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Upstate Update: Spring 2021

The NYS Talking Book and Braille Library newsletter is delivered to your email three times a year. Upstate Update is attached as a Word document and available in HTML format on our website. If you are having trouble accessing the newsletter, please contact our library. To learn more about Upstate Update and read past newsletters, please visit our TBBL Newsletter page.

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In this Issue of Upstate Update:
Change to Certification Procedures for Individuals with Reading Disabilities
Duplication on Demand Update
BARD – Android Update and Older iOS Versions
Bookshare – Accessible eBooks
Unused Talking Book Players
Magazine Updates
Top Five Popular Authors
2021 Holiday Closings
Contact Information and Hours

Change to Certification Procedures for Individuals with Reading Disabilities

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS) has implemented changes to the application certification process, making it easier for individuals with reading disabilities to apply for Talking Book and Braille Library service.
Now, librarians, social workers, school psychologists, counselors, reading specialists, speech pathologists, and educators may certify the eligibility of applicants with reading disabilities. 

Until recently, individuals with reading disabilities were required to have a diagnosis and signature from a doctor of medicine to approve their eligibility for service. NLS has eased this requirement so a medical diagnosis is no longer necessary.

NYS Talking Book and Braille Library applications have been updated to include the following certification language from NLS:

Eligibility must be certified by one of the following: doctor of medicine, doctor of osteopathy, ophthalmologist, optometrist, psychologist, registered nurse, therapist, and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or welfare agencies (such as an educator, a social worker, case worker, counselor, rehabilitation teacher, certified reading specialist, school psychologist, superintendent, or librarian).
If you have questions about changes to certification, please do not hesitate to contact our library.

Duplication on Demand Update

In our library's Winter 2021 newsletter, TBBL staff introduced a new service called Duplication on Demand (DoD). This service model will change how you receive your audiobooks on cartridge through the mail. Library staff will create customized audio cartridges for each patron by adding multiple books to a single cartridge. As a result, patrons will receive more books on fewer cartridges. Through DoD, library staff can add books directly to cartridges, eliminating wait lists.

Since our introduction to DoD this winter, TBBL staff have been hard at work learning, training, and troubleshooting procedures so we can better support you.

We are getting closer to shifting our first group of patrons over to this new service. To begin, TBBL staff members will be calling veterans in the next few weeks to explain DoD and answer any questions.

We will also be contacting our growing list of patrons who have expressed interest in changing over to DoD. If you would like to be added to this list of early adopters, please email us attbbl@nysed.govor call us at 1-800-342-3688. If you prefer to email, please include 'Duplication on Demand' or 'DoD' in the subject line.

Throughout the next few months, library staff members will shift small groups of individuals and institutions to the new service until all patrons are participating in DoD. We will keep you updated on this exciting progress.

How to Listen to Multiple Books on a Single Cartridge

When you receive a Duplication on Demand audio cartridge in the mail, you can choose to listen to your books in sequential order or you can skip to the book you wish to read first by using your player's 'Bookshelf' mode. Both reading options are explained below.

Read Books in Sequential Order
  • Insert your digital book cartridge, then turn the player on by selecting the red circular Power button. You will hear an announcement explaining "Bookshelf". After the announcement, press Play/Stop to listen to the first book.
  • When the first book is complete, you will hear the player announce, "End of Book". Press the Play/Stop button to advance to the next book. The next book should begin.
  • Continue to press Play/Stop at the end of each book to move to the next title.
Read Books in Any Order Using "BookShelf" Mode
  • "BookShelf" mode is an option on your player that lets you skip over whole books so you can decide what to read first. To use "Bookshelf", insert your digital book cartridge, then turn the player on by selecting the red circular Power button.
  • Press the Play/Stop button for three seconds until you hear the player announce, "Bookshelf". The player will identify the number of books on the cartridge and the title of the currently selected book. Press the FF (Fast Forward) button, located to the right of the Play/Stop button, to hear each additional title on the cartridge. Press the RW (Rewind), located to the left of the Play/Stop button, to move to a previous book.
  • When you hear the entire title of a book you would like to read, press the Play/Stop button to begin listening. If the book does not play, please press Play/Stop a second time.
  • When you are ready to read another book, return to "Bookshelf" mode by pressing and holding the Play/Stop button for three seconds.
  • You may choose to play the next book on the cartridge without returning to "Bookshelf". Press Play/Stop at the end of each book to advance to the next title.

BARD – Android Update and Older iOS Versions

Android Update:
NLS has released version 1.3.1 of BARD Mobile for Android, which supports Android 7 through Android 11. This new version includes settings that allow patrons to change the visual contrast of the application.

Patrons using BARD Mobile Android can adjust their screen contrast by selecting 'Settings' then 'Contrast'. Patrons will find four different high-contrast settings in black, white, and yellow. These are in addition to the Android device's Visibility enhancements, which can be adjusted under both the general Accessibility Settings for the device and from within the BARD Mobile app Settings.

Patrons who have enabled automatic updates for BARD Mobile in the Google Play Store will get version 1.3.1 seamlessly, whileothers will need to manually update BARD Mobile Android through the Google Play Store. To find out which version of the Android app you are currently running, select Settings, then locate the Application Version.

For more information on these features and more, consult the BARD for Android user manual.

Older Versions of iOS Application:

The National Library Service (NLS) announced earlier this year that BARD can no longer support iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices running any version of iOS earlier than 11.0.

Individuals interested in purchasing a new iOS device may wish to review this listing of iOS devices that that run iOS 11, iOS 11 compatible devices.

Purchasing a new device may be a hardship for individuals, so NLS has suggested two ways to continue to enjoy downloaded books.

There may be low-cost compatible Android devices and Fire tablets (Kindle Fires) that can run BARD Mobile. If you are interested in an Android or Kindle Fire device, be sure it is running Android OS 7 or later, or that the Fire is running Fire OS 7 or later. If replacing your iOS device is not an option for you, please consider these alternatives:

  • If you have access to a computer, you can download books and transfer them to a flash drive or cartridge for use with the talking book player available from TBBL.
  • If you don't have access to a computer, you can contact our library and request that we mail you cartridges with books of your choosing that you can play on the talking book player. We can register you for Duplication on Demand and add multiple books to a single cartridge for you to enjoy.

Bookshare – Accessible eBooks

Bookshare is an online library of accessible eBooks for individuals with print disabilities. Readers can select from thousands of books, including bestsellers, fiction, nonfiction, children's books, textbooks, and help guides. Books are available in eBook format with a text-to-speech option and can be enjoyed on most computers and devices.

With support from the New York Public Library (NYPL) and the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, all New York State residents with a print disability are eligible for Bookshare - for free!

Get started with Bookshare

If you have any questions about the Bookshare registration process, please email or call our library.

Unused Talking Book Players

If you have a talking book player at home that you are not currently using, please consider returning it. Perhaps you are using BARD Mobile exclusively, or you received a replacement player, but have not returned your old one. Your unused player can be returned for free and loaned to a new patron.

Players can be returned to our library through the US mail as "Free Matter for the Blind". Please contact our library and ask for a free-shipping label. Library staff can email or mail you a pre-addressed label which can be placed on the player's original box, or any box the player will fit in. Please then place the box in your outgoing mail.

We appreciate your help in returning unused players.

Magazine Updates

The braille magazine Boys Life has changed its name to Scout Life. Subscribers to Boys Life were automatically switched over to a Scout Life subscription.

NLS has added Essence to its audio magazine lineup as a replacement option for Ebony. Ebony ceased printing in 2019. Subscribers to Ebony were automatically switched to a subscription to Essence.

Reader's Digest is available now in braille and soon as ebraille on BARD.

Please contact our library if you are interested in learning more about magazine subscriptions.

Top Five Popular Authors

TBBL patrons request thousands of books each year and although our readers' preferences vary, books by five prolific authors are consistently requested. Those top five authors are: Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, James Patterson and Amy Clipston.

If you enjoy these authors, you may also like books by the writers suggested below. Please contact TBBL staff if you are interested in borrowing books by the suggested authors, or if you would like these authors added to your reading preferences.

  • Danielle Steel – Steel's books often focus on family and romantic themes, exploring challenging interpersonal relationships. Her books include plot twists and conflict, resulting in characters navigating difficult discussions. In later books, Steel incorporates elements of suspense into her storylines.

If you enjoy books by Danielle Steel, you might also like books by:
Elizabeth Adler; Maeve Binchy; Janet Dailey; Barbara Delinsky; Eileen Goudge; Kristen Hannah; Fern Michaels; Lisa Scottoline; Sidney Sheldon; and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

  • Mary Higgins Clark – Higgins Clark is known for her mystery and suspense novels, often portraying female protagonists in dangerous situations. Higgins Clark's plot development and fast paced writing style keep readers engaged and eager to know what happens next.

If you enjoy books by Mary Higgins Clark, you might also like books by: Sandra Brown; Alafair Burke; Patricia Cornwell; Catherine Coulter; Janet Evanovich; Kay Hooper; Louise Penny; Nora Roberts; J.D. Robb; Sidney Sheldon; and Stuart Woods.

  • John Grisham – Grishamis a popular author known for his legal thriller novels. Borrowing from personal experience as a lawyer, Grisham incorporates his courtroom experience and knowledge of criminal law into his books. Leading characters often fight for justice against opponents such as big business, government, and criminal organizations.

If you enjoy books by John Grisham, you might also like books by: David Baldacci; William Bernhardt; Stephen Carter; Tom Clancy; Michael Connelly; Meg Gardiner; Robert Ludlum; Philip Margolin; Barbara Parker; Michael Ponsor; Robert Tanenbaum; and Scott Turow.

  • James Patterson – Patterson's writing crosses several different genres including suspense, mystery, science fiction, romance, and young adult. Patterson is a prolific author, having written over 200 novels, many of which are series.

If you enjoy books by James Patterson, you might also like books by: James Lee Burke; Lee Child; Raymond Chandler; Jeffery Deaver; James Ellroy; Jonathan Kellerman; Dean Koontz; Harlin Coben; Andrew Gross; Ridley Pearson.

  • Amy Clipston– Clipston is a Christian fiction writer who often focuses her novels on the Amish community. Her books are about faith and offer inspiring messages to readers.

If you enjoy books by Amy Clipston, you might also like books by: Carrie Bender; Wanda Brunstetter; Mindy Starns Clark; Dale Cramer; Suzanne Fisher Woods; Kathleen Fuller; Kristen Heitzmann; B.J. Hoff; Beverly Lewis; Samantha Price, and Shelley Shepard Gray.

2021 Holiday Closings

Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
Monday, July 5 – Independence Day Observed
Monday, September 6 – Labor Day
Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day / Indigenous Peoples' Day
Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day
Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving

NYS Talking Book and Braille Library Hours

Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Reader advisors are answering calls between 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Fax: (518) 474-7041

Talking Book and Braille Library
Cultural Education Center
222 Madison Avenue
Albany, NY 12230-0001

Last Updated: June 1, 2021