Talking Book Newsletter
Volume 2, no.3
Listen to the audio version of the newsletter with the embedded player below, and read the transcript, which includes additional resources.
Meet the Staff
This month the newsletter is read by Bridgette Wisdom from the Accessibility and Collections Team which includes the Talking Book Service.
I have been at Central Library since November 2017. Outside of work you will find me enjoying one of Arlington’s many trails or kayaking with my husband. I enjoy reading biographies and literary fiction.
COVID-19 in Arlington County: Library Service Updates.
Arlington Central Library is currently open for holds only pickup; all other locations are closed until further notice. Here is how that impacts our Talking Books service:
- Richmond’s Talking Books department continues to prepare orders for us. Please email or call us at 703-228-6333 to place requests but please be aware that there may be significant delays in getting your cartridges due to a backlog of requests and mailing delays.
- If you use BARD to download books and magazines, https://nlsbard.loc.gov/login//NLS, your service should continue and we don’t anticipate any disruptions. Please contact us by email, firstname.lastname@example.org , if you need assistance logging into BARD or if you would like to sign up for BARD.
- Magazines on cartridge are circulating again! If you haven't already done so, remember to return your old magazing cartridges in order to start receiving the latest editions.
COVID-19 in Arlington County: Information for Residents.
- Arlington County’s COVID-19 website is a useful resource for County residents. Find information about COVID-19 testing, the local mask ordinance, accessing food and grocery assistance, emergency financial support and much more: www.arlingtonva.us/covid-19
- Arlington County Election Information: Mark your calendar! The general election is on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. There are many candidates, proposed constitutional amendments and bond questions on the ballot this year. The online election portal is very useful. You can: register to vote, check your voter registration status, find your polling place, update your address, and apply to vote absentee by mail. If you plan to vote absentee by mail, it is highly recommended you do so early. For more information:
- vote.elections.virginia.gov/Voter Information
NLS Wants Your Input for Technology Products and Initiatives!
The NLS Reading Technology Advisory Group (RTAG) needs new members! RTAG meets twice a year to provide feedback on new NLS products and initiatives. Currently, RTAG is focused on updates to BARD, the braille eReader project, and a “smart speaker” voice-controlled device. Each of these initiatives will have its own working group within RTAG. Meetings—to be attended online—will resume in fall 2020. Although RTAG members can be network library staff, hardware repair volunteers, and other subject matter experts, NLS patrons are especially encouraged to apply to join RTAG. For questions, please contact your local network library or email questions directly to NLS-RTAG@loc.gov. Applications—a statement of your background and qualifications (no more than two pages)—should be submitted to NLS-RTAG@loc.gov by Wednesday, September 30.
Blind and Low Vision Resource Group Update
The Talking Book team recently hosted presenter Paul Burden for a virtual Zoom presentation called “Making Voice Assistants Work for You.” The interactive program covered the myriad tasks or “skills” that digital voice assistants, and specifically Amazon’s Echo (Alexa), can do to make your daily life easier. From sending voice messages and setting up daily morning routines to safety features such as guarding your house or alerting close contacts in case of a fall, we learned that Alexa is capable of 115,000 skills. Did you miss the live event?
Access the recording: https://bit.ly/3hCOXcL
Reading with Libby: Accessing Library Books on Your Computer or Mobile Device
BARD has a wide variety of books to listen to with the advantage of not having to wait in line to check them out. However, you may have noticed that it takes a little while for new books to show up on BARD, or sometimes BARD doesn’t have the book you’re looking for. Luckily, if you are eligible for Talking Books service you are eligible to receive an Arlington Public Library Card, and with your library card you have access to OverDrive.
Overdrive provides a wide variety of digital books and audiobooks through their app called Libby. The library purchases a certain number of copies of these audiobooks that you can check out on the app. Talking Books staff members Brittany and Bridgette recently presented on how to download and use this app to start listening today! You can access the recording here: https://bit.ly/2CTFMFB
If you are interested in learning more about how to sign up for a library card or use Libby, you can reach out to Talking Books staff members at TalkingBooks@arlingtonva.us or (703) 228-6333.
Area Resources and Events.
While all in-person library programs have ceased, here are some helpful resources and events that are still operating in the area:
The Low Vision Learning Center Information & Resource Hotline Remains Open. Although the Prevention of Blindness Society’s DC Headquarters is closed to the public, you can still call to get answers to questions about available resources on reading, transportation, technology, and much more. The hotline is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM at (301) 951-4444.
They also host monthly Low Vision Town Halls, and recordings of these town halls can be found at https://anchor.fm/youreyesdc.
Metropolitan Washington Ear is still accepting new applications for their listener services, which includes daily readings of major newspapers and magazines and a talking books radio program. They can be reached at (301) 681-6636 or you can apply online at https://www.washear.org/
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind is offering virtual trainings for essential route planning, independent living skills training such as meal prepping, and community activities including their virtual Training Support Groups. To sign up or receive more information, please email email@example.com.
Meeting with Zoom? Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, everyone is using Zoom to meet, and there is a free audiobook available for vision challenged people to learn about and run Zoom meetings: https://mosen.org/zoom/
Foundation Fighting Blindness hosted its VISIONS 2020 national conference virtually on June 25-27, 2020. Don't worry if you weren't able to attend because you can access the recorded sessions here.
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins: DB 98146
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng: DB 89018
- Mexican Gothic by Siliva Moreno-Garcia: DB 99404 (coming soon to Talking Books)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: DB 92245
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: DB 82201
- Breath by James Nestor: DB 99870 (coming soon to Talking Books)
- Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump: DB 99251
- White Fragility by Robin J. DiAngelo: DB 91860
New Books available through Talking Books Topics, September—October 2020:
The Talking Book staff is here for you. We can help you select or download books or connect you with other information you may be looking for.