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Advisory Committee to the Nebraska Library Commission
Talking Book and Braille Service

Nebraska Library Commission
1200 N Street, Suite 120, Meadowlark Room
Lincoln, Nebraska
Friday, June 1, 2007

 The Advisory Committee to the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service held its regular meeting Friday, June 1, 2007, at the Nebraska Library Commission, Lincoln, NE. Notice of the meeting was submitted to local newspapers (Lincoln Journal Star, Omaha World Herald), and posted on the Nebraska Library Commission Web site. 

Members Present: Carolyn Bennett, Joan Davis, Ana Kalin, Robert Kalin, Sandra Kelsey, Shirley Schmidt, Mike Steinmeyer, Avis Wiest, Dave Oertli, and Annette Hall.

The meeting was opened by Dave Oertli and a welcome and introductions were made.Minutes were read by Carolyn Bennet from the September 7, 2006 meeting. Minutes were accepted as corrected. Ana mentioned it would be nice to have the minutes available on cassette.

 Dave gave an update on visual conversion. He attended a conference in Arizona on Talking Books.  Digital Rollout was the topic and a timeline has been established, contingent on the Federal Budget.  Funding has currently been secured for 55,000 new players nationwide, with an additional 5,000 more for test centers. 2008 will be the first year for the new machines, but it is uncertain whether they will be introduced in the spring or the fall.  Nebraska will have 400-500 new players the first year, which is based on quota and the number of users. Nebraska currently has 5000 users, which is a modest number. In addition, the NLC will have two players for test purposes.

In order to fund the cost of the players, a total of 76 million dollars over a four year period (19.4 million a year) has been requested from the Federal government. This is in addition to the regular budget. The General Accounting Office (GAO) raised a concern and an audit occurred. The GAO drafted a concern that I-Pod, MP-3 players, etc. should have been looked at instead of all new technology. It was explained that people who used Talking Books have different needs that can not be met with these other tools. Examples were given by Dave and Mike S. of how the cassette player differs from current technology on the market. People with disabilities such as arthritis or visual impairment would have a difficult time working the controls of the models currently used by the general public. In addition, Talking Books are unabridged, whereas commercial books are not, and Talking Books operates with a different set of copyright laws.  

After this was explained to the GAO, they have decided to remain neutral on the acquisition of new players, verses against the expenditure. Carolyn read an editorial that Dave received from The Washington Post that strongly promoted and supported Talking Books and the new recorders.

Discussion was held on how the conversion to digital books would take place and what abilities the new players will have. Dave and Annette said that 20,000 titles will be converted to digital, but some titles will never be digitized. For a while borrowers will need both the old and the new players. The new digital battery will be good for twenty hours and 90% of all books will fit on one flash memory.  The question was raised as to whether magazines would be digitized and Dave explained that the cost will be too prohibitive for this. The cost of the new players is slightly less than current players.  There are two models and the advanced model contains the ability to spell words to the person reading the book and has many sub sections. 

The regular model allows the reader to navigate from introduction to chapters, etc. In April the last current cassette player was made and 2010 is the deadline for the last books on cassette to be made. 

Ana brought up the importance of children learning Braille, not just relying on tape, computers, etc.  Sandy mentioned that her daughter is learning Braille and is a very active six year old and takes part in all of the things a girl her age enjoys.

Dave said the the NLC will be purchasing "Book Wizard Producer " software for $200 and this permits books to be digitized, marked for navigation and compressed.  Encryption for copyright must come from the Library of Congress.

There were several questions of the current policy 's wording.  Under "PURPOSE " it was decided in Section I to add the word "magazines " so that the phrase now reads   ". . .the circulation of books, equipment and magazines. . . "

Under "POLICY " the word "borrower " replaces "reader "; and the word "title " following magazine should be taken out. 

The motion was made by Ana to make changes to the loan policy and seconded by Mike S.  The vote carried.

 It was agreed that the policy will be looked at and revised as needed and that with the current changes in technology it was understood that this might have to happen every couple of years.

 Discussion was held about having borrower receptions throughout the state. Possible topics to be covered: updated technology, review of services for targeted audiences such as nursing homes, Area Agency on Aging, etc. Sandy suggested it would be a good idea to reach out to parents of visually disabled children, including optometrists and ophthalmologists would be good, too. Discussion of where to host receptions was held and various areas were suggested. This led to discussion of people 's prejudice and perceptions of the blind. After brief discussion, it was decided to target parents, teachers and students. Annette suggested that have two receptions in a day might be a good idea; the morning reception could be for borrowers and doctors while the afternoon, evening reception could be for teachers, students and parents. It was also discussed that the Public Library would be a good place to have the reception. It was suggested that picking two towns and experimenting with two receptions would be a good idea. Dave suggested that we focus on ESU 's and see what events are already in place we could work through.

The next meeting will be help either in September or October. The meeting was adjourned and interested members were given a tour of the facility.

Respectfully submitted,
Joan Davis, Secretary

For more information contact Scott Scholz, Director, Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service.
Scott Scholz

For more information, contact Scott Scholz.