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CONTRACTS AWARDED FOR DIGITAL TALKING-BOOK PLAYER, CARTRIDGE MAILING CONTAINER, AND TRAINING
On behalf of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), the Library of Congress has awarded contracts for three critical elements necessary for implementation of the digital talking-book system. Shinano Kenshi Corporation Ltd. of Japan and its subsidiary Plextor-LLC of Culver City, California, will produce the digital talking-book players; LC Industries in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, will produce the digital talking-book cartridge mailing containers; and SI International in Reston, Virginia, will develop training strategies for the network of cooperating libraries. The award of the cartridge contract is pending.
DIGITAL TALKING-BOOK PLAYERS
Shinano Kenshi/Plextor will produce the standard and advanced digital talking-book players. Plextor, the electronic equipment division of Shinano Kenshi, produces the Plextalk line of Daisy talking-book players in addition to compact discs (CDs), DVDs, Blu Ray discs and other computer components.
The player contract's base period is for three years with a unilateral government option of an additional four years. More than $35 million has been obligated to fund the initial production of 223,837 players. The first players will be manufactured in late 2008.
DIGITAL TALKING-BOOK CARTRIDGE MAILING CONTAINERS
LC Industries, a Javits-Wagner-O'Day contractor, has produced injection-molded plastic mailing containers used by NLS for more than 15 years. The company will initially produce 500,000 blue plastic mailing containers for digital talking books.
NLS is working out details regarding network purchase of the mailing containers and will notify the network when the containers are available for purchase.
SI International has designed training applications for deployment over the Internet since 1998. NLS has engaged the company to assist with preparing strategies for training the staffs of the 128 cooperating libraries serving blind and physically handicapped readers throughout the country and in U.S. territories. SI International will gather information to recommend training models appropriate for preparing library staff to handle three specific tasks: using and explaining the digital talking-book machine; downloading digital talking books and signing up patrons for the download project, NLS BARD; and duplicating digital talking books at the local level.
The goal is to provide a variety of training materials for each task and to identify the best methods of delivery. The materials will be designed to assist current and future network library staffs.