Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center

Talking Books are a free public library service for the visually, physically, and reading disabled. The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center is part of the Athens-Clarke County Library and the Georgia Library for Accessible Services. For more information about our service, please visit our website.

The purpose of this blog is to provide information and useful links to our patrons. The Talking Book Center does not endorse any product mentioned on this blog.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Web Maintenance

The Library of Congress will be doing some website maintenance this weekend.  This will affect many Talking Book sites, including BARD and the NLS homepage, which will not be available this weekend.  These sites are expected to return Monday morning, August 25.  We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Elder Care Forum

An Elder Care Forum will be held next week in Athens.  The topic is "Dealing With Dementia", and is presented by Care to Continue and Arbor Terrace of Athens.  This forum is part of a lunch and learn series.

Charting a Course for Care: Dealing with Dementia

August 28, 12-2pm

Athens First Bank, 2nd floor meeting room

150 W. Hancock Ave Athens

To register for this lunch and learn program, please call 706-296-4967 or email

The forum is hosted by Athens First Bank & Trust, Elite Senior Care Services, The Oaks of Athens, The Stearns Agency, Care to Continue, A Place for Mom, Athens Community Council on Aging, Arbor Terrace of Athens, and The Kimbrough Law Firm.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Talking Book Topic Order Form Changing

Talking Book Topics magazine, sent bimonthly to all Talking Book patrons, will be changing the order forms in the September/October issue.  Due to patron request, the order form will return to listing numbers in the order titles appear in the book.  Recently, the numbers had appeared in strict numeric order.  This change should make it easier to order titles from the catalog.

Friday, August 15, 2014

National Senior Day at Bethesda Park

Bethesda Park Senior Center will be celebrating National Senior Citizens Day next Thursday, August 21.  Some of the free events include BINGO, art exhibits, and refreshments as well as a presentation on COPD.  The event will be from 12:00pm - 1:30pm at the Senior Center, located at 225 Bethesda Church Road in Lawrenceville.  You can reach the Bethesda Senior Center at (770) 822-8000 with any questions.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Sign Language Restaurant

Signs, a new restaurant in Toronto, encourages you to use your hands during your meal.  Signs employs an almost entirely hearing-impaired staff and provides American Sign Language (ASL) cheat sheets for diners to order their meals.  Anjan Manikumar, the founder and president of the restaurant, hopes that Signs will not only provide a unique dining experience, but promote the use of ASL and provide career opportunities for the hearing impaired.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Digital Talking Book Players' Battery Life

If you have a digital Talking Book player, you may have noticed changes in the announcement for remaining battery life.  Brand new players announce a charge of 29 hours when fully charged.  It is normal for this number to decrease, even when fully charged, over time.  Once your player holds less than 12 hours fully charged, you may return it to the library for repair.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Redesigned Symbol

The symbol for "handicapped access" may soon be changing.  The white figure on a blue background is the same, but law makers in New York have recently required signs and parking spots to use an updated version of the symbol, depicting a body in motion.  The symbol will also now be referred to as the "Accessible Icon".

You can read more about this change and see a picture of the updated sign at

Friday, August 1, 2014

July-August Talking Book Topics Catalog

Patrons should be receiving their July/August Talking Book Topics catalogs soon.  The order form in the back in mislabeled as May/June, but the correct numbers are listed.  Please use the order form as usual, and contact your Talking Book Library with any questions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

BARD Maintenance

BARD is currently down for maintenance.  If you need helping looking up a book, please contact your Talking Book Library.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Edit 5:30pm - BARD now appears to be functioning normally.  Thank you for your patience!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Support the VISTAS Center

Visit the Athens Beef O'Brady's Sunday night from 5-9pm, when they will donate part of the proceeds to the VISTAS Center.  VISTAS is a local non-profit that promotes self-sufficiency for the visually impaired.  You can learn more about them at

Read about the fundraiser in the Athens Banner-Herald:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Currency Readers

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which includes the U.S. Department of Treasury, will begin offering free currency readers to visually impaired individuals this fall.  The National Library Service, which is part of the Library of Congress, is paring with the Bureau to distribute these readers.

Beginning in September, NLS will help BEP with a pilot program.  Registered Talking Book patrons who are interested in getting a currency reader can contact their local Talking Book Library and request one.  The program will then expand nationally in January.

To read more about this program, please visit  If you are a registered Talking Book patron who is interested in getting a currency reader, please contact your Talking Book Library. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Future of Braille

A press release from the National Library Service (NLS):

“The Future of Braille” Report Presents Recommendations for Improving Literacy Opportunities

For immediate release
July 4, 2014
Contact: Gayle Osterberg
(202) 707-0020

Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert J. Dizard Jr. today released a report exploring issues related to braille, the literacy tool that makes independence possible for people who cannot see to read regular print, at the National Federation of the Blind national convention in Orlando, Florida.
"The Future of Braille: NLS Braille Summit Presentations and Outcomes" details the proceedings of a conference held by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) in partnership with the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, June 19–22, 2013. It was attended by more than 100 librarians, instructors, producers, and other experts in the field of braille.
NLS director Karen Keninger said, "This was the first gathering of its type since the early 20th century. People were eager to share their experiences and to contribute their ideas to help shape the course of this important literacy tool."
"The Library of Congress has been providing braille books since it was authorized by law to provide free library service for people who are blind or have low vision," Dizard explained. "This program, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, has recently expanded to include electronic braille, which is downloaded over the Internet from the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (known as BARD) and read using braille embossers or note-takers with a Bluetooth connection.
"The Braille Summit is a product of our effort to keep this medium at the forefront of library service," Dizard said.
Speakers included Peter Osborne, chief braille officer of the United Kingdom’s Royal National Institute of Blind People, Michael Yudin, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in Washington, D.C., and other notables in the field. Panels discussed improvements in the braille code, methods of producing braille, lowering costs, leveraging technology, and addressing misperceptions about the literacy tool.
Participants recognized that collaboration is the way forward for strengthening braille literacy. As NLS has been a leader in ensuring access to reading materials, the gathering recommended that NLS support efforts to update braille technology and specifications. They also recommended that the service provide a low-cost braille display in the same way that it provides audio-playback equipment.
Other stakeholders were encouraged to address the shortage of teachers and cost prohibitions, promote braille as a communications tool, make better use of technology to reduce the cost of braille production and to produce a low-cost braille display unit.
The report is available online at

NLS administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to U.S. residents and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or disability makes reading regular materials difficult. Through its national network of libraries, NLS mails books and magazines in audio and braille formats and digital audio equipment directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are also provided. Selected materials may be downloaded. For more information, visit or call 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

Monday, July 21, 2014

MIT Finger Device Reads in Real Time

MIT is developing a special "ring" that uses a tiny camera and synthesized voice to read text aloud.  This device could help many visually impaired people read text in real time, while offering maximum portability. While the FingerReader would not replace Braille, it could help read documents such as forms and menus.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blind Photographers Group

Flickr has a Blind Photographers group, featuring the photographs of blind or visually-impaired photographers.  Check out the stunning artwork at!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How the Blind Enjoy Movies published an article and video on "How The Blind Enjoy Movies".  The video talks about audio-described movies, where additional narration tracks are placed between dialogue which describes the action, scenery, costumes, and other components of the movies.

Remember the Talking Book Center has audio-described movies available for checkout!  Additionally, many DVDs come with audio narration built-in - just check under "Audio Selection" on the main menu.

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