Talking Book Newsletter
Volume 3, no.1
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 Jennifer Lewis, the team lead for the Accessibility and Collections Team which includes the Talking Book Service.
COVID-19 in Arlington County: Library and County Service Updates
While the vaccine is becoming increasingly available, it is still hard to locate important information. Locally, the vaccine is available through Arlington County Public Health and through participating CVS pharmacies.
Arlington County COVID-19 Information: arlingtonva.us/covid-19/vaccination-faqs
Per the Commonwealth of Virginia, the following groups are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Residents in long-term care facilities
- Residents 65 and older
- Childcare employees
- PreK-12 school employees
- Healthcare workers
- Homeless shelter residents and workers
- Police, Fire and Hazmat workers
- Corrections facilities workers
- NEXT UP:
- Residents 18-64 with a medical condition/disability
Preregister for the Vaccine:
The Commonwealth of Virginia recently shifted to a statewide preregistration system. Once you are preregistered, and there is vaccine availability, you will be invited to book an appointment. If you have already preregistered for the vaccine with Arlington County, your information will automatically be entered into the statewide system; you do not need to do anything. If you have not already preregistered, you will need to do so through the State’s new link.
Statewide Preregistration: vax.preregister.virginia.gov/#
Arlington County COVID Hotline: 703-228-7999
Select CVS Pharmacies are receiving vaccines directly from the federal government. They are following the same eligibility guidelines. Appointments are limited and, due to the limited supply, slots fill up very quickly.
Free Low Vision Face Masks Available
FREE LOW VISION FACE MASKS STILL AVAILABLE (while supplies last). The cloth face masks feature a symbol indicating the wearer has low vision. The symbol, designed by the Checkered Eye Project, can help reduce confusion and frustration for people with vision impairments and those they interact with, especially during the pandemic, by communicating that the wearer has low vision. Face masks are available to residents of Northern Virginia; Washington, DC; Montgomery County, MD; and Prince George's County, MD. To request a free face mask, call the Prevention of Blindness Low Vision Learning Center at (301) 951-4444.
March 10: Virtual Resource Showcase for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Join us online on March 10 from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. for a showcase of resources in Virginia for the blind and vision impaired. We are partnering with other Virginia Talking Book libraries and specialists to share information on life skills, accessible technology and library resources.
Beyond Books – Library Card Perks
Did you know that as an Arlington Talking Books patron you are also eligible for a free library card from Arlington Public Library? You can register to attend online library programming such as author talks, join a book club, or have Lunch with a Librarian to hear all the latest book buzz. Other online offerings include learning about timely health and well-being topics from one our community partners like Virginia Hospital Center, for example. And remember, that with a library card you have also have access to Libby by Overdrive, a downloadable app that allows you borrow e-books and e-audio books from the Library’s e-collection.
If you would like to register for a library card, please contact the Talking Books staff either by phoning 703-228-6333 or via email at TalkingBooks@arlingtonva.us. Once you are registered and have agreed to the Statement of Responsibility, staff will activate your account and mail the permanent card to your home address. Library cards are valid for two years from the date of issue.
Statement of Responsibility
By registering with this form, I accept responsibility for all materials charged to this card with or without my consent. I am 14 years or older or am an adult applying on behalf of a child and accept all responsibility and agree to observe all library rules, promptly pay all charges, and notify the library of any changes to this information.
I understand that all library materials, including books, audiovisual items, electronic databases, and the Internet (World Wide Web) are available to all library users. I understand that I am responsible for my child's use of all library materials, including the Internet.
ROMEO: Talking Book Machine Repair Group Volunteers
You may not be aware of the fantastic group of volunteers in Salem, Virginia who repair Talking Book Machines for Virginia libraries.
Earlier this year, Pete Brandt, who leads the repair group, shared the group’s history with us and we’re excited to share it with you. The expertise, time and dedication of these volunteers is very much appreciated by us and all of the Virginia Talking Book libraries’ staff.
In 1997, NLS worked with a group of retirees from the Salem, Virginia General Electric plant to create the Talking Book Machine Repair group in a warehouse leased by the GE plant. The group has grown from just a few volunteers to 16 since then and provided 23 years of continuous repair service. They usually repair 1200 machines each year and enjoy the work and fellowship with each other.
Over the years they have trained 41 GE retirees and currently have 16 active volunteers. Their ages range from 65-83. Volunteers join the group for fellowship and the satisfaction of providing help for the blind and print disabled. In past years, fellowship was provided by working together once or twice a week at a site provided by GE and by all attending a weekly ROMEO lunch at various restaurants around the valley. ROMEO = Retired Old Men Eating Out.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the group had to stop their repair work in the GE plant until COVID-19 training and safety procedures were established to allow for their safe return. 10 of the 16 volunteers have been able to return to their repair work. Rather than all working together, they must stagger their shifts to allow for social distancing. And, sadly, their ROMEO lunches are on hold for now.
Despite all these challenges, they were able to get back to their repair work and shipped out their first box of refurbished machines on June 23, 2020.
A BIG THANK YOU to all involved to keep this important work going! Thank you to Pete Brandt, Dennis Brown, Les Brown, Mike D’Antonio, Dave Hudspeth, Tom Hochkeppel, Al Marraccini, Ron Nemura, Johnny Ramirez, Dave Rowan and Ted Urban.
55+ Programs & Services in the County
Medicare Counseling with VICAP:
The Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) provides free, personalized guidance to Medicare beneficiaries and their families. Visit the County website at: aging-disability.arlingtonva.us/programs/vicap
Free Tax Preparation Assistance:
This year, public tax preparation assistance looks very different from years past, but there is free help available to those in need.
Community Tax Aid (CTA) will offer drop-off appointments at Falls Church Episcopal in Falls Church to individuals and families making $55,000 or less. Appointments are required.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers are providing volunteer-prepared and self-prep support. Appointments are required.
Arlington 55+ Senior Center Programs:
While the Senior Center does charge a membership fee to participate in 55+ programs, the fee is nominal and a great value. The 55+ program offers virtual and outdoor programs, performances, educational programs, lectures, art and so much more.
Arlington 55+: parks.arlingtonva.us/seniors-activities
Call: 703-228-4747 (option 3)
Aging Matters is a local radio and TV interview program featuring topics and community experts discussing topics affecting older adults. Producer and Host Cheryl Beversdorf is a long-time Arlington resident and aging champion. Listen live on WERA-LP 96.7 FM or tune in online: www.agingmattersonline.com
Senior Planet, headquartered in Montgomery County, MD, is a clearing house of activities and information to support older (60+) adult wellness. They offer free live online fitness and educational programs and offer tech support services as well. Membership is optional and programs are free to join.
Senior Planet Events: seniorplanet.org/get-involved/online
“Your Eyes and Low Vision" Resource Guide Now Available
The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington's resource guide for individuals with low vision and their loved ones is now available.
"Your Eyes and Low Vision" is available in a large-print book format AND on POB’s accessible website at https://www.youreyes.org/resources/#low-vision-resource-guide .
To receive a free large-print resource guide by mail, call the POB Low Vision Learning Center at 301-951-4444, or send an email to email@example.com .
National Library Service’s 90th Anniversary
This year, NLS celebrates its 90th anniversary. They will highlight their history and services through programming that will include online events, recognitions, and digital content, that will be shared on their website, https://www.loc.gov/nls/ , and their social media.
On March 3, they will present a very special virtual concert featuring jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker to mark the day the NLS’ founding legislation was signed by President Hoover. The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on the Library of Congress’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/libraryofcongress).
NLS Internship Opportunity
The National Library service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), supported by the National Library for the Blind Endowment, has launched a paid internship that offers legally blind individuals the opportunity to gain work career experience and explore career options working in the areas of collections building, program delivery, and business oversight and management. Application details can be found at www.loc.gov/nls/about/internship-program. The deadline for the summer 2021 session is March 1. All interns will work remotely.
- All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny: DB 100484
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: DB 100901
- Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam: DB 101085
- Ms. Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce: DB 101436
- The Return by Nicholas Sparks: DB 100846
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama: DB 100966
- Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.: DB 100947
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey: DB 101312
- Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten: DB 101418
- No Time Like the Future by Michael J. Fox: DB 101333
New Books available through Talking Books Topics, January – February 2021:
Virtual Arlington Public Library Programs
Arlington 55+ Book Group: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Date: March 5, 2021
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m
This is a volunteer-run group. The library will not distribute login information to the group on Zoom, the volunteer who leads the group will email a link to the Zoom meeting.
For the Zoom meeting information, register for the group's email list. Registrants will be sent the Zoom meeting information by email one day before the meeting.
Encore Learning Presents: One Woman’s Journey to Scientific Discovery and Breaking Glass Ceilings
Date: March 8, 2021
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Myriam Sarachik was recognized in 2020 for her work in experimental physics and awarded the Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research by the American Physical Society. During her career she discovered important, unexpected physical processes in metallic alloys, semiconductors and molecular magnets that opened entire new fields of investigation. There is more to the story than her scientific achievements. The arc of Myriam’s life in her own words is best described as “One Hell of a Ride.”
Strange Lands Sci-Fi Book Club: Famous Men Who Never Lived by K. Chess
Date: March 10, 2021
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Digital Security: Protect Yourself Online:
Date: March 17, 2021
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7420243
Keeping your personal information safe while online is challenging. Learn about some of the common threats and how to guard against them.
Rebecca Traister in Conversation with Library Director Diane Kresh:
An Arlington Reads Signature Author Event
Date: March 18, 2021
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7331616
Healthy Aging Webinar: Time for Spring Cleaning? Start with Home Safety & Repairs
Date: March 26, 2021
Time: 11:00 - 12:00pm
Biography Best Bets
Date: April 8, 2021
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 PM
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7562509
Get the inside scoop on the latest biographies of famous celebrities, politicians, entertainers, historical figures and more. Arlington Public Library’s expert librarians Brittany Ham, Library Associate, and Jennifer Rothschild, Collection Engagement Librarian, will share their recommendations. They’ll also provide tips on how to get these books in various formats using the Library’s resources.
Books on Tap: "The Best We Could Do" by Thi Bui
Date: April 19, 2021
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7497314
You Don't Have to Choose Between Book Club and Happy Hour!
Relax and chat about the latest great books. Meets on Zoom until further notice the third Monday of each month (meets on an alternate Monday in the event of a holiday).
Laila Lalami in Conversation with Library Director Diane Kresh
An Arlington Reads Signature Author Event
Date: April 22, 2021
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7331623
Lunch with a Librarian
Date: May 6, 2021
Time: 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Registration required: https://arlingtonva.libcal.com/event/7274333
Drop in every other week for a 30 minute book buzz from your favorite librarians! Bring your favorite caffeinated pick me up, hear about our most loved reads, tell us your favorite book pun and let us suggest books for you.
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.