Upstate Update - Summer 2008
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In this issue:
- Return Unwanted Cassette Players
- Summer Reading Programs Promote Literacy
- Helpful Machine Hints
- Contact Info
- Simplified Service Options
- For Safe Travel Outside
In anticipation of the changeover to digital players in 2009, the National Library Service has discontinued the manufacture and distribution of the C-1 cassette players, the yellow machine you are now using. Moreover, because the distribution of the digital players will be a process that will stretch out over several years, and because many older titles will only be available on cassette until and unless they are digitally re-mastered, we anticipate that you will be using the cassette machine for some years to come. Furthermore, cassette players will still be needed for magazines until they transition to digital.
For these reasons it’s vital that we make the best use of our remaining cassette players so that we can furnish our borrowers with these players as long as possible. We are striving to provide as many working machines as we can from a dwindling stock. Even broken machines are needed as our volunteer repair groups can cannibalize them for parts if they can’t be fixed.
Individual borrowers are entitled to one cassette machine, so if you have more than one you must send one of them back to the library (it may be that we sent you a replacement machine and you never returned the defective one). Institutions of all kinds such as nursing homes, hospitals, retirement centers, schools, and colleges with unused and unwanted players should send these federally-owned machines back to us. We need them all in order to continue providing the talking book service. Thanks in advance for helping in this way.
Public libraries across the state encourage reading through New York’s Statewide Summer Reading Program. The designated themes for 2008 are "Catch the Reading Bug @ Your Library!" and "Metamorphosis @ Your Library." Research shows that children who read during the summer perform better when school resumes in the fall.
The New York State Library, which includes the Talking Book and Braille Library program (TBBL), participates in the national Collaborative Summer Library Program with 43 other member states. The themes, high-quality artwork, and fun educational activities attract kids to summer reading programs at their local libraries. If your child or teen is registered with TBBL and needs required or recreational summer reading, please contact us to request these titles on cassette or in braille format.
There are several Statewide Summer Reading Program websites for New York’s libraries, parents, educators, children and teens. Visit the New York State Library web pages for further information and links: www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/ and www.summerreadingnys.org.
- Call us at (800) 342-3688 or (518) 474-5935 if you need any help operating your cassette machine. It is designed especially for this program and has features that are unlike other players you may be familiar with. Our books are recorded on four tracks, and you must be familiar with the player’s controls to listen to the complete book. For information about operating your machine, listen to the instruction tape that came with it.
- Rewind each tape before you begin to play it to ensure that you are listening from the beginning. This will also tighten the tape and help prevent spillage.
- Follow the narrator’s instructions at the end of each side of the cassette. You will hear when to hit the “side selector switch” to listen to sides three and four, and again when you start a fresh cassette.
- After you finish listening to each tape, make sure that it is rewound to the beginning of the odd numbered side (1, 5, 9, etc.) for the convenience of the next listener.
- If the tape doesn’t move when in “play,” remove the tape and slap one of its flat sides on a solid, flat surface. Put the tape back in the machine and try again. Giving the cassette a gentle twist will loosen it up too. Also, sometimes after turning a cassette over the next side begins playing too fast; if this happens, try the remedy described here.
- Always push the “stop” button before pushing anything else, such as “rewind” and “eject.”
- Sometimes we get books back with the last tape missing, so when you finish a book make sure that you have removed the last tape from the machine and returned it to its correct mailing container before you return the book.
- Your standard C-01 cassette machine operates on a battery so remember to charge it now and then by plugging it into an electrical outlet. You can listen when the machine is unplugged and when it’s re-charging. If the machine starts to slow down while you’re listening, repeat the charging process.
- What if your machine stops working? If you follow the re-charging procedure and take good care of the machine it should give you many years of trouble-free use. But like all equipment, it will eventually need service. If your machine malfunctions just call us. Often we can fix the problem over the phone; if we can’t we’ll ask you to return the machine to the library and we’ll send you a replacement right away. If you still have the original shipping carton and packing materials please use this, or you can use the container that the replacement machine comes in. You may return the machine through the mail without charge as “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped.”
- The important thing to remember is to call us if you are experiencing any difficulties operating your machine. Please don’t attempt to repair a machine yourself as it contains no user-serviceable parts.
Have we got your current address and telephone number? Sometimes people move and the library is probably low down on the list of priorities at such a busy time. If you forgot to tell us of a change of address, you may not get your books so please contact us to update your information.
It may be useful to have alternate ways of contacting you when questions or problems arise, so if you have other telephone numbers, such as a work number or that of a mobile phone, please provide them. If you have an e-mail address you haven’t told us of that would be helpful too. Remember that the personal information you provide is treated with strict confidence and is revealed to no one.
You are currently receiving service in one of the two ways set out below, originally based on what you told us on your application form. Call us at (800) 342-3688 to tell us which service option you prefer. We will be happy make any change you want and to discuss all the requirements and service implications associated with your choice.
Option 1: Receive books based on your reading interests and chosen by our computer when your request list, which receives priority attention, is empty or nothing it contains is available.
Option 2: Receive only the specific titles that you request.
In the spring edition of this newsletter we gave you some suggestions about safety in the home. Here are some tips for getting around outside.
- Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
- Know your limitations in terms of both distance and type of location. Remember that you will have to walk back too.
- Plan your route before you start. Identify landmarks that are easy to detect and use them as reference points.
- Be very aware of your surroundings using your available senses.
- Cross streets only at crosswalks. If you are uncertain about when it’s safe to cross, don’t hesitate to ask for help. But follow your instincts and be careful if you accept help from a stranger.
- Be alert to tripping hazards outside too, such as uneven sidewalks, tree roots, and curbs.
- Wear something light-colored at night for greater visibility.
- When walking with a companion, it may be helpful to hold his or her arm above the elbow and walk half a step behind.
- For convenience and emergencies, carry a cell phone, and make sure that the battery is always charged.
Mention of a product or service in this newsletter does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs, services, and products that may be helpful to our patrons.