Braille Book Review

March-April 2003

In Brief

"Voyager" to enhance catalog searching

NLS bibliographic records will move to a new catalog system in late February or early March 2003. The new catalog is part of the Voyager Integrated Library System, which has been in use elsewhere in the Library of Congress since 1999.

Voyager will be updated nightly instead of weekly and will offer improved features for searching and displaying records, including a more flexible keyword search capability and the capacity to browse author and subject heading lists. Individuals using adaptive computer devices will be able to access a text-only version of the catalog.

A link to the new catalog will appear on the NLS home page when it becomes available.

New handbook offers guidance to law enforcement personnel

Crime victims with disabilities are the focus of a new handbook from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP). First Response to Victims of Crime Who Have a Disability offers specific guidance and tips on working with crime victims who have Alzheimer's disease, mental illness or developmental disabilities, or are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. An estimated 17 percent of the U.S. population has one of these disabilities. The handbook describes the characteristics of various disabilities and ways that law enforcement officers can be responsive to these victims' needs without compromising an investigation.

First Response provides general guidance applicable to all crime victims with disabilities; covers the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, both of which require that handicapped crime victims have an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from law enforcement programs and services; and features a directory of organizations that can provide more information about disabilities.

First Response to Victims of Crime Who Have a Disability is accessible on the OJP web site along with information about other OVC publications, programs, and conferences. For further information contact the OVC Resource Center at 800-627-6872.


The toll-free number for the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) printed in Braille Book Review, January-February 2003, was incorrect. The correct number is 800-669-7079. NLS apologizes for the error. The item is reprinted below.

NLS works with BVA to support blinded veterans

The federal legislation that enables the Library of Congress to provide free library service to blind and physically handicapped individuals (Public Law 89-522, July 30, 1966) specifies that preference shall at all times be given to blind and physically handicapped persons who have been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States. The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) represents a significant segment of the NLS user community, and BVA representatives often serve on NLS advisory committees.

BVA is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization exclusively dedicated to serving our nation's blinded veterans. BVA supports rehabilitation initiatives and has its own national, full-time field service representative program. Field service offices throughout the country provide advice, information, and aid to blinded veterans and their families. BVA field reps, all of whom are blinded veterans themselves, counsel blind veterans in their respective regions. The reps link veterans with service, rehabilitation, training, and other benefits. In addition, BVA helps veterans who receive counseling to find jobs within the community.

The BVA traces its roots back to 1945, when a group of veterans who lost their sight during World War II met at an army hospital in Connecticut and founded the association. BVA has been instrumental in spearheading and helping to sustain programs and services meant to give aid to blinded veterans ever since. BVA supports Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Comprehensive Blind Rehabilitation Services, which helps veterans learn how to live without sight, from the basics--such as crossing the street safely--to the more complex issues of coming to terms with their condition and leading fulfilling and productive lives.

There is no charge for any BVA service and all legally blind veterans are eligible for assistance regardless of whether they lost their vision during service or afterward. BVA works closely with the Congress of the United States and the VA to accomplish its vital mission.

Some of the above was adapted from the Blinded Veterans Association web site>. For more information, visit the web site or call toll free 1-800-669-7079.


The following announcements may be of interest to readers. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped reserves the right to publish announcements selectively, as space permits. Items mentioned, however, are not part of the NLS program, and their listing does not imply endorsement. Braille Bug encourages literacy. The Braille Bug, sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind, is an interactive web site created to teach sighted children about braille and to encourage literacy among all children, disabled and nondisabled alike, in grades three through six. The Braille Bug combines full accessibility with sophisticated functionality and a playful environment that features colorful animated graphics, including the Braille Bug itself, a ladybug with the six dots of a braille cell on its back, that helps kids understand the "secret code" of braille and invites them to participate in a variety of fun and educational online games and activities. The Reading Club, a new channel of the Braille Bug site, features books that sighted and visually impaired children around the country can discuss on fully accessible, kid-friendly, supervised message boards. The Braille Trail: An Activity Guide and its companion Parent/Teacher Guide, also on the site, introduce braille to students, parents, and teachers. These guides, designed by AFB's National Literacy Center, feature games, activities, and a wealth of information on braille, assistive technology used by braille readers, and biographies of Helen Keller and Louis Braille.

Knitters' Internet group shares information. VIP-SHEEP-TALK is an Internet group for blind and visually impaired individuals who enjoy yarn-related crafts, typically--but not limited to--knitting and crocheting. The group use the list to share and learn patterns, exchange information on yarns and supplies, find help with difficult patterns or stitches, and make new friends. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to For more information, contact the list's moderator, Eileen Fleming by e-mail at

The following additional information is reprinted from Talking Book Topics, March-April 2003.

New magazine

NLS has chosen a new magazine, Flower and Garden, to replace New Choices, which discontinued publication in May 2002. Flower and Garden is published six times a year and will be available in the near future. Patrons who would like to subscribe should contact their cooperating talking-book library.

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