a cassette tape is playing way too fast in their Library of Congress cassette player. This is especially evident at the beginning of a side. Chances are, the problem is with the cassette and not with the machine. Some tapes, especially older ones, become too loosely wound; so when they begin to play, their sound becomes distorted.

As a possible solution, stop the tape, and then fast forward for a minute. Again, stop the tape, and then rewind to the beginning of that side. Remove the tape from the machine, and, placing a finger into each of the cassette sprockets, gently tighten the tape until it feels snug. Be careful not to the stretch the tape.

Hold the cassette in your hand so that the label side faces upward. Tap the bottom of the cassette several times onto a flat surface, such as a tabletop. Return the cassette to your player and try playing the tape once again.

Staff Profile-Michael Kasten

Ask Michael about his family tree. He can trace it all the way back to 1060. A Grand Island native and a 1991 graduate of Grand Island Senior High, Michael Kasten joined the library staff in February as a temporary worker. He assists in Book Circulation and Readers Services. Before coming to the Nebraska Library Commission, Michael worked for over six years in commercial construction.

Michael is married to Stephanie, who also works for the State of Nebraska. Michael enjoys woodworking, especially making furniture such as bookcases and nightstands. His favorite books are about home improvements and home decorating.

Staff Profile-Robert Overstreet

A State of Nebraska temporary worker since November 1999, Robert Overstreet serves as Studio Monitor and back up to our Studio Manager. Robert originally came to the Talking Book and Braille Service through AARP's Senior Community Service Program.

An ordained minister, Robert looks back fondly at a forty-year career as a missionary in West Africa, where his diverse duties included studio recording. It was during his first term as a missionary that Robert married his wife. They raised a daughter and a son and now have seven grandchildren. Currently Robert is Chaplain at a care facility in Lincoln.

Robert grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended Central High School. His favorite hobbies are carpentry, art and writing poetry and fiction. He enjoys reading historical fiction, especially James Michener, and books related to Christian life and experience.

Nebraska Author Leaves Behind Legacy of Humor

Teresa Bloomingdale, a Nebraska author referred to as the Erma Bombeck of the Midwest, has passed away at age 69. An Omaha resident and a graduate of Omaha's Duchesne College, Ms. Bloomingdale began writing at age 42. Her books of humor, which sold internationally, told of her experiences as a housewife and mother of ten. Ms. Bloomingdale also wrote for the Omaha Sun, The Omaha World Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, and McCall's. She stopped writing nine years ago because of a benign brain tumor.

Four of her books are available on cassette from Talking Book and Braille Service:

RC 578 I Should Have Seen It Coming When the Rabbit Died
2 cassettes

Vignettes of a Catholic family with ten children. Includes an account of how the family survived the tornado of 1975, of rushing four toddlers to the emergency ward for Ipecac treatment after "playing doctor," and the time when the family went on vacation in two cars and inadvertently left a child behind in Las Vegas.
Narrated by Barbara Caruso.

RC 579 Life Is What Happens When You're Making Other Plans
1 cassette

The irrepressible mother of ten children trades a midlife crisis for a midlife career.
Narrated by Catherine Byers.

RC 18472 Up a Family Tree
2 cassettes

The author shares the ups and downs of living with children, offering humorous perceptions on how to survive a large family. This mother of ten turns the familiar crisis of domesticity and motherhood into wryly amusing anecdotes.
Narrated by Mimi Bederman.

RC 20090 Murphy Must Have Been a Mother! (And Other Laws I Live By)
1 cassette

This is a collection of light, humorous essays on the various "joys" of being a mother-homemaker. The author deals with such subjects as how teenagers get out of doing the dishes; how husbands make a fuss over their own illness; how young kids write greedy letters to Santa Claus; and the intimidating effect of parent-teacher conferences.
Narrated by Azaleigh Maginnis.

To request these books, either call your Readers Advisor or use the order form.

New Nebraska Cassette Books


RC 776 My First 81 Years
by Dorcas Cavett
2 cassettes

Here are the memories of a woman whose life was crowded with accomplishments. The author recounts her experiences as the first woman Marine, as a renowned educator who pioneered the use of television to teach mathematics, and as the stepmother of Dick Cavett.
Narrated by Beth McNeil.

RC 804 Thirst for Justice; a World War II Story
by Tony Jasnowski, as told to Marie Kramer
1 cassettes

Tony Jasnowski lived on the Polish side of the German-Polish border on the first day of World War II. He served as a member of the Polish Secret Service during the six years of war. Tony labored in Germany and in other Nazi-occupied countries as a farm worker, but his most important task was to supply the Allies with information that would assist in the defeat of Hitler.
Narrated by Tami Works.

RC 810 Nebraska Magazines on Cassette-1999
by the Nebraska Library Commission
1 cassette

Describes 29 free magazines distributed directly from the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service to eligible borrowers.
Narrated by Bill Ainsley.

RC 811 Books for Young People
by the Nebraska Library Commission
1 cassette

Catalog of cassette books found in the Nebraska collection for readers preschool through eighth grade.
Narrated by Julie Cole.

Books About Nebraska

RC 794 Nebraska Trivia
Gabe C. Parks, compiler
1 cassette

This is the who, what, when, where, and how book of Nebraska, filled with interesting questions and answers about the well-known and not-so-well-known facts of this colorful, historic state. Provides hours of entertainment and education and is readily adaptable for use with trivia format games.
Narrated by Frances Buell.

RC 795 A Historical Album of Nebraska
by Charles A. Wills
1 cassette

A brief overview of Nebraska history, beginning with Native American civilizations, followed by European exploration and settlement, early statehood, and present-day issues and events.
Narrated by Jane Knox.


RC 757 Wistrom & Peter; Heart & Soul
by Keith Zimmer
1 cassette

Defensive tackle Jason Peter and All-American rush end Grant Wistrom chronicle the development of the 1997 National Championship Cornhusker football team.
Narrated by Mike Wight.

Westerns and Pioneer

RC 805 Red Stick
by Donald Clayton Porter
3 cassettes

Book 26 in the White Indian Series. While Little Hawk, son of the White Indian, must decide to take part in the coming war with the British, Gao, the White Indian's restless nephew, vows revenge on the soldiers who had scorned him. Produced by the North Dakota State Library.
Narrated by Mike Wight.

Radio Drama

RC 806 Ransom of Red Chief
by O. Henry. Adapted by Anne Gibbs
1 cassette

Dramatization of O. Henry's classic story about two con men who get more than they bargained for when they kidnap the 12-year-old son of a small town banker in Alabama.
Narrated by the Blue Ridge Radio Players.

Volunteer Profile Series Begins

This is the first of our "Volunteer Profiles."

We are beginning a new series in which we honor one or more of our dedicated volunteers.

Volunteer Profile-Helena Whitaker

A volunteer narrator since summer 1998, Helena Whitaker says her studio duties serve as an outlet for her "acting bug," and her drive to and from Omaha is like therapy. A veteran of plays and musicals at Creighton University as a non-student cast member, Helena uses her time in the studios to help others while doing something she really likes to do. Her current studio project is to narrate Roger Welsch's Busted Tractors and Rusty Knuckles.

Married to husband Jerry for nineteen years, Helena has one daughter and two step sons. She has recently become a grandmother for the first time. Her husband has been legally blind for three years. She and Jerry have a mostly-Brittany pup-a stray her son and his wife found a year ago. This year, Helena and her daughter will be part of the Council Bluffs' Renaissance Faire as street characters.

Helena is employed as a Database Administrator at Creighton University. When she isn't working, narrating or acting, she enjoys reading and re-reading a lot of fantasy. Her favorite authors are Christopher Stasheff and Mercedes Lackey. Her favorite meal is a good prime rib or Chinese. Her favorite web site is http://www.station.sony.com because it features online versions of Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Trivial Pursuit and other word games.

ASSIST With Windows!

The Iowa Department for the Blind Project ASSIST's Online Store is now open for business. Individuals can purchase unique step-by-step tutorials and keyboard guides twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Taped tutorials cost $35.00; downloaded tutorials cost $25.00; and keyboard guides cost $5.00. The tutorials and keyboard guides help blind persons use popular Windows programs, such as Windows '98, Microsoft Office, Corel, Word Perfect, and Internet Explorer.

Go shopping at: http://www.blind.state.ia.us/assist.

Where Did the "NE" Go?

Until now, the prefix "NE" always indicated that a book was part of the library's Nebraska collection. This book was either recorded in the library's own studios, or else was brought in as an intermaster from another source.

Our "NE" collection still exists, but we are now using the prefix "RC" instead of "NE." The titles and the book numbers will stay the same; only the prefix is different. If a book is marked "RC" but has fewer than five digits in its book number, it is part of our Nebraska collection.

Copies of books already labeled "NE" will stay that way. As replacement copies are made, those copies will be labeled "RC." Newer Nebraska collection titles will all be labeled "RC." Borrowers who perform their own search of the National Library Service Union Catalog will continue to see "RCNE" as the prefix for Nebraska collection books.

This change is being made in order to improve the accuracy of our statistics in terms of numbers of active borrowers. Prior to this, individuals who read only "NE" titles were not counted as active borrowers.

Not A Clue

If you receive Talking Book Topics in large type or in Braille, please remember to write your name on the order form. Unless your name is written on the form, we have no clue who sent it.

If you receive Talking Book Topics on flexible disc or on cassette, your name is already affixed to the order form.

When you return playback equipment to the library, please use the card that came with the playback equipment to indicate whether or not we should send a replacement to you. Another choice on the card is that you wish to cancel cassettes or records. This card should be enclosed with the equipment being returned to the library. If you cannot locate the card, call your Readers Advisor so we know whether or not to send replacement equipment to you.

Mail Order Catalogs Available on Cassette

Home Readers, a non-profit company based in Edgerton, Kansas, offers mail order catalogs, cookbooks and magazines on audiotape. The 36 catalogs now available include Lands End, Schwan Foods and Sharper Image as examples. Catalogs sponsored by their respective companies are free, while others have a nominal charge. An average cost is $3.00 to $5.00 each.

Cassette magazine subscriptions are also available for the following:

Magazines subscriptions cost between $16.00 and $24.00 each. To order any of these publications, call Kathy Eble at 1-877-814-7323.

Order Form and Mailing Instructions

Please mark the books, then enclose this entire page in an envelope and mail to: Nebraska Library Commission; Talking Book & Braille Service; The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Suite #120; Lincoln, NE 68508-2023

To 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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