Arizona volunteer greets President Bush in Phoenix

Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library (ABTBL) volunteer Joan Lincoln found herself the center of President George W. Bush's attention when she greeted him on behalf of the USA Freedom Corps at the Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix on Sunday, October 27, 2002.

Lincoln said President Bush is "a gentleman to the core. I had the feeling he was taking a break from his position and just being a regular person. I saw him later on television and he wasn't the same person."

Overall she described her meeting with the chief executive as "awesome." When President Bush descended the stairs of Air Force One, he was first greeted by politicians and local celebrities. Then Lincoln was invited to the side of the plane, and the president joined her for a photo and a few moments of conversation.

She said they chatted for what seemed a long time, but must have been about five minutes. During the course of the conversation, Lincoln says she asked President Bush to sign a copy of the Freedom Corps document she'd printed from the web. Handing him a pen, she dropped it, and "he picked it up quick as a flash," she said.

The volunteer noted that she thought it was a joke when the ATBL asked her to take the assignment. "The director [of ABTBL] called and said, 'We'd like you to meet the president,' and I said, 'Yeah, sure,'" recalls Lincoln. "I didn't believe her."

Lincoln's experience grew out of a call that Sandra Everett, deputy director of the regional library, received from the executive office. She was asked for a volunteer to welcome the chief executive, who was traveling to Arizona on a political mission, to promote his Freedom Corps initiative.

"Selecting one volunteer was not easy because we feel all of our volunteers are good representatives of our program," said Everett. "We chose Joan because she has the longest tenure as a library volunteer." Lincoln has narrated talking books in the Phoenix studio almost since it began operating in 1972. She has completed 94 books and special projects for the library in her 29 years of service.

The USA Freedom Corps supports President Bush's call to all Americans to volunteer 4,000 hours of community service over the course of their lives. On as many presidential trips as possible, the organization seeks a local volunteer to greet the president on his arrival, choosing representatives from different types of volunteer programs in each city.

Lincoln said her story was carried on the local 10 o'clock news.

(Photo caption: Joan Lincoln with President George W. Bush on his visit to Arizona)

Cox favors work of the TelecomPioneers over personal recognition

This past April, Texas TelecomPioneers regional coordinator Betty Cox was commended by Governor Rick Perry for her "remarkable volunteer service to the Lone Star State." Citing Cox's "commitment" and "generosity," Governor Perry called her "a sterling example to all Texans."

Cox was nominated by the Texas State Library Association, with whom she works closely in her capacity as Pioneers coordinator. "I appreciate the consideration to be nominated," Cox said, adding that she was "both surprised and honored." Cox was also singled out by the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service because of her nomination for a 2002 Governor's Volunteer Award.

The TelecomPioneers volunteer has had a long and distinguished career. She wanted to join the Bell Telephone volunteer organization when first employed at Southwestern Bell, but had to wait the requisite 20 years before she was actually permitted to do so. She continued to work at Southwestern Bell until 1985, when she retired with more than 40 years of service under her belt. In 2002 she marked her 40th anniversary as a member of TelecomPioneers.

While appreciative of all of the awards bestowed upon her, Cox prefers to discuss the efforts of the Texas TelecomPioneers, who also recently received recognition from the state. In May, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission unanimously approved a resolution commending its "dedicated service to the Texas Talking-Book Program and all of its patrons, to the staff who have been touched by its diligence, and to communities throughout Texas who have benefitted from its many noble acts."

Cox's pride in the accomplishments of the Pioneers is not unfounded. She likes to say that the talking-book program and TelecomPioneers are "two of the state's best- kept secrets," but she doesn't want to maintain the status quo. Recently, along with a representative from the Texas State Library, Cox spoke to a group of seniors, who were "astounded," and interested in the talking-book program and in volunteering with TelecomPioneers.

This focus on recruitment has been successful in many ways. The Texas TelecomPioneers plan to open a new workshop in Waco, increasing the total number of Texas workshops to seven.

Cox is also working to increase the visibility of the talking-book program. She visited two libraries that are not state supported and took along applications and cassette machines. As one of many Pioneers who have given their lives to the program, Cox is proud of its past and hopeful when looking toward its future.

(Photo caption: Betty Cox)

Elfun partnership recognized for contributions in Cincinnati

The GE Senior Elfun Society, in partnership with the Cincinnati Association for the Blind (CAB), was named a Merit Finalist for the 2002 Mutual of America Community Partnership Award by Thomas J. Moran, president and chief executive officer of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, on November 25, 2002.

The award recognizes the work of the Senior Elfun Talking-Book Machine Repair Project which, according to the announcement, "helps blind and visually impaired people in the greater Cincinnati area to lead independent, productive lives."

The Talking-Book Machine Repair Project involves members of the Senior Elfun Society of GE Aircraft Engines employees and retirees with backgrounds in engineering, accounting, and other professions volunteering their time to repair playback equipment essential to the NLS talking-book program. In addition to obtaining donated space and equipment, members of the Elfun Society recruited volunteers, provided training, and created a quality-control system.

Since March 1990, Elfuns have worked 135,000 hours and repaired more than 35,000 talking-book machines, which are distributed by CAB. They have also begun repairing special radio receivers CAB distributes to visually impaired people. The success of the program has led to its replication in other Ohio cities and in Michigan, Rhode Island, California, Utah, Kentucky, Washington, and the Virgin Islands.

Mutual of America was founded in 1945 to provide retirement and insurance coverage to employees of not-for- profit organizations. Now in its seventh year, the Mutual of America Community Partnership Award has recognized 70 partnerships from cities and towns across America, expanding public awareness of their work and helping them attract additional partners and new sponsors.

The Elfuns received the Community Partnership Award for the length of the partnership (a minimum of one year), the partnership's demonstration that it has made a difference, the partnership's ability to be replicated and to stimulate new ways to address social issues, and the partnership's commitment to advancing the mission and principles of the organization.

Awards overflow at North Carolina recognition event

Elegant food, gold roses, beautiful people, top-notch entertainment, applause, and tears. No, it wasn't the Academy Awards, but the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NCLBPH) annual volunteer recognition celebration.

"Each year this celebration brings an evening of fun and lasting memories to the volunteers and library supporters who attend," said Gary Ray, NCLBPH director of volunteer services. Sponsored by the Friends of the NCLBPH, the 2002 ceremony was held in the lobby and the auditorium of the North Carolina State Library on October 14.

Some 125 volunteers were lauded for contributing a total of 7,060 volunteer hours during the past year. Thirty- seven volunteers were presented with certificates. Library volunteers produced 10 recorded books, 4 braille books, 48 recorded magazine issues, 11 newsletters, 8 catalogs, and 45 special requests.

No volunteer in attendance was more surprised at the honor bestowed upon him than Manuel "Mannie" Betancourt, named Volunteer of the Year. Ray said, "Whenever I call, Mannie is there. He is a joy to be around, and we love his attitude."

Jacqueline Ponder and Mary Richardson received Authors Reading and Recording Original Works (ARROW) Awards, presented this year to authors who recorded their books for the collection. Ponder was there with her daughter, Georgette, who actually narrated the book The Weekend Cowgirl for the library. While Georgette was in the recording booth, Ponder helped with other volunteer work. Richardson's book Born to Win was narrated by her granddaughter, Arlene Barry. The author lost her sight in her 60s and wrote her book in her 80s. She was accompanied to the celebration by 11 family members, spanning four generations.

Retiring NCLBPH volunteer coordinator Wanda Winstead received a special plaque from the Library of Congress, presented by NLS government information/volunteer specialist Freddie Peaco, and a basket of gifts from her coworkers and the Friends. Winstead was joined by her husband, Byrd, and two teenage sons, Josh and Edwin. Ray said, "She seemed determined not to cry," but noted there was a lot of eye dabbing.

Peaco, a North Carolina native, also presented special certificates to the library's TelecomPioneers volunteers.

Dr. Elliot Engle, author and English professor, closed the evening event, delighting the audience with a one-hour humorous educational tale about Mark Twain. Engle, who spoke pro bono, was captivating and, for book lovers, a rare treat.

Each attendee was given a metallic gold rose corsage, made by Mildred Mitchell, a volunteer from North Wilkesboro. A delicious buffet of catered finger foods kept attendees talking during the first hour.

(Photo caption: North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NCLBPH) volunteer of the year Manuel Betancourt with NCLBPH volunteer coordinator Gary Ray)

(Photo caption: ARROW author Mary Richardson (front row, third from left) with four generations of her family and Gary Ray (back))

Means logs in more than 1,800 hours over 12 years reading magazines, books, and narrating for blind patrons

Alan Means was named Volunteer of the Year at Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind (RRRB), Sun City, Arizona, having rendered 14 years of service.

"We thank Alan for more than 1,865 hours and 12 continuous years of service," says Jeanie Pawlowski, volunteer coordinator of the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library. "We are pleased to recognize and thank him for his work at Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind."

Over the years, Means has enjoyed reading books and magazines as well as the Sun City/Youngstown News, a weekly newspaper. He was a longtime narrator of Modern Maturity and now works on American History, a magazine he highly recommends. He says the magazine must have a great research department because it always includes stories that are interesting and different from the more well-known events in U.S. history.

During the past year, Means has given more of his time to monitoring. His regular recording partner is veteran narrator Catherine Holler. Means sometimes monitors the Sun City/Youngstown News. He is comfortable and knowledgeable about recording equipment, so he often helps troubleshoot equipment problems. He also trains new monitors, which is necessary for the organization to meet production commitments.

Means came to RRRB not long after retiring from a 31- year career with the Public Service Company, a utility provider in Denver, Colorado, in 1989. He and his wife moved to Sun City West in Peoria, Arizona. He met Jim Geer, one of the founders of RRRB (or Sun City Talking News, as it is also known), after reading an article about the organization in the local newspaper. The article caught his eye because he'd been interested in radio since his teenage years. He'd even worked for radio stations, both behind the scenes and on the air during college and directly after. He felt that RRRB might be the place to nurture his interest.

When he met Geer at the studio, Means planned to start by helping with duplication or another aspect of production, but, he recalls, "Jim put me right to work."

Geer eventually invited Means to serve on the volunteer board that runs RRRB, where Means has served since 1992. Means quickly developed great respect and admiration for Geer, who died suddenly in 1995, and was glad to volunteer with him and learn from him.

Means finds volunteering for RRRB fun. He looks forward to his time in the studio and is happy that something he enjoys so much is also producing something worthwhile for blind or physically handicapped people. He says that RRRB is a good fit for him.

At 76, Quick helps keep machines running for blind and handicapped readers

Imagine being approached with the following directive: "Bubba, I'm putting you and one other guy in charge of keeping 1,427 machines in working order. You're going to sweat it out in a basement, and hardly anyone's going to know the important job you're performing on behalf of hundreds of handicapped people. Oh and you're not getting paid, either."

It doesn't bother Bob Quick. Quick is a volunteer one of thousands who work for the intrinsic rewards that "doing good" provides. In his case, he donates time to the Kent District Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Wyoming, Michigan, where he works with John Myers to maintain more than 1,400 machines used by patrons of the district's library for the blind and physically handicapped.

Quick has been a volunteer since 1987, and today, at age 76, he says he plans to continue as long as he has his health. "It's rewarding," he says, "and gratifying to know that I'm helping someone else. As long as I can do it, I'll do it."

A retiree of Michigan Bell (now SBC), Quick knows his way around electronic devices. Each week, he picks up a new batch of talking-book players, opens them up, diagnoses the problem, and performs surgery. Last year, he and Myers nursed more than 500 of the special machines back to health, which is a large and important task supporting the more than 1,000 Michigan residents enrolled in the service.

His dedication does not go unnoticed. "He and John provide a tremendous service. We couldn't run the program without these guys," says Laura Weld, who coordinates the library for the blind and handicapped at the Wyoming, Michigan, branch. "They get our undying gratitude," she says, "and an occasional plate of cookies."

The father of three grown children, Quick lives with his wife, Genevieve, on Grand Rapids' northeast side. At least once a week, he makes the 10-mile trip to the Kent District Library, picks up his broken-down assignments, then travels home. He carries the equipment into his basement, where he keeps a woodworking shop and assorted tools. Meanwhile, Myers packs a bag lunch and drives from his home in Hudsonville to spend the better part of every Monday laboring at the library. Both are TelecomPioneers.

Last year, TelecomPioneers repaired more than one million machines worldwide. Without the extensive volunteer program, it would have cost about $8 million to keep the machines up and running.

Repair volunteer still working at 90 years old

One day before his actual birthday, Arizona volunteer Chuck Kruppe celebrated his 90th birthday with library staff and fellow volunteers on Tuesday, November 12.

"We managed to light 90 candles on the cake and Chuck successfully blew them all out," said Jeanie Pawlowski, volunteer coordinator.

Kruppe repairs talking-book machines with the Phoenix Repair Group. He was instrumental in starting the Phoenix and Tucson Repair Groups in the early 1970s. He has been a volunteer repairman for almost 40 years.

"Chuck is the second volunteer to celebrate a 90th birthday with us. We look forward to others. Volunteering is good for your health!" says Pawlowski.

Florida group receives Points of Light honor

"Helping the blind access print materials in braille and audio has earned the Palm Coast Lions Club (PCLC) today's national Daily Points of Light Award, the Washington-based group says," announced the Daytona Beach, Florida, News- Journal on Thursday, March 6, 2003.

Palm Coast Lions have volunteered at the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Service since 1981, contributing time and expertise across library sections. The group was also named 2001 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties in the civic group category.

"Please join us in saluting the PCLC's well-deserved recognition. Thanks are due to Betty Boyette and Doug Hall of the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services volunteer section for assisting in the nomination process," said Greg Carlson, the Bureau's library program administrator.

The Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network presents the Daily Points of Light Award to volunteers engaged in helping others, solving social problems, and building strong communities. President George W. Bush and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, endorse the program and send letters to honorees.

Corporation encourages employee volunteerism

Businesses are increasingly concerned about being "good corporate citizens" and are encouraging their employees to volunteer. Medtronic, a company specializing in medical technology, manages an aggressive program in which its employees receive a day's pay for each day they volunteer. The Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library recently benefitted from this effort.

Employees from Medtronic's Tempe, Arizona, facility have volunteered at the library on the company's annual Community Day for three years. In March 2002, 15 Medtronic employees were split into two groups to assist Technical Services and Machine Services. In Technical Services, the volunteers pulled hundreds of excess books from the shelves and bagged them to send to other talking-book libraries. In Machine Services, they cleaned and tested hundreds of machines and verified inventory records in the computer database. "Their service was much appreciated as the tasks they undertook are very time-consuming and often stack up because staff and regular library volunteers are involved in other areas. The old saying 'many hands make light work' certainly was proved at the library thanks to the volunteers from Medtronic," remarked Jeanie Pawlowski, volunteer coordinator.

Braille student-instructor dialog

The Braille Development Section 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 have just chosen a print book for my 35-page trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification. I understand that the use and order of all punctuation signs should follow print practice. However, in print, the double and single quotation marks are reversed throughout the entire book (that is, the single quotes are used as the outer quotation marks and the double quotes used as the inner quotation marks). In braille, the single quotation marks require two cells while the double quotation marks require only one cell. Should I still follow print practice?

Instructor: No. When the sequence of quotation marks is reversed throughout an entire print work, these quotation marks may be reversed in braille in order to save space. When this occurs, insert a note explaining this reversal on a transcriber's notes page. (See Section 2b of the official code, English Braille, American Edition, 1994.)

Student: I am about to begin brailling the contents page for my 35-page trial manuscript, and I have one question. The print contents page contains part headings. I have studied Section 19.2f of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, 2000, and I am still not sure where part headings should be placed on the braille contents page. Could you please explain this to me?

Instructor: Certainly. Regardless of the placement shown on the print contents page, unit and part headings must be centered on the braille line and placed above the chapter headings. Unit and part headings must be preceded but not followed by a blank line. (See Section 7a3 of Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription, 1997.)

Student: I just recently received a copy of the errata for the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, 2000. According to the errata, in Lesson 13 the abbreviation "T.C.U." should be written unspaced in braille even though it is written with a space in print. Similarly, in Lesson 13 the abbreviation "M.P." is shown with a space in print. Should the abbreviation "M.P." also be written unspaced in braille?

Instructor: Yes. Section 27 of English Braille, American Edition, 1994, says that abbreviations consisting of letters should be written unspaced on one braille line. Therefore, both the abbreviations "T.C.U." and "M.P." should be written unspaced on one braille line.

Student: I have studied Lesson 19 of the 2000 edition of the instruction manual thoroughly, and I have a question that does not seem to be addressed. After I have transcribed the introduction, its last paragraph ends on line 3 of the braille page. Should I skip a line and start the first chapter on the same page as the introduction?

Instructor: That is an excellent question. Even when a prologue, preface, introduction, etc., ends on a braille page with enough space to start the first chapter on that same page, the first chapter should always start on a new braille page. But when a chapter ends in the middle of a braille page, the next chapter should start on that same page as long as there is room for the chapter heading with its preceding and following blank lines and at least one line of braille text. (See Section 19.6 of the 2000 edition of the instruction manual.)

Student: The book that I have selected for my 35-page trial manuscript contains a number of formatting irregularities as well as a few unusual foreign proper names. It is my understanding that I should prepare a letter telling the grader about these irregularities. Is the letter counted as part of the trial manuscript?

Instructor: No. If the book you are transcribing contains anything unusual that was encountered in print, a letter in braille to the grader should accompany your trial manuscript. In the letter, tell the grader what dictionary you used and explain any formatting irregularities, unusual foreign names, strange dialect, etc., that appeared in print. Do not include these explanations on a transcriber's notes page. The letter to the grader is not counted as part of the 35-page trial manuscript. (See Section 20.10 of the 2000 edition of the instruction manual.)


National Braille Association (NBA)

NBA Professional Development Conference
Grace Inn at Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, November 6 to Saturday, November 8, 2003
NBA Professional Development Conference
Sheraton University Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Thursday, April 29 to Saturday, May 1, 2004
NBA Professional Development Conference
Marriott Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee
Thursday, October 21 to Saturday, October 23, 2004

For more information about these meetings contact

National Braille Association
Three Townline Circle
Rochester, NY 14623 2513
(585) 427 8260
web site

California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)

CTEVH XLV Annual Conference
Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, Los Angeles, California
Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14, 2004

For more information about this meeting contact

741 North Vermont Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90029-3594
(323) 666 2211
or Dee Konczal, conference coordinator
(805) 654 6396.

Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida (VAVF)

VAVF 2004 Conference of Volunteers
Orlando, Florida (hotel and dates to be announced)

For more information about this meeting contact

Susie Coleman, VAVF President
1826 Bartram Circle West
Jacksonville, FL 32207 2294
(904) 725 2427 (voice mail)
e-mail [email protected]
web site

Volunteers master new skills

Between the months of October 2002 and February 2003, certificates in braille transcribing were awarded to 41 persons. Of those, 32 were awarded in literary braille transcribing, 4 in literary braille proofreading, and 5 in mathematics braille transcribing.

Literary Braille Transcribers

Lynda A. Bryant, Talladega
Derrick W. Smith, Talladega
Maurice D. Harris, Wrightsville
James M. Brown, Folsom
Lisa Merriam Ryan, Orange
Lyale R. Shellman, Folsom
José A. Otero, Cheshire
Jo Ann Henry, St. Petersburg
Deborah D. Tapley, Winter Springs
Leonard Neil Davenport, Hardwick
Martha W. Reeves, Roswell
Russell L. Isaac, West Lafayette
Curtis Fort, Anamosa
Michael H. Goehring, Anamosa
Wade M. Marzen, Anamosa
August Richard Schubert, Anamosa
Karen L. Hampton, Louisville
Victoria D. Scarborough, Danville
Francelia Wonders, Ann Arbor
Lorne V. Monroe, Indian Springs
Sherrod Rodell Robinson, Indian Springs
John Lawrence Shadrick, Indian Springs
New York
Amy Jo Firkins, Hilton
Catherine M. Gorman, Buffalo
Charazz Nakwan York, Napanoch
Clarence L. Sauer, Grafton
South Dakota
Korey O. Buchanan, Yankton
Dwight C. Stowe, Yankton
Angela Brewer, Gatesville
Kathryn A. Oliver, Gatesville
Brenda K. Rayburn, Gatesville
Janice Sonshine, Salt Lake City

Literary braille proofreaders

Mathematics Braille Transcribers

Note: Due to a delay in the awarding of evaluator contracts, no literary braille transcribing trial manuscripts were evaluated during the months of October, November and December 2002.

Volunteer Highlights From Network Library Newsletters

Several network libraries recognize the contributions of their volunteers by featuring them in their newsletters. Update extends this recognition by acknowledging two such volunteers below.

"Depression kid" finds satisfaction volunteering at the talking- book library

Jean Walker, a volunteer at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, was recently featured in its newsletter, Bright Future. "We offer our sincere appreciation to Jean for all the valuable hours she contributes to help the library and its patrons," said Jessica Sowle, volunteer coordinator.

Walker, a "depression kid," recalled, "I volunteered to record for the library several years ago when I retired. I read in the paper about the need for volunteer readers. I knew that this was a really great program. My health limits my ability to do physical volunteer work, but I could do this."

Her son Milton, an ordained minister and a minister of music, was born with serious eye problems, necessitating numerous surgeries over the years. "My son does not live in this state, so he does not receive any of my recordings, but he does benefit from programs like this one in his own state." She added, "I would choose to volunteer here even if I did not have a personal interest because I inherited from my parents a love of reading and helping people. I feel truly blessed that my love of reading can be used to benefit others."

The youngest of nine children all of whom grew up on a farm near Rogers, Arkansas Walker was just a teenager when her four brothers volunteered for different branches of the military as World War II started. Wanting to "do her part," she persuaded the board of education to allow her to accelerate her studies, and she graduated from high school at age fifteen.

Walker is an active member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and the Association of Government Accountants and has served as treasurer for both organizations. While still doing income taxes and auditing at home, she enjoys ceramics when she can find the time.

Enthusiastic repair person named Volunteer of the Quarter

Wesley Mueller, one of 61 volunteers working with talking- book machines for the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library, has repaired more than 3,540 machines.

"By using the skills and talents he has developed over his lifetime, Wes makes hundreds of talking-book machines available to library patrons each year. We are pleased to recognize him as Volunteer of the Quarter for his efforts," says Jeanie Pawlowski, volunteer coordinator.

Mueller "answered the call" for volunteers to repair talking book machines shortly after moving to Sun City West with his wife, Anne, in 1988. He met once with Howard Schmidt, a founder of the local TelecomPioneers' sixth repair shop, and became involved in the Pioneers Saguaro Life Member Club. He worked with Schmidt and other volunteers at the shop to learn the basics of machine repair and has continued on his own ever since.

Though most of Arizona's repair volunteers are affiliated with and travel to one of seven group locations, Mueller prefers to repair machines in the convenience of his home. He has a compact, well-equipped work area with everything at arm's length in the front corner of his garage, and he can work any time. Mueller drives 20 miles weekly to the Peoria shop to drop off the machines he has repaired and pick up other machines and replacement parts. His goal is to repair one machine a day, and, most of the time, he succeeds. He has attended several machine-repair workshops where the volunteers learn from NLS staff and exchange ideas and repair techniques with other volunteers.

His enthusiasm for his work with talking books led two of his Sun City West neighbors to also become volunteers. They didn't think machine repair was for them, but both became home delivery volunteers.

As a young man, Mueller worked as an electrician for Ford Motor Company. He spent most of his career as an electrical engineer for Michigan Bell. He had a large woodworking shop in his Michigan home, and he brought along many of his tools when he moved to Arizona. He says repairing machines has become his hobby, replacing the woodworking he used to do.

Miami-Dade Public Library celebrates Volunteer Appreciation Day

Twelve members of the North Miami and Everglades Life Member Clubs of the TelecomPioneers were among the honorees at the Miami-Dade Public Library celebration of volunteers on April 26, 2002.

The two groups, which have a total of 22 active members, spent 3,282 volunteer hours repairing machines during the 2002 fiscal year. Talking Book Library director Barbara Moyer lauded them for their "technically superior work" and for their "organization and training that leads to exceptional quality assurance."

Hazel Day, TelecomPioneers Region 16 coordinator, was one of four volunteers selected to address the group of more than 100 volunteers and staff. She took the moment to discuss the work of TelecomPioneers and the importance of their efforts repairing cassette book machines.

Volunteer Appreciation Day was held at the West Dade Regional Library to recognize the outstanding contributions of the Miami-Dade Public Library system's 304 volunteers, who participate in activities ranging from literacy tutoring to leading discussion groups. The library system reported that the total volunteer hours of the year was equivalent to 20 full-time employees.

(Photo caption: Raymond Santiago, Miami-Dade Public Library System director, with Marion (Red) Day, TelecomPioneers Florida talking books chairman; and his wife, Hazel Day, TelecomPioneers Region 16 coordinator)

In memoriam

Gailerd Tisdall: helped found Arizona repair group

"It is with sadness that we note the death of longtime machine-repair volunteer Gailerd Tisdall. He passed away on May 27, 2002," reports Jeanie Pawlowski, volunteer coordinator, Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library (ABTBL).

Tisdall and his wife lived in Sun City. They were members of the Sun City Life Member Club of TelecomPioneers. Tisdall attended the first meeting held in February 1990 to establish a new repair group to help with a large machine backlog that existed at that time. He volunteered with that group from the beginning and often gave 80 or more volunteer hours a month. He is one of three library volunteers whose name is inscribed on the 10,000-hour plaque hanging in the ABTBL. His total number of volunteer hours had reached 11,990 by December 2001, when health problems prevented him from repairing machines any longer.

"Gailerd was a fine example of the dedication shown by our machine-repair volunteers. We thank him for his service to the Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library," says Pawlowski.

D.C. Regional Library shows off for seniors

The D.C. Regional Library, Washington, D.C., was one of 80 exhibitors at the 39th Annual Senior Citizens Day and Service Expo held May 29, 2003, at the new Washington Convention Center.

Approximately 3,000 seniors who live independently in the community or in nursing homes attended, providing an audience for Grace Lyons, director of the District of Columbia Regional Library for the Blind, and her staff to meet and greet. Lyons said, "The city goes all out to get the seniors in. The D.C. government actually buses people in, though some came by Metro. It's a very big day for the community and gives us an opportunity to have a strong presence at this important event for seniors. We have been going for 25 years." Her team discussed eligibility and the benefits of the program, dispersed information and applications, and demonstrated the C-1 cassette book machine using local author E. Ethelbert Miller's Fathering Words: The Making of an African American Writer.

The annual event, which showcases and celebrates aging in the District of Columbia, is held every May in accordance with the national observance of Older Americans Month. It "allows senior citizens to participate in a citywide celebration and receive valuable information and resources," said Courtney Williams, community planner and special events coordinator of the D.C. Office on Aging, organizer of the activity.

[Photo caption: D.C. Regional Library director Grace Lyons (left) and a member of her staff discuss the talking-book program with a booth visitor during Washington, D.C.'s annual Senior Day activities.]

Volunteer reads braille book during citywide Read-A-Thon

Fresno County Library staff, local dignitaries, interested citizens, and local celebrities, including Talking Book Library for the Blind patron and volunteer Sandra Lindley, took turns reading aloud in a Read-A-Thon featuring The Grapes of Wrath (RC 21574) last September.

Lindley read from a braille volume supplied by the Sacramento Braille and Talking Book Library. Her reading raised public awareness that the book is available in formats other than print. KGPE TV Channel 47 news anchor Kevin Walsh, the next reader, was so fascinated by Lindley's braille reading that he did a story on her volunteer activities at the library, which was aired as part of the station's Stories from the Heart series.

The Grapes of Wrath Celebration was sponsored by the California State Library, California Council for the Humanities, and the Califomia Center for the Book. Local support was provided by the Fresno County Public Library, Fresno County Office of Education, City of Fresno, Fresno Art Museum, The Fresno Bee, and Valley Independent Publishers.

The event was held at the local Krispy Kreme store. Each participant read for approximately 20 minutes. It took about 24 hours to complete the book.

New poster series promotes the joy of sharing talking books

NLS will release the first of six posters in its new series in October 2003. Designed to enhance the public awareness of the efforts of network libraries, one poster will be released every six months over the next three years. As in the past, the poster themes were developed based on library responses to a network survey conducted in January 2002.

The first poster in the series, A Good Book Is Worth Sharing, features "Bud" and Billy Jean Keith, patrons of the Arlington, Virginia, subregional library. Both have used NLS materials since they were high schoolers in the 1950s and have remained patrons through the years, even while living abroad. Living in London during the 1970s, Billy Jean received her books through the District of Columbia Regional Library. Bud recalled collecting his books from the American Embassy in Panama while serving in the Peace Corps between 1965 and 1967. He said 75 to 80 percent of his reading is "escapist." Bud quips, "I love to let my mind wander. It's imagination and I learn a lot."

Billy Jean retired in 1998 as a policy analyst for the National Council on Disability and currently works part-time as a peer counselor for the Endependence Center of Northern Virginia, a private nonprofit organization that helps handicapped people lead independent lives. Her husband is a retired employee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. He holds a Ph.D. in Adult/Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh.

In addition to the retired couple sharing a book, two other poster themes in the new series focus on the pleasures of reading together. One portrays a grandfather reading a print/braille book to his small granddaughter, while the second shows Latino patrons sharing a print/braille book with their 18-month-old son, while their 12-year-old daughter looks on. The remaining posters depict an African American patron with a guide dog visiting a library, a young visually impaired couple experimenting in the kitchen, and a visually impaired patron painting an image while listening to a talking book.

The full-color posters are available in two sizes: 17" x 22" and 8-1/2" x 11". The smaller size comes both with an easel back for stand-up display and without the easel for bulletin board posting. Each poster can be customized with the name, address, and telephone number of the local cooperating library. Availability of the posters will be announced by a media services bulletin.

(Photo caption: Arlington, Virginia, patrons Raymond "Bud" and Billy Jean Keith are featured in a poster to be released October 2003.)

What I've learned as a narrator in the talking-books program

by Susan Barlow

Pronunciation has been a challenge for me in my 15-plus years as a talking-book narrator. When I started volunteering at the Greater Hartford, Connecticut, unit, I thought my pronunciation was great. After all, I pronounce February as "Feb roo ary," not "Feb yoo ary." However, I discovered that I had a lot to learn about pronunciation. The biggest surprise was that I had to look up in the dictionary words that I use all the time, words that it never occurred to me to look up, words that I know like the back of my hand!

Unfortunately, I had mispronounced them in subtle ways for so long that they sounded fine to me. For example, I pronounced "Appalachian" almost correctly, but used an "sh" sound instead of a "ch" sound in the last syllable. "Appalachian" has more than one acceptable pronunciation, but not my particular variation.

Of course, I ended up making several corrections in the tape during narration. This took more time and energy than it would have taken to check the dictionary in the first place. But I didn't know to look it up. I had so much confidence in my speech that I resented the "criticism" of the reviewer. I think I even double-checked "their criticism" by looking up "Appalachian" right there in the studio's dictionary, expecting to see my "sh" sound as a variation. But, alas, the reviewer was absolutely correct.

Did I learn this lesson just once? Did "Appalachian" send me to the dictionary for more words during preparation of my book? Not exactly. At least not for words that I "really" knew. So, "Appalachian" was followed by "pecan," pronounced in New England as "PEA can," and not found as such in any dictionary I could get a hold of. "Pecan" was in a recipe book, whose author was fond of pecans. The monitor and I made quite a few corrections on that one!

And then there was "Massachusetts." Hey, I live right next to Massachusetts. Why would I look it up? But the dictionary seemed to think that each "s" letter had an "s" sound, not a "z" sound. I pronounced it "zetts" at the end, instead of "setts."

Slowly, this lesson sank in: it's easier to check the dictionary than to make corrections. Even when you end up confirming that you are pronouncing the word correctly, it's still easier in the end to check. Plus, you're not wasting the monitor's and the reviewer's time, studio time, and your own time.

The monitors and reviewers have enough work without looking up words in the dictionary. And even when we don't want to see their little comments, we can learn a lot from them. They aren't criticizing; they're just correcting.

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." -Franklin P. Jones, businessman (1887 to 1929) A.Word.A.Day, March 27, 2003 (A.Word.A.Day is free and available at [email protected])

Susan Barlow is a narrator for the Connecticut Volunteer Services for the Blind and Handicapped at the Greater Hartford unit.


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Posted on 2011-01-10

Posted on 2011-01-10