New Jersey volunteer Ken Phillips overcomes mobility challenges

Picture of Ken Phillips and Karen Carson
Ken Phillips and Karen Carson in the narration studio

Ken Phillips, 71, has volunteered at the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center (TBBC) in Trenton, New Jersey, since 2007, despite having peripheral neuropathy.

"Volunteering gives me a sense of usefulness," said Phillips. "I wanted to make a contribution to people who can’t read because they are blind."

Peripheral neuropathy is a disease or degeneration of the peripheral nervous system, the vast network of nerves that carry information from the brain and spinal cord to every other part of the body. For Phillips, the disorder has compromised the nerves in his feet, affecting his balance and overall strength. He uses a power chair at home and a walker to get around outside the home.

"Despite the daily challenges of living with a mobility impairment, Ken Phillips contributes his time and talents to bringing the news to people with visual impairments," said Anne McArthur, TBBC head of audiovision and outreach. "His courage is quite remarkable."

Every week Phillips arrives at TBBC to narrate newspapers for Audiovision, a radio reading service that provides programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week to visually impaired listeners. Phillips credits TBBC broadcast coordinator Karen Carson for making his volunteer experience worthwhile. "She’s very flexible and supportive," said Phillips.

Prior to his retirement, Phillips worked as a high school band director and a professional trumpet player. He played for the Trenton Symphony and the Delaware Philharmonic for nearly 46 years. Now he also volunteers for the Delaware Valley Wind Symphony and is an on-call bugler for Bugles across America, playing "Taps" at funerals for veterans.

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Iowa volunteer honored on library’s 50th anniversary

Picture of Mavis McVeety
Mavis McVeety reads a braille book at the Iowa
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Mavis McVeety, a 68-year-old patron-turned-volunteer, has been with the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (ILBPH) since its early days. Together, the library and McVeety have adapted and changed with the times.

On November 5, 2010, at the library’s 50th anniversary open house, McVeety received the ILBPH’s annual Dedicated, Enthusiastic Advocate for Reading (DEAR) award for her outstanding support of the institution.

"I began using the library’s services in 1961, when I was student at the University of Northern Iowa, to get the books for my college classes," said McVeety. Fifty years later she is still an active reader of braille and audiobooks from ILBPH and a strong proponent of digital talking books.

"I really like the new digital talking books. I think it’s just wonderful that a whole book can fit on one cartridge. You can move from chapter to chapter really easily. I think it’s much easier to use and you don’t have to worry about finding the right cassette or turning the cassette over."

ILBPH services made such an impression on McVeety that she volunteered for more than 10 years at the library. "I realized how important it was for me to have my books available in braille and I wanted to make that happen for other people," she said. She helped produce braille materials because "braille is essential and important for blind people—for them to really know about language. I use braille every single day." McVeety recently gave the ILBPH a 72-volume braille edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary that is shelved in the library’s resource center. "We have a career center here for students and people who are writing resumes, and I thought that would be a great place for it," said McVeety.

ILBPH director Randy Landgrebe said McVeety "is a wonderful ambassador for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. She’s always willing to talk about her tremendous love of reading with anyone who would benefit from the library’s services."

Of her 50 years as an ILBPH patron and volunteer McVeety said, "I’ve been able to enjoy reading the same books that my friends and family have read. It opened up a whole world of knowledge and entertainment for me. I just want the library to be able to continue at the same high level of service that we have now."

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Meetings

National Braille Association (NBA)
Fall 2011 Professional Development Conference, October 20–22, 2011. For more information about this meeting, contact NBA, 95 Allen Creek Road, Building 1, Suite 202, Rochester, NY 14618; (585) 427-8260; nbaoffice@nationalbraille.org; www.nationalbraille.org. Link out

California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI)
2012 annual conference to be held at the LAX Marriott. For more information contact CTEBVI, 741 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029-3594; (323) 666-2211 (messages only); www.ctebvi.org. Link out

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Interns at Sun City Talking News: Volunteers for the next generation

The high school interns at Sun City Talking News, an audio producer for the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library, provide a glimpse into the future—a preview of how the next generation of volunteers will handle the art and craft of audiobook narration and production. In the fall of 2010 Sun City began an internship program with Arizona’s Peoria Unified School District. As of March 2011, there were four interns: Shannon Berthiaum, 18; Stella Fleming, 18; Kevin Ray, 18; and Tabitha Topham, 17.

"It was a pilot project for our part," said John Schumacher, audio director for Sun City. "We were the first organization the school district considered for its internship program that was a volunteer situation. All the other positions were paid. I think that it’s important that young people develop a habit of giving back to their community."

Schumacher and Sun City narrator Joe McCord came up with textbooks on voice and diction for the interns to use. "When they first got here their speech was so fast," said Schumacher. "Everything about them was fast." The studio directors had to adjust the tempo of the youths’ speech and activity—geared to today’s multitasking digital age—to a slower, more measured cadence and approach.

"Take Tabitha, for instance. I took a section of her reading and slowed it down 13 or 14 percent and she sounded just great. I gave her the slowed down recording on a flash drive and had her listen to it. If she can teach herself to have two different modes of speech—one for her social life and one for narration—she’s got quite a future in recording."

Tabitha said her reading has improved drastically after seven months in the program. "Previously I had a problem with speed talking, but the issue has diminished from my everyday speech and all but vanished in my reading," she commented.

"As a narrator I must look at literature from an entirely new perspective: instead of using books to entertain myself, I must read so that they will entertain others." Tabitha leaves for college in the fall of 2011, where she wants to major in foreign languages and minor in political science. Eventually, she hopes to find a career that will allow her to travel and write novels.

Schumacher believes the internship program has provided a mutual benefit to the students and the volunteer audiobook production company. "One of the youngsters said that he wants to continue to help us after the high school program is over. We may have a volunteer narrator for the next 30 years," said Schumacher.

Picture of Sun City interns
(Left to right) Sun City audio director John Schumacher and narrator Joe
McCord go over recording text with interns Tabitha Topham and Kevin Ray.

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Spirit of Service: David Junius, Seattle

Picture of David Junius and Kelli O'Brien

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library volunteer coordinator David Junius (right)
works with volunteer Kelli O’Brien.

"Spirit of Service" is a new column profiling the work of volunteer coordinators who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and community service that enriches and completes the panoply of offerings provided by the NLS network of cooperating libraries. The first coordinator to be interviewed for this column is David Junius of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) in Seattle.

NLS: When did you join WTBBL as a volunteer services and outreach coordinator?
DJ: August 4, 2008.

NLS: Of all the places to work, why did you choose WTBBL?
DJ: My career had been with nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and Seattle, working in fund development and community affairs. When I graduated in 2007 with a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Washington, I had little employment experience in libraries.

I saw the volunteer services and outreach coordinator position on a listserv at the university and thought it was the perfect combination of the work I had done in nonprofits with volunteers and clients and outreach and communication, but in a special library setting. In the past year I have started folding in some librarian duties as an adjunct to my weekly work.

NLS: What are your responsibilities?
DJ: I recruit and foster partnerships with the individuals, organizations, and companies that support our services. Annually, WTBBL has 400 volunteers who work in the library; 225 of them work as ongoing "permanent" volunteers and the remainder volunteer as part of work groups, school projects, and other opportunities.

Volunteers donate an average of 32,000 hours—equivalent to 15 full-time employees—to WTBBL annually. Outreach includes anything that makes people aware of our name and services, including presenting to service clubs and retirement communities, exhibiting at information fairs, and editing our Reading Matters newsletter.

NLS: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
DJ: Outreach continues to challenge us. We are always trying to get the biggest impact possible for the least amount of resources. As we move further into the electronic delivery of services and communication, we want to make sure no one is left out of the loop. We also want to make sure we are not duplicating efforts or being less than effective in our message.

If you have the good fortune of someone seeing your website, newsletter, or brochure, you don’t want to lose a new patron, referrer, volunteer, or supporter because they think, "What does this have to do with me?"

NLS: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
DJ: Learning more about volunteers’ work styles and skill sets by observing and talking with them. Getting to know the volunteers can help when trying to find a better or additional "fit," particularly for someone who does not know everything that he or she may be capable of doing.

For example, I once needed a replacement copyholder for braille transcription proofreading, and I asked one of our machine repair technicians to fill in. It’s now a year later, and he still works in both capacities.

NLS: What are the benefits of being a volunteer?
DJ: Volunteers gain a sense of community, give back for help received, learn new skills, bolster their résumés, and keep busy after retirement, among other benefits.

For an organization, volunteerism is cost-effective. Determining the return on investment for volunteerism really resonates with people in these difficult economic times. According to Independent Sector, a coalition of charitable nonprofit organizations, the value of a volunteer hour in Washington State is more than $21. In an average year, more than $670,000 worth of time is given to our library in work that ranges from book inspection and shelving to specialized work by our narrators, broadcasters, and library student interns.

NLS: Why is volunteering important to you?
DJ: My parents were in the nonprofit sector and social work, so I have always appreciated the diversity and needs of people I work with, and WTBBL is a wonderfully diverse place. I studied nonprofit management at the University of San Francisco and have been fascinated with the role that volunteerism has had in shaping this country and its organizations over the past two hundred-plus years.

We have librarians from Europe and Asia who visit WTBBL and they are all impressed that we have such a culture of volunteerism in this country and such great support from WTBBL’s volunteers.

NLS: What is the most effective or productive project that you have participated in?
DJ: The Ten-Squared Talking-Book Club is a great NLS program that we have been doing since its inception. Celebrating our centenarians encompasses many things that I enjoy, such as reading, popular culture, American history, and learning from our elders.

Our Ten-Squared program has been invitation-only for the past few years, so while it may not be too broad in its outreach, it is very effective in reflecting the values of WTBBL and NLS and in preserving a heritage of providing service for everyone.

NLS: Is there any hard-won wisdom or knowledge you have gained that you would pass down to someone in your position?
DJ: There is a place for virtually everyone in your volunteer corps. Be honest with people if there is not a fit, but make other opportunities available.

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Volunteers master new skills

Between July and December of 2010, 126 people were certified as literary braille transcribers.

Alabama | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Idaho | Indiana | Iowa | Kentucky | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Nebraska | Nevada | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | South Dakota | Texas | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin

Literary braille transcribers

Alabama
Rodrick David Skene, Talladega
Arizona
Gary Louis Giasson, Florence
Cynthia Marie Sanchez, Phoenix
Terrence M. Zajac, Phoenix
California
Mary R. Blakemore, San Diego
Kathleen Anne Brown, San Jacinto
Christopher Paul Burdette, Riverside
Kenneth Kortal Grijalva, Vacaville
James Thomas Hall, Ventura
Martin Brian Hauser, Ventura
Danielle A. Hawthorne, Oxnard
Miguel Herrera, Ventura
Lamont James, Ventura
Marian Helene Kass, Walnut Creek
Roza Kiaee, Los Angeles
Tomoko Terada Miles, San Francisco
Karen Flynn Pugatch, Yorba Linda
Laura Ann Rundell, Temecula
Lyudmila Shulga, Sacramento
Dustin E. St. John, Santa Rosa
Vanessa Stenz, Grass Valley
Casey Bud Tuley, Ventura
Colorado
Diane M. Anders, Castle Rock
Christine Diane Maynard, Colorado Springs
Karla Marie McKechnie, Colorado Springs
Connecticut
Karen Alison Mombello, Northford
Delaware
Abraham N. Feleke, Wilmington
Jennifer Lynne Hewett, Camden
Stuart J. Skinner, Wilmington
Florida
Carol Ann Billmeier, Ocala
Stephen Francis Gildner, Orlando
Betsy Heiserman, Crestview
Akiko Lamm, St. Augustine
Charles Richard Lueck, St. Augustine
Deborah Diana Newberry, Orlando
Angela Pinkney Walton, Saint Johns
Georgia
Patrick Keyshune Causey, Macon
Carey Clint Jackson, Perry
Christopher James Pollio, Macon
Paul Taylor Rhodes, Macon
Guy Harold Toles, Macon
Debbie Winsett, Maxeys
Demetrius Thomas Wynn, Macon
Idaho
Erin J. Jepsen, Moscow
Gail Martin Lancaster, Boise
Joshua Paul Larkey, Boise
Indiana
Anthony Adams, Bunker Hill
Iowa
Jonathan Mandel Clausell, Anamosa
Louis Jonathan Cutwright, Anamosa
Michael H. Goehring, Anamosa
Louis Allen Harris, Anamosa
Jeffrey Robert Harris, Anamosa
John Curtis Lyons, Anamosa
Mitchell James Ronek, Anamosa
James Williams, Anamosa
Kentucky
Kyle Anne DeJute, Louisville
Janice A. Harper, Hopkinsville
Tyrel Logan Kessinger, Louisville
Gail Kubovchik, Lexington
Shara Anjela Legaspi Lucio, Louisville
Joy Renee Watkins, Pewee Valley
Shannon Nicole Winston, Louisville
Massachusetts
Donald Dawes, West Roxbury
Joanne Huse, Fitchburg
Bethann M. Gaffey, Plymouth
Laurie Lower, West Roxbury
Michigan
Karen K. Bird, East Lansing
Nicholas Raymond Harrier, Midland
Edward N. Holtz, Jackson
Mujahid Batin Latif, Jackson
Alfonso Steve Medina, Jackson
Mario Peterson, Jackson
Minnesota
Susan Elizabeth Abrahamson, Wayzata
Terri Anne Bouressa, Minneapolis
Patricia Ann Favaro, Golden Valley
Jane Lee Gerold, Jordan
Barbara Hagen, Sherburn
Delanie Sachiko Honda, Victoria
Mississippi
Sunny Dickey, Randolph
Missouri
Mary Lee Beuerle, Town and Country
Willy James Sitton, Jefferson City
Michael W. Summers, Jefferson City
Nebraska
Tyler Joseph Chamberlin, Lincoln
Sharry Ringler, Fort Calhoun
Nevada
Robert Edward Entrikin, Las Vegas
Joseph William Lawver, Las Vegas
Christopher S. Nay, Las Vegas
David O’Sullivan, Las Vegas
Victor Alan Patton, Las Vegas
Robert Lance Walker, Las Vegas
North Carolina
Debbie Carolyn Jackson, Raleigh
Ohio
Kimberly Ann Birchfield, Oxford
Richard Eugene Bugh, Grafton
Donald Sumser Jr., Grafton
Oklahoma
Michael Paul Berkey, Sayre
Carlos Humberto Lopez, Sayre
George Luis Lopez, Sayre
Robert L. Marriott, Sayre
Jorge Martinez, Sayre
Troy Marshall Phillips, Sayre
Miguel Ramirez, Sayre
Pennsylvania
Bonnie Rizzino, Pittsburgh
South Carolina
Mary Bey, Greenwood
Glenda M. Culick, Lake City
Rebecca R. Viggiano, Greenwood
South Dakota
Jeremy Scott Reuter, Sioux Falls
Matthew L. Schroeder, Sioux Falls
Texas
Patricia Anne Elliot, Gatesville
Nancy Elaine Ivey, Spring
Dorothy Louise Lewis, Gatesville
Zana Rachelle Sessions, Ft. Worth
Patricia Ann Sibley, Gatesville
Jeannine Marie Stack, Gatesville
Melissa Ann Talavera, Gatesville
Marla Vee Turner, Ft. Worth
Hortencia Urteaga, Houston
Washington
Connie Conley, Vancouver
David Brian Ingraham, Spokane
Ginger Pratt, Vancouver
West Virginia
Michael Thomas Gross, Huttonsville
Joseph Dale Johnson, Huttonsville
Wisconsin
Eric C. Abrams, Oshkosh
Jeremy M. Becker, Oshkosh
Brian M. Coolidge, Oshkosh
Joshua L. Jameson, Oshkosh

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NLS audiobook expert West retires

Picture of Bill West
Bill West during a
2005 visit to the
Oklahoma Library
for the Blind
and Physically
Handicapped. The
audio-production
specialist was
instrumental in
helping network
libraries set up their
own studios.

Bill R. West earned a national reputation as an audiobook-production expert before retiring from NLS in August 2010. During his five decades of service, West introduced numerous technological tools for audiobook recording, such as the audible-tone volume unit (VU) meter, the finite-length or pre-timed open-reel mastering tape for cassettes, and the requirement for 50-hertz tone indexing. He researched methods of converting the analog process of audio recording into a digital process and designed the Low Complexity Mastering (LCM) system. LCM is the software used by most NLS network studios and contractors to mark up and produce digital audiobook files. During his tenure, he received seven promotions, nine awards, and 41 letters of commendation.

Former NLS director Frank Kurt Cylke said, "Bill West is one of the most dedicated and industrious people NLS has ever had the benefit of employing. He single-handedly developed a network of studios capable of producing the highest quality audio recording and narration. He established standards for selecting and promoting preeminent studio narration personnel—standards so rigorous that only one in 50 applicants is rated as having an acceptable level of confidence and skill. These achievements are the direct result of his expertise and personality, which allow him to navigate difficult circumstances with ease and good humor."

West is a native son of Plymouth, North Carolina, and the third of four boys born to Tom and Estelle West. He volunteered for the army and served for three years before being blinded in a freak accident. After receiving a medical discharge, he moved to Washington, D.C. He married his wife Peggy just before starting work at the Library of Congress.

In the spring of 1963, West accepted a temporary three-month appointment to assess the volunteer talking-book recording program at the Library of Congress Division for the Blind and help assistant director Charles Gallozzi decide whether to scrap the program or invest in it. After three weeks of review, West recommended eliminating the program or hiring someone to take charge of it for one year. If at the end of the year the program was not vastly improved, that person could be fired and the program scrapped. West got the job.

"The first thing I did was sort through the personnel and see who did and didn’t have talent. Those who didn’t were terminated. They had over 2,000 volunteers. We kept only the crème de la crème," said West. He established formal procedures and best practices for the volunteer recording process. In 1965 West became head of the volunteer tape program.

In 1974, at the request of Cylke, the new division director, West pulled 100 random samples of commercially produced audiobooks and reviewed them according to volunteer standards. He determined that 70 of them would have been rejected under the volunteer program. These results led NLS to introduce the first set of audiobook specifications that same year. Cylke then mandated that NLS develop written specifications for all producers of NLS-distributed materials, and many of the volunteer standards became NLS specifications.

As libraries within the NLS network became interested in producing their own talking books, West was moved to the NLS Engineering Section, where he continued to provide technical assistance to volunteer groups, libraries, and commercial producers.

West’s reputation as a standard-bearer for quality was also growing. "In the first studio I was involved with building, I had a fight with the manufacturer. I said that I would not use for a dog house what they considered to be superb, state-of-the-art manufacturing and production," remarked West. On a visit to the tape company Ampex, West learned from a salesman that the engineers there had given him the nickname "the pit bull from Washington, D.C.," because of his rigorous adherence to standards.

"Bill has been a longtime advocate for the people working in the studios," said John Bryant, head of NLS Production Control. "He was always making sure they had the right environment, right light, right tools—even the right air—to do their best work."

Jamie Cutting, a longtime NLS audiobook producer, recalled, "At a time when we needed him most, Bill West was extremely generous with both his time and his knowledge."

In retirement, West enjoys being a patron of the NLS talking-book program.

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In memoriam

Picture of Terry Hayes Sales
Photo credit: Michael Sales, Courier Journal

Terry Hayes Sales (1916–2010) narrator, singer, and actress

Terry Hayes Sales, an American Foundation for the Blind Talking Book Hall of Fame inductee and the narrator of more than 900 books, died November 29, 2010, of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 94.

Sales was a high school sophomore when she began a professional singing career in her hometown of Chicago for radio station WBBN. At age 19, she met and wed Stuart Sales, a student at the University of Illinois and a Louisville, Kentucky, native. For a while, she continued to work in Chicago, doing talk shows for WGN and commercials before she and her husband moved to Louisville.

In Louisville, Sales continued to sing on the radio and acted in local theater. In 1938 she began her career as a narrator for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Sales had a "remarkable ability to tell a story," said Steve Mullins, studio director for APH, where she developed a following. "People, in some ways, grew up with her."

Sales funded the launch of the Audio Description Project at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in 1991, in memory of her husband who died in 1987. The project provides narrated descriptions of onstage action to audience members during performances.

NLS honored Sales in 1998 for her 60 years of service as a narrator.

Picture of Florence Gibson

Florence A. Gibson (1924–2011) award-winning narrator

Florence A. Gibson, founder and narrator for Audio Book Contractors, Inc., died on January 7 at age 86. Born in San Francisco in 1924, Mrs. Gibson earned a bachelor’s degree in dramatic literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. She began her career as a professional actress with a six-month tour of Blithe Spirit for the U.S.O. at the end of World War II, and then continued her career as a radio actress for the next several years. She married Carlos Gibson, a Peruvian diplomat, in 1947 and raised their four children.

Soon after her youngest child left for college, Mrs. Gibson auditioned for the talking-book program at NLS and was hired as a narrator. She worked in the NLS recording studio from 1974 to 1995.

In 1983 she founded Audio Book Contractors, after having a soundproof studio built in the basement of her Washington, D.C., home with the guidance of Bill West, who was then an NLS audio expert.

She hired local talent to help her with the recording, monitoring, packaging, and distribution of unabridged classic books, first on cassettes and later on compact discs, for the general public, schools, and libraries.

She received three Parents’ Choice Awards and her work was cited on the American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Recordings list four times.

At the time of her death, Gibson was recording Les Misérables, which would have been the 1,134th book of her career.

Gibson is survived by her three daughters, Nancy (Derry), Katherine, and Carrie Gibson, and her three grandchildren, Chris Cimbalo Gibson, Elsa Gibson Braden, and Jaime Braden.

Frederic Morehouse (1937–2011) narrator and actor

Frederic Morehouse, longtime narrator and performer at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, died January 10, 2011, at age 73.

Morehouse, known by his stage name Fred Majors, was born July 30, 1937, in Wisconsin. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and later studied Slavic languages at Harvard University, where he performed in the Krokodiloes, an a cappella group.

Picture of Frederic Morehouse

After college Morehouse married and had three children while trying to maintain a career in the printing business. When the marriage ended, he decided to pursue theater work in New York.

Morehouse performed at The Actors Studio and off Broadway as well as in regional theaters across the country. In 1982 he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and joined the cast of the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Morehouse appeared in more than 90 plays at the Actors Theatre, including the world premier of Tony Kushner’s Slavs! He also toured with the theater to Yugoslavia, Romania, and Australia.

"Certainly he had lots and lots of fans," said actor William McNulty, who worked with Morehouse at the Actors Theatre. "I shared the stage with him probably as much or more than anybody. He was both a fine artist and a delightful person to be around."

Offstage, Morehouse recorded hundreds of books at the American Printing House for the Blind and served as president of the local American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union, which represents announcers. He did voice-overs for, among other things, industrial films and The Military Channel.

Morehouse remained active until his death and starred in the Actors Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol in December 2010.

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Braille student-instructor dialog

Under a contract with NLS, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute administers the courses leading to Library of Congress certification as a braille transcriber or proofreader. NFB receives numerous questions concerning a variety of problems in braille transcribing. This article addresses some of them. The question-and-answer format is intended to give clarity.

Student: I am about to submit my first lesson via e-mail. The instructions for submitting the first exercise say I should include my name in both braille and print at the end of the lesson. I can’t figure out how to make my software generate a print name. What am I doing wrong?
Instructor: You are doing nothing wrong. The last sentence on page 1-5 of the manual is a bit confusing, so I am happy to clarify. Correspondence students submitting their lessons on paper should write their name in print and in braille at the end of their lessons. Students submitting lessons via e-mail attachment only need to include a name in braille at the end of the lesson. Putting your name in your e-mail will also help identify your submission.

Student: The book I am transcribing places several blank lines between paragraphs in print to indicate a change in thought or scene. After these blank lines, the first paragraph is blocked at the left margin, and the first few words are all written in capital letters. Should I follow the print format and capitalization?
Instructor: No. In literary braille, a paragraph is indicated by starting the first word of each new paragraph in the third space of a new line. This rule applies even if a paragraph is not indented in print. Sometimes for visual appeal print uses all capital letters in the first words of a paragraph at the beginning of a chapter or other division. In braille, this practice is ignored and normal capitalization is used.

Student: According to Section 19.2b(9)of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) should appear on the braille title page. If the book that I am transcribing doesn’t have an ISBN on the print title page, how is this handled in braille?
Instructor: When there is no ISBN on the print title page or on the back of the title page, the line where this information would appear in braille should be left blank.

Student: I failed to receive a passing score of 80 required for Library of Congress certification on my first trial manuscript. After studying section 20.12 of the manual, it is not clear to me whether to submit 25 or 35 pages for my second trial manuscript.
Instructor: If the score on the first manuscript is between 75 and 79, a second manuscript of 25 pages can be submitted. If the first manuscript received a score below 75, then 35 pages must be submitted. If a passing score is not attained on the third try, the student must wait 12 months and retake the braille transcribing course before submitting a fourth and final trial manuscript.

Student: I have a question about my third trial manuscript. I understanding that I can braille another portion of the book I used for my second trial manuscript. Since I was unable to finish the chapter for my second manuscript, may I begin my third manuscript with that same chapter?
Instructor: No. Every trial manuscript must start at the beginning of a new chapter. You may choose any other chapter from the print book that you have not already brailled. Remember that the first chapter of the trial manuscript must always start on a new braille page.

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Florida volunteers support Pinellas Talking Book Library

Picture of Florida volunteers

Photo caption: (Left to right) front row, kneeling: Jarvis Smith, Kristyn McNally; second row: Electra Cheverie, Michael Watkins, Rose Watkins, Allen Isenberg, Kunja Satterlee, Ernie Grunz, Madelyn Liss, Janice Reville; third row: Bill Barnett, Don Sanders, Ed Johnson, Mike Satterlee

In Clearwater, Florida, at Pinellas Talking Book Library (PTBL), volunteers work more than 2,000 hours a year. They sort, inspect, and shelve returned books; pull and send books to patrons; compile packets for new patrons; answer telephones; help patrons with digital download procedures; and complete administrative tasks.

This contribution—which is essential to the core mission of the library—was recognized by the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative at a luncheon held on November 17, 2010. "Volunteers are critical to the success of our library," said Marilyn Stevenson, access service librarian of PTBL.

Michael Watkins has volunteered for the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative for eight years. He and his wife Rose, a volunteer for 13 years, look forward to serving the library. "It gives us a sense of pride to know that the patrons benefit from our work," said Watkins.

During the ceremony, each volunteer received a certificate of appreciation and a personal "thank you" from Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Board members Don Mahoney and Madelyn Liss.

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