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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
Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 1:00 p.m.

Agenda with Minutes

Main agenda items for the June 3, 2015 meeting include the following but may be modified at such meeting:
  • Present: Patricia Candy, Eloise Hiatt, Susan Ledder, and Dan Nieman. Participating by phone: Shasta Coverdell, Kristal Platt, Shirley Weihing, and John Wick. Also present were staff members Annette Hall and David Oertli.
  • Welcome; Introductions. Please take a minute or so to tell us about yourselves and what brought you to this committee.
  • Election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson. Patricia Candy was elected chairperson; Eloise Hiatt was elected vice chairperson.
  • Minutes of the last meeting. It was moved and seconded that the minutes be approved. The motion carried.
  • Staff recently attended the Western Conference of Librarians Serving Individuals Who Are Blind and Physically Disabled. We will present the broad national trends; then let’s discuss how these trends are likely to impact service in Nebraska.
    Highlights from Western Conference: Welcome by the California State Librarian and a keynote address by John Armato of the national PR firm Fleishman-Hillard.
    The BARD app for Android is about to be released, pending the fix of one more bug. The National Audio Equipment Advisory Group is changing its name to indicate its broader focus. It is now the Reading Technology Advisory Group and will offer its advice on all technology provided by NLS, including online and app resources.
    Predicting future developments for the NLS program is virtually impossible. Ten years ago there was scarcely a hint of BARD or a BARD app. Today 37% of the books on BARD do not come to network libraries as hard copies. NLS has looked at providing a low-cost refreshable Braille display and has found that the technology is not yet there for this.
    Newsline is now in its 20th year and has 108,000 subscribers. Every 1.8 seconds, someone calls in. Newsline offers over 400 publications; 350 of these being newspapers. Nebraska papers include Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, and Norfolk.
    NLS has been able to use the audio files for commercial audio books but does not have enough staff to determine if the books contain exclusionary elements such as sex, violence, or strong language, which means these books are considered non-rated. Some borrowers find these elements objectionable, which might mean that they would not be sent non-rated books.
  • Our Loan Policy was last revised at the beginning of the transition from cassettes to digital cartridges. We would like you to consider the proposed updates to our Loan Policy for approval.Patricia Candy, Susan Ledder, John Wick, Shasta Coverdell, and Shirley Weihing voted to approve the proposed revisions. Dan Nieman and Eloise Hiatt abstained.
  • The library has received 3200 peach-colored cartridges, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The color is unique in that other cartridges are white (for the national collection), or green (if purchased by the State of Nebraska). Is there a way that we could use the peach-colored cartridges in such a way that their unique color would indicate something useful for borrowers? We are also being provided with white translucent mailing containers for these cartridges, so their mailers will also have a unique appearance.
    Use for Nebraska authors, children’s materials (either fiction or nonfiction, or both), or to designate exclusionary criteria such as explicit sex or violence, for genres such as history.
  • Outreach ideas? We have been contacting retirement centers, and care facilities, including independent living and assisted living, home health care agencies, and students with disabilities college offices. Respondents received packets of applications and brochures. Outreach to school-age individuals seems to be more difficult. Do you have suggestions?
    Ideas included sending packets to public libraries, since many libraries serve nursing homes and could include information about Talking Books. Emails could first be sent to public libraries to determine their interest in this. If the Library Commission is mailing materials to a Nebraska library, a description of a packet could be included.
  • We would like to engage you in a mini-focus group session on the general topic of promoting our service to potential borrowers. For committee members who use our service, try to remember how you first learned about us. When someone first mentioned you might use Talking Books, what was your reaction? Also, if there was a time lag between when you qualified for service and when you signed up, try to remember what might have prompted you to delay talking book service?
    The Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Iowa Commission for the Blind were helpful in getting individuals started with Talking Books. One committee member was encouraged to sign up when she went to the Handicap Office on 11th Street in Scottsbluff for someone else.
    Teachers are booked by the minute, so Talking Book service must make their job easier. Teachers need parent permission to ask for initial verification.
    Programs for Apple computers have built-in speech capabilities. Textbook files come from publishers. Materials in special format also come from the Nebraska Center for the Blind and the Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • Date for fall meeting; Adjournment. Aim for October 7 or 14.
Respectfully submitted, Annette Hall and David Oertli

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

For more information, contact Scott Scholz.