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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, November 14, 2008, 9:00 a.m.
DRAFT Minutes subject to change at the next meeting

The Advisory Committee to the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service held its regular meeting Tuesday, November 14, 2008, 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: Joan Davis, Bob Deaton, Brenda Elson, Marjorie Harrison, Annette Hall, Sheila Jacobson Dave Oertli, Shirley Schmidt, Scott Schultz, and Mary Trenerry

The meeting was opened by Mary Trenerry, who is serving as chairperson.

Annette Hall showed the Board the card that was put in every person 's packet who attended the fall convention for media specialists (NIMH). In addition, over seven hundred cards were sent to media specialists in both public and private K-12 schools. The card lets people know that digital talking books are now available and that over 11,000 titles are offered online with more books frequently being added. Once again it was addressed that it is important that, in this case schools, understand that talking books are for a wide variety of disabilities, not just people with visual impairment. Likewise, it is important that people understand that talking books are for a wide age range of audiences. Toward this end, Annette shared a colorful flyer that was given at the NIMH convention which educates teachers/media specialists about what is available for school age children through Talking Books. The flyer highlighted the Golden Sower winner and the nominees; various children 's/teenage magazines; reference books, etc. It might also interest schools that most of the books on the Accelerated Reader program are also available on talking books. Annette also shared a poster she put together for the conventions. She passed around a notebook that was on display at the convention to give people an idea of the wide variety of books and magazines available.

Mary and Joan said they would each send e-mails to middle school teachers in their individual districts and see what books are most popular in the AR program and inform the teachers of the availability of the books on tape.

Dave said he has had some people express their interest in the Victor, but Dave and Scott both mentioned the frustration trying to explain to people that they have to buy their own. It further complicates things to explain that individual patrons can sign up and multiple users can share one machine, but an institution that buys one can not sign it out to multiple users. It was discussed whether it is too early to contact schools about doing an in-service on the Victor?

Dave went on to explain that 12.5 million dollars has been allocated over the next six years to continue with additional funds to produce digital players and by then it is hopeful a complete transition from the current player will be complete. The Library of Congress is hoping for the transition can be complete in the next three years.

Outreach was once again discussed, as the group agreed that this is an important part of our mission. Joan said she had spoken to a Rotary Club about Talking Books. Dave also read a note from Nancy about the NIMH convention and said the break out session on Talking Books was very well attended in the a.m., but there were many conflicting workshops in the p.m. She also said Annette did a great job on organizing and presenting the material.

Brenda, Scott and Dave presented information about Talking Books to the Learning Disability Association. Between 70-80 people attended and Scott said that he felt the display that was set up had quite a few people stopping and asking questions. They felt it was a good opportunity to get word out on the new technology. Dave expressed his frustration that people are sometimes confused about who qualifies for the service. He mentioned a woman came by and she was convinced that Talking Books services are for blind people only. She said she had heard this from other people.

Annette said that there have been some new volunteers and that some are very adept with technology. She said that they have used the new volunteers in the Reviewer Work Station to check for accuracy and background sounds-the volunteers drop markers where mistakes occur. Scott said that since the studio has gone digital is it easier to recruit producers. There are also volunteers who are not as technology orientated, but they have been very much appreciated. It was then asked if there seems to be more of a trend in volunteerism and are there different ways to use volunteers than traditional ways?

Sheila mentioned that the Lincoln Public Library has a wide array of ages in their volunteers. They have over 1000 volunteers who have jointly logged 20,000 hours. She said the youngest are middle school aged and they help with the summer reading program. Seniors in the Lincoln Public Schools are required to have 20 hours of volunteer hours, so the library has many high school students who do a range of activities and are very helpful with day to day tasks. The elderly also make up a proportion of the group of volunteers at the library. Sheila also brought up though, that it is sometimes difficult to find staff to supervise the volunteers. Shirley and Margie talked about how volunteers are used in Columbus and Scottsbluff. When Annette asked what kind of recognition volunteers are give, Shirley said she thinks offering lunch is as good a motivator as any. Sheila said that it is essential to recognize the volunteers. She said that one of their recognitions that is successful is at the end of the summer, the library has a shelving party and staff and volunteers are fed.

Sheila said that the Teen Advisory Board did a video about volunteering that was a big hit. She also mentioned that a new library by a middle school was having problems with students after school. The library was pro-active and put their high school volunteers there to supervise. The library also invested in popular games such as Guitar Hero, a Wii, etc. and they have had very few problems.

The topic of digital players came up again. Scott said it will probably be several years before all patrons can have digital plays, but it is not too early to think of places to advertise and ways to advertise. Bob mentioned that there is some concern about people using the new digital players-especially among the elderly. He mentioned that some type of training needs to be in order. Dave said there is a program in place to help people, and it will be so much easier to use than the old recorders, he doesn 't anticipate the problems will be as great as one might think. Dave also mentioned that much time is being spent trying to fix cassette players and there are not federal funds available anymore for cassettes. Dave also said that he wonders if the word 'digital ' puts some people off and that maybe it needs to be substituted with the word 'simpler '. Shirley said that she has heard more that people are anxious to get the new digital recorders and she hasn 't heard any one express concern about manipulating the machine. Scott said that he anticipates the earliest Nebraska will receive any of the new recorders will be May of 2009. Nebraska will receive 500 of them, with 40-50 of them arriving each month and veterans will have the first option to use them. After veterans, students will be given the option, then borrowers in good standing.

A support network was once again mentioned for people who purchase a VICTOR. Scott mentioned that up to 30 books at a time can be downloaded on the cartridge and it will depend on how much traffic the website can handle as to how quickly a book can be downloaded. He said a one thousand page book will take between two to ten minutes.

Dave mentioned the DVS movies are available and the library has over 700 of them. The movies are quite well done with dialog that describes the action. A friend of Dave 's has asked that the policy that is in place regarding borrowing movies be reviewed. Currently a person has to b an active borrower from the library in order to borrow a movie. Dave said there are several companies that make movies for the visually impaired including WGBH out of Boston; Oklahoma Narrative Network; Turner Network; and a company in Canada. Descriptive video is meeting with much success.

Good byes were said to Bob Deaton, who has been a valued member of the Board. The meeting was adjourned and Dave will look at dates for our next meeting in the spring.

Respectfully Submitted,

Joan Davis

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

For more information, contact Scott Scholz.