Indiana Insights

Maggie Ansty, Editor
317-232-3684 or 1-800-622-4970

Volume XXXVI No. 2
Spring 2013

NLS Seeks Your Feedback for National Survey

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) is conducting a survey to understand how to better serve the needs of readers of talking books and Braille. Take the survey now to let your opinions be heard and help us better serve you! To take the survey online, go to Or, you can call 1-866-545-1618 to schedule a time to take the survey over the phone. You do not have to be a current NLS reader to take the survey.

The 25 minute survey is designed to learn more about your experiences with talking books and Braille, what types of materials and services you are looking for, and what NLS can do to get you interested in the free talking book and Braille program. If you aren’t currently using NLS, let us know what services you want and how we can add you to our list of NLS readers. If you are a current NLS reader, let us know what we are doing well, where we can improve, and what new services you would like NLS to offer. Your answers to the survey questions will be kept confidential. Take the survey now to help NLS better serve all readers who use talking books and Braille!

You will be able to participate in this survey until May 10th.

Progress of NLS Mobile Applications

As many of you may know, NLS is currently in the process of developing applications that will enable you to download and listen to BARD books on the go.  Two versions of this application are being developed; one for Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod, iPad) and one for Google Android devices.  The apps will have the ability to play NLS BARD books, either by downloading them directly with the app or by transferring them from your computer.  They will also be able to communicate with Bluetooth-connected refreshable Braille displays for reading NLS Braille files.

The iOS application is currently in the preliminary, internal stages of the testing process.  Beta testing of the app will be occurring within the next couple of weeks.  NLS hopes to have the iOS app available through the iTunes store sometime in late spring or early summer.  Development of the Android app is several months behind the development of the iOS app and will hopefully be available on the Android market in late summer.  Both applications will be available free of charge.

Judy Dixon, a consumer relations officer for NLS, has been testing the preliminary version of the app and recently gave a firsthand look at it.  The 26-minute podcast of that demonstration can be listened to online at

Indiana Slated Next for Digital Magazine Conversion

Indiana has finally received word from NLS that we are next on their list for the digital magazine conversion, they should start going out in early April.  There are just a few things to keep in mind when you receive your first digital magazine.  First, and most importantly, these magazines must be returned.  Failure to do so may jeopardize your standing in the magazine program.  Secondly, all of your magazines will be contained on a single cartridge.  To access of the magazines on the cartridge, you will need to know how to use the Bookshelf feature of your player.  Lastly, NLS will be sending your magazines on both cartridge and cassette for the first few months as people adjust to the new program.  You do not need to worry about canceling your cassette subscriptions; they will be stopping on their own.

New Releases from Indiana Voices

New releases from the Indiana Voices program recently include several very interesting works of non-fiction both about Indiana and notable Hoosiers as well as books by Indiana authors.  Indiana Voices materials are narrated and proofread by a great group of volunteers; the books are available to borrow on digital cartridge.  To request these, or any other book recorded by Indiana Voices, please call the library.

IDB00068 The Governors of Indiana: A biographical directory Edited by Linda Gugin and James St. Clair. 
The Governors of Indiana includes detailed biographies of the fifty men who have served as the Hoosier State’s chief executive.  The essays included in this book feature information on each governor’s life, with special emphasis on events and accomplishments during their time in office.

IDB00069 Zimbabwe Bound: A woman’s journey through Africa by Larita Killian
Zimbabwe Bound is the story of Anna Mackenzie, who was born to an orphan train child in Indiana and grew up on an Indiana farm.  Following a seven-year correspondence with a South African rancher, Mackenzie pursued her love to Africa.  Anna and her husband battle leopards, wild baboons, and pestilence, all while negotiating relations with the local people. Letters from Anna, missionaries, and other contemporaries help readers experience this historic period through the life of a courageous woman.

IDB00073 Cole Porter by William McBrien
In his life and in his music, Cole Porter was "the top"—the pinnacle of wit, sophistication, and success. His songs—"I Get a Kick Out of You," "Anything Goes," and hundreds more—were instant pop hits, and their musical and emotional depths have made them lasting standards.

William McBrien has captured the creator of these songs, whose life was not merely one of wealth and privilege. A prodigal young man, Porter found his emotional anchor in a long, loving, if sexless marriage, a relationship he repeatedly risked with a string of affairs with men. His last eighteen years were marked by physical agony but also unstinting artistic achievement, including the great Hollywood musicals High SocietySilk Stockings, and Kiss Me Kate.  Here, at last is a look at the life that informs the great music and lyrics through illuminating glimpses of the hidden, complicated, private man.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I returned all of my books, why haven’t you sent me new ones?

A: Most patrons are set up to receive books on what we call “auto select”.  This means that that as we receive a book back in the mail, the computer selects a new book to send out the following day.  If you are returning all of your books at one time, you must make allowances for the time the materials are spending in the mail on their way back to the library, the time it takes us to check in returned items, and the time it then takes for new books to make it back to you through the mail.
As many people may have noticed, we have experienced some major slowdowns in our mail service as of late.  We have been in contact with the post office about this issue, but unfortunately it does not sound as if there is anything they can do about this problem.  If we need to make adjustments to the number of books you are receiving at once to accommodate for books being in the mail a few days longer, please let us know.

Q: My machine isn’t staying charged for as long as it used to, what is wrong with it?

A: Over time, as the battery ages, it will begin to hold fewer hours when fully charged.  This is expected.  If however, after charging for several hours the time remaining on the battery will not charge past 12 hours, please let us know so we can replace it.  If possible, please indicate that the machine has a battery problem when returning so that we know what needs to be fixed.

Other things to keep in mind in order to preserve your players’ battery life include not letting the battery run all the way down.  Batteries that become severely depleted are more likely not to hold a charge.  Whenever possible, it is best to leave the player plugged into an electrical outlet.  Also, listening to books on a USB drive can be more of a strain on the battery than books on cartridges.  NLS estimates that up to 10 hours of additional battery life can be lost while listening to books on a USB drive.  Finally, keep in mind that the announced battery life of the player is only an estimate.

Q: The book I want to read isn’t in the catalog I received in the mail, does that mean you don’t have it?

A: No, this does not mean that we don’t have the book you are looking for.  Talking Book Topics, which is published bi-monthly by NLS, contains a selection of the most recent books being recorded; it is not an exhaustive list.  We do not have a publication available containing all available books.  The most complete catalog of available material you can access is the NLS union catalog, which can be found online at  Also, if you have a specific title you are interested in, you can always call the library and speak to your reader advisor.
Watch for Talking Book Topics to begin arriving on digital cartridge with the ongoing digital magazine conversion.  Talking Book Topics is available in audio, large print, and Braille; if you would like to make changes to the way you receive Talking Book Topics, please call the library.

Q: Now that my magazines are arriving on digital cartridges I don’t need my cassette player.  What am I supposed to do with it?

A: Now that the digital magazine conversion has reached Indiana, many of you may not have any further use for your old cassette players.  Even though they are old, these cassette players must be returned to the library.  If you no longer have the box the machine came in, you can put the player in any box you might have around; simply write the library’s address on the box and, in place of postage, write “free matter for the blind” on it.  Drop it off at the post office or with your mail carrier and it should find its way back here.  If possible, please also include a note with the player so we know not to send a replacement.

Soak Up the Rays of Knowledge with Summer Reading!

This summer we will once again be hosting a summer reading program for patrons from the ages of 5-18.  This year’s themes are “Dig Into Reading” for the children’s program and “Beneath the Surface” for our teens. Reading lists for Braille, large print, and digital materials will be provided, but any book checked out to your account during the summer will count towards your overall total.  In addition to the prizes given out at the end of the summer, we will also be offering small prizes on a weekly basis throughout the program.  We have received a wide variety of new and exciting children’s and young adult titles this year and we can’t wait to share them with you!  Eligible readers will receive application information in coming weeks.

Spring Book Recommendations

DB074890 The Age of Miracles: a Novel by Karen Thompson Walker
On an ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year old Julia and her family discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow.  The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray.  Yet Julia is also coping with everyday life: trouble with her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, and the bizarre behavior of her grandfather.  Some strong language. 2012.

DB075265 Gold by Chris Cleeve
Kate and Zoe are Olympic speed cyclists, best friends, and fierce rivals. Both women train under the same coach for the 2012 games--their last--but Kate's eight-year-old daughter Sophie is gravely ill and International Olympic Committee rule changes force the pals to compete for the same slot.  Strong language. 2012.

DB075509 Fobbit by David Abrams
In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph.  Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Port-a-Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing X-Box and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more interested in getting to the chow hall in time for the all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about military strategy.  Violence and strong language. 2012.

DB075511 San Miguel by T.C. Boyle
Historical novel from the author of The Women (DB 68578) focuses on two families whose lives on San Miguel Island off the California coast are ones of hardship and sometimes hope.  Marantha Waters arrives in 1888 seeking relief from tuberculosis.  Joined by her husband, a stubborn, driven Civil War veteran who will take over the sheep ranch on the island, Marantha tries to persevere in the of face of the hardships of living in such brutal isolation.  In the 1930s, the newlywed Lesters, librarian Elise and World War I veteran Herbie, settle there.  As the years go on they find a measure of fulfillment and security, but will the peace and beauty of the island see them through the impending war as it had seen them through the Depression?  Bestseller.  2012.

DB075641 The Round House by Louise Erdrich.
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked.  The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to reveal what happened, either to the police or her husband, Basil, and 13-year old son, Joe.  While his father, a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated and sets out to get some answers on his own.  Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex.  National Book Award. Bestseller. 2012.

Save the Date for Vision Expo
It’s still several months away, but mark your calendars for the 8th Annual Indiana Vision Expo.  This year’s Expo will be held on Saturday, September 28th from 10am to 3pm, and will once again be held in conjunction with Indianapolis VisionWalk sponsored by the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  The Expo will feature a particular focus on art, including an art fair, an art-related presentation, and hands-on experiences.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Calendar
Saturday             May 25, 2013                        Library Closed
Monday               May 27, 2013                        Library Closed
Thursday            July 4, 2013                           Library Closed
Saturday             August 31,2013                     Library Closed
Monday               September 2, 2013               Library Closed
Saturday             September 28, 2013             Vision Expo
Monday               October 14, 2013                  Library Closed
Monday               November 11, 2013              Library Closed
Thursday            November 28, 2013              Library Closed
Friday                  November 29, 2013              Library Closed
Saturday             November 30, 2013              Library Closed
Tuesday              December 24, 2013              Library Closed
Wednesday        December 25, 2013              Library Closed

Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Hours
Monday – Friday    8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday    8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Indiana Insights is a publication of the Talking Book and Braille Library, Indiana State Library.   Indiana Insights is also available online, in Braille, or on a digital cartridge upon request.  Any mention of products and services in the Indiana Insights is for information only and does not imply endorsement.  This project is funded in part with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which administers the Library Services Technology act.

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