www.seniorcorps.org connects volunteers with opportunities

A new federal agency may provide a solution to some network libraries' human resources needs.

"The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) offers an excellent opportunity for network libraries to bolster their volunteer ranks," says Brad Kormann, chief of the NLS Materials Development Division.

RSVP, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides volunteer placement services for people aged 55 and older. RSVP is one of three programs that make up the Senior Corps, the larger network of programs designed for senior volunteers. RSVP volunteers participate in 766 projects run at the county, regional, and state levels. In one year, RSVP placed more than 485,000 volunteers through 67,500 agencies; and sister programs Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions report that 28,000 and 14,700 volunteers, respectively, have helped nearly 300,000 children and adults. RSVP programs are administered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Kormann suggests that network libraries "serve as volunteer stations, where seniors can volunteer their time as a service to blind and physically handicapped members of their communities. Volunteers can box machines, send out orders and information to patrons, and help out with recruiting other volunteers."

To enroll as a volunteer station, network libraries enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the nearest RSVP office. While each local office has its own requirements, the RSVP program generally requires a staff liaison, a description of volunteer duties, and the collection and submission of time and attendance reports. In return, the RSVP office will locate and engage volunteers and furnish insurance coverage for them.

For more information about becoming a volunteer station, visit www.seniorcorps.org/joining/rsvp/index.html or www.nationalservice.org/about/family/state_offices.html to locate an RSVP office; or call Service Corps general information at 800-424-8867.

Seniors interested in volunteer opportunities should visit www.seniorcorps.org.

Montana library studio moves toward inclusion in national catalog

The NLS Quality Assurance Program at the Multistate Center East (MSCE QA) gave the green light for the Montana Talking Book Library's recording studio to pursue approval for including its books and magazines in the NLS catalog.

The MSCE QA Program for network-produced magazines and books, Cincinnati, Ohio, critiques the work of volunteer studios (which primarily produce material of local interest) to help them meet rigorous NLS book production standards. At the first level, the MSCE QA Program informally reviews and compares the works to NLS standards and informs the studio of its strengths and weaknesses. The quality assurance specialist also works with studio directors to help them eliminate weaknesses and qualify for formal review. The advanced analysis emphasizes format, quality, and narration.

Montana regional librarian Christie Briggs said the Montana Talking Book Library (MTBL) submitted two recordings--a book and a magazine--for "the opportunity to get a national stamp of approval." She said the MTBL chose to take the additional steps toward NLS certification because it "has recorded some great books, and all patrons should have access to them." Adhering to NLS's quality and formatting standards will allow Montana's locally produced recordings to be duplicated and distributed to other libraries by MSCE and through the NLS Union catalog. The process will not be easy, but the staff "welcomes the opportunity for criticism and improvement," said Briggs.

The MTBL has begun retraining its recording studio personnel to meet NLS specifications for format, announcements, production quality, narration, monitoring, and synopsis--the major distinctions between Montana TBL recordings and NLS's.

MTBL's first submissions were the spring 2001 issue of Montana: The Magazine of Western History and the book Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History, edited by David Walter. MSCE QA specialist Christopher Mundy stated that "both recordings showed strengths in formatting, production, and narration."

Briggs added, "MTBL has been producing high-quality recordings for years. Soon we will be able to say that our reader-monitor teams produce a nationally recognized product for our patrons." The teams, who are supported in the recording process by reviewers and managers, work out of two separate studios. One, established at the library in Helena in 1982, was renovated to include soundproof booths in 1990 and uses 13 teams of volunteers. The second studio is located at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and is used by four teams of minimum-security inmates.

(photo caption: Narrator Mike Sullivan on duty in Montana studio.)

TelecomPioneers receive commendation for service

The TelecomPioneers talking-book repair regional coordinators received a commendation for service from NLS at a special ceremony on Thursday, October 4, 2002.

Brad Kormann, chief of the NLS Materials Development Division, and Kevin Watson, equipment repair officer, expressed appreciation to the coordinators during a preconference of the TelecomPioneers Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, October 4-5, 2002. Kormann read the commendation, signed by NLS director Frank Kurt Cylke, which said:

The TelecomPioneers talking-book repair coordinators have worked diligently to provide the best possible management of the talking-book repair service for over half a million patrons...Thanks to the efforts of the Pioneers volunteers, over 2.2 million machines have been repaired, a savings value of over $80 million.

Receiving recognition were Jerry Adamson, Joe Bernal, and Betty Cox of SBC; Darrell Teske of AT&T; Luther Buckbee of Verizon; Hazel Buck and Jim Marriner of BellSouth; George Radley of Bell Canada; Robert Orton of Qwest; and Lew Parham of New Outlook Pioneers.

Frank Fagan, president of TelecomPioneers and chairman of the board, and Jim Gadd, chief executive officer, presided over the breakfast event. Members of the TelecomPioneers board were also in attendance.

Elfun partnership recognized for contribution to blind and physically handicapped individuals 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 November 25, 2002. The award recognized 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 distributed to visually impaired people by CAB. 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 criteria for the Community Partnership Award are the duration of the partnership (a minimum of one year), a demonstration that the partnership has made a difference, the ability of the partnership to be replicated and stimulate new ideas to address social issues, and the partnership's commitment to advancing the mission and principles of the organization.

Narrator returns to Arizona studio after 20-year break

Laurie Schnebly Campbell, former narrator at Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library, is back at the mike after 20 years--but this time she's narrating her own novels.

The romance author is narrating her first novel, And Father Makes Three (a Route 66 romance), for the library's collection. It was chosen as the Silhouette Special Edition Premiere title of 1995 and also nominated by Romantic Times as the year's Best First Series Romance.

After her first book was published, Campbell had a three-year dry spell, during which she discovered that a first sale doesn't guarantee ongoing success. But she also realized that the real fun is in the actual writing, not the selling--a fact she emphasizes whenever she gives a workshop for writers.

Campbell's second novel, Unexpected Family, a Madame Butterfly story in which the heroine is the American wife, earned another 4-star Gold Review and "Top Pick of the Month" from Romantic Times, which later ranked it as one of the "top 200 romance novels" ever.

Her third Silhouette Special Edition, Good Morning, Stranger, set in an Arizona ski town, hit the bookstores in March 2000. Her fourth book, Home at Last, about a Phoenix detective and Tucson mom who share a secret past, was published in March 2001, and her fifth, set in Scottsdale and Sedona, will be out July 2003.

When she's not writing or speaking to writers' groups, Campbell is juggling many other responsibilities, such as a husband and son, full-time commercial production for an advertising agency, teaching a catechism class, and counseling newly diagnosed diabetics. Campbell is often asked how she finds time to do it all, and she quips, "It's easy. I never clean house."

"Keep up the good work, Laurie. You are a fine example to all of us. We are your biggest fans," said Jill Bartlett, outreach librarian, of the Arizona Talking Book and Braille Library.

(photo caption: Laurie Schnebly Campbell)

Talking-book marker saves marriage

Montana Talking Book Library (MTBL) patron Jim Daily got tired of rewinding cassette books to find the place where he left off reading, so he developed the talking-book marker, according to Christie Briggs, regional librarian.

Daily enjoys reading in bed and, like many people who read in bed, he often falls asleep midway through a chapter. Most sighted readers simply thumb through the pages until they find the place where they stopped. But Daily had to press "rewind" on his cassette book machine until he heard something familiar. Not only is that time consuming and frustrating, Daily said, but "the noise the tape player makes when rewinding and fast-forwarding is grating enough to send my wife Mitzi's temper through the roof."

The 64-year-old Butte resident noted, "Your lifestyle changes when you lose your vision." For him, those changes came almost overnight. Daily explained that, in December 1995, he was using a glue gun to do some carpentry work. "I glued my wrist for some strange reason," he said. He took a nap and, when he awoke, he had no vision in his right eye. Doctors discovered he had a blockage in the central vein in the retina, a condition called central retinal vein occlusion. The following December, almost exactly one year later, the same thing happened in his left eye.

"I thought I was doomed," Daily said. "The doctor told me it was unusual for it to happen in both eyes. I asked, 'What can we do?' The doctor said, 'Nothing. You're going to go blind.'"

Daily was devastated.

"You start feeling sorry for yourself," he said. "You get tired, but it's a different kind of tired than you're used to. I found that listening to books helped me fall asleep." But Daily's sleep inducer became an unwanted alarm for his wife.

"The noise would scare her," he said. "She'd sit straight up in bed." Combining his carpentry skills with curiosity, Daily disassembled his tape player to see how it worked. He then came up with a switch that he could hold in his hand to start and stop the machine. The very slightest pressure on the switch starts the machine. As long as Daily is awake, his grip kept the talking book playing. But when he drifted off, the pressure on the switch relaxed, and the player stopped. He had solved his problem--and the talking- book marker was born.

Daily took his invention to Briggs in Helena. She recalled, "He brought in this little thing and I said, 'What is it?!' " Once she discovered what it did and how it worked, she saw the potential for helping other MTBL patrons and encouraged Daily to make more markers.

When Daily discovered that his device saved not only frustration but also energy and the wear and tear on audio tapes, Briggs was motivated to find funding to produce the device. She helped Daily apply for a grant from Montana Power Company (now NorthWestern Energy), which granted them $1,500, and Daily added $1,600, which gave them enough to produce 125 markers.

Money trickles in from different sources, too, including a group of women whom Daily has never met. "They send me anywhere from $3 to $16," he said. "They want me to keep track of the money and when enough is there, they buy a talking-book marker for someone who needs one."

Daily makes talking-book markers available at a cost of $12.99 plus $3 for shipping and handling. He estimates that there are perhaps 2,000 talking-book markers throughout the country now. The talking-book marker is used by students with learning disabilities. Daily also fashioned a similar switch for a stroke patient who had a tendency to fall asleep watching television. Some of those who have purchased one are so excited about the invention that they send him thank-you letters.

"It's a wonderful device you have invented and one that I simply cannot do without. May God bless you for this marvelous device," wrote a talking-book marker user in Illinois.

"I no longer have to get cranky trying to find my dropping-off place," wrote another satisfied user. "I think it's saving lots of marriages," Daily said.

While Daily's invention is improving the reading life of so many visually impaired people, he is also noticing improvements in his own vision. "The vision in my left eye started coming back," he said. He attributes the improvement to several things, including a healthy lifestyle, avoiding stress, eating foods with vitamin K, and the support of his family. "My family had a lot to do with it," he said. "Every time I get down, they are there to pick me up."

(photo caption: Jim Daily demonstrates his talking-book marker to Christie Briggs, Montana regional librarian, and Fran Galvin, NorthWestern Energy community relations, Butte, Montana.)

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 recently completed Lesson 19 in the braille- transcribing course and am about to begin work on my 35-page trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification. After studying Lesson 20 in the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, Fourth Edition 2000, I am still uncertain about the type of book that I should choose for my trial manuscript.

Instructor: You are not alone. The print book used for your 35-page trial manuscript should be chosen carefully. It should not be so technical in nature that the student must concentrate on technicalities rather than on producing accurate braille. For example, a book that contains complex formatting problems that are not addressed in the instruction manual should not be chosen for the trial manuscript. On the other hand, the book should not be so elementary that it does not present average vocabulary and sentence structure. The book chosen for the manuscript must use vocabulary approximately at the level of a high school text.

Student: When preparing my lessons for the braille transcribing course, I used the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, Third Edition 1984. Recently, I received a copy of the 2000 edition of the instruction manual, and I am ready to begin working on my 35-page trial manuscript. After reviewing the new edition of the manual, I noticed a number of changes, especially in the formatting of a braille book. Should I submit my trial manuscript according to the rules presented in the new instruction manual?

Instructor: No. If a student has used the 1984 edition of the instruction manual for most of the braille transcribing course, it is recommended that the student prepare the trial manuscript using the 1984 edition of the instruction manual. In this way, the student is less likely to make errors because of the differences between the two editions. Keep in mind that the student should not combine the new rules presented in the 2000 edition of the instruction manual with the old rules given in the 1984 edition.

Student: The book that I am transcribing places several blank lines between paragraphs in print to indicate a change in thought or scene. Each time this format is used, the first paragraph after the break in text is blocked at the left margin, and the first few words are written in all 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. Also, occasionally, for visual appeal, print uses all capital letters in the first few words of a paragraph. This usage often occurs at the beginning of a chapter or other division. In braille, this practice is ignored and normal capitalization is used.

Student: I am starting to work on the contents page for my 35-page trial manuscript. However, the word "contents" is not written in print. Should it be included on the braille contents page?

Instructor: No. Section 19.2f(1) says that if a heading such as "contents" or "table of contents" is not shown in print, such a heading should not be written in braille. In addition, according to Section 19.2f, items that do not appear on the print contents page should not be added in braille.

Student: The print book that I have chosen for my trial manuscript contains an acknowledgments page of materials borrowed from another source. I have studied Section 19.2h(4) of the 2000 edition of the instruction manual, and I am still confused about whether or not this page should be included in my trial manuscript. Could you please clarify this for me?

Instructor: Certainly. When a publisher acknowledges material that is borrowed from another source and it is listed with page numbers in the table of contents, follow the print. If it is placed in the front or back of a book and is not listed in the table of contents, it is placed on a new braille page at the end of the last braille volume. Therefore, if such an acknowledgments page does not appear in the print contents, it should not be included in the trial manuscript. Also, keep in mind that acknowledgments that refer to maps, pictures, and other materials that have been omitted from the braille transcription should not be mentioned. Do not confuse acknowledgments of borrowed materials with an author's personal words of thanks, which are also often entitled "Acknowledgments." (See Section 19.3c of the instruction manual.)

Student: Because I received a grade lower than 80 on my first trial manuscript, I must submit a second one. I understand that if I use the same book for my second trial manuscript, I must transcribe a different portion of the book. However, I am not sure whether I should braille all of the preliminary pages again.

Instructor: No. When it is necessary to submit a second or third trial manuscript, only the title page and the contents page of the preliminary pages are required. Remember that every trial manuscript submitted for Library of Congress certification must contain a title page and a contents page.

Volunteers master new skills

During the months of August and September 2002, certificates in braille transcribing were awarded to 61 people. Of those, 54 were awarded in literary braille transcribing, and seven in mathematics braille transcribing.

Literary Braille Transcribers

Rachael J. Harmon, Talladega
Patty O. Harper, Talladega
Michael A. Denne, Sunnyvale
Tracy D. Gaines, Upland
Elizabeth A. Koen, Los Angeles
Joyce Pedersen, Forbestown
Warren Werbelow, Yucaipa
Mary J. Chambers, Aurora
Kathleen Fay, Elizabeth
Carol S. Potashnick, Centennial
Candido Antonio Torres, Cheshire
Debra Ann Cole, Dover
Teri L. Rains, Felton
Jean A. Morris, Ft. Myers
Nicolette J. Muise, St. Augustine
Shirley R. Fenton, Marietta
Robert F. Hastings, Boise
Frank R. Arnold, West Lafayette
Jeff Anderson, Anamosa
Chris Fevold, Newton
David J. Hart, Newton
Charles N. Newcomer, Newton
Debra L. Guenley, Overland Park
Delania H. Fields, Pewee Valley
Reuben L. Jackson, Lexington
Edward S. Niesz, Lexington
Athena M. Williams, Pewee Valley
Marcia A. Williams, Boston
Mark A. Coleman, Jackson
Ronda Leonard Bystrom, Loretto
Joel Fowler, Waseca
Eileen Bridge, St. Louis
Pennie J. Nickles, Lincoln
Edward C. Bakken II, Las Vegas
Frank Combs, Las Vegas
Lorne Richardson, Lovelock
New Jersey
Anne Harmon Augustyn, Oak Ridge
Susanne Siedlecki-Neumann, Hoboken
New York
Patricia L. Hall, Rochester
Janet W. Jackling, Churchville
Donna J. Kahwati, Webster
Jane D. Kemmer, Rochester
Rhoda F. May, Rochester
Mary VerDow, Palmyra
Taine M. Vinci, Palmyra
James Edward Walker Jr., London
Gladys C. Arnold, Pittsburgh
Susan Baker, Erwinna
Brenda S. Henne, San Antonio
Adriana Rizo, Gatesville
Donna Mae Simon, Gatesville
Leona May Minthorn, Vancouver
West Virginia
Betty S. Kelley, Murraysville
Katherine Dorn, Middleton

Mathematics Braille Transcribers


National Braille Association (NBA)

Twenty-seventh National Conference
Radisson Hotel, Middleburg Heights (Cleveland), Ohio
Thursday, May 1 to Saturday, May 3, 2003
Fall Regional Meeting and Workshops
Best Western Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, November 6 to Saturday, November 8, 2003

For more information about these meetings contact

National Braille Association
Three Townline Circle
Rochester, NY 14623-2513
(716) 427-8260
web site www.nationalbraille.org.

California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)

CTEVH XLIV Annual Conference
Marriott Burlingame Hotel
Burlingame, California (near San Francisco Airport)
Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9, 2003

For more information about this meeting contact

741 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029-3594
(323) 666-2211.

Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida (VAVF)

VAVF 2003 Conference of Volunteers
Sheraton World Resort Hotel, Orlando, Florida
Monday, April 7 to Wednesday, April 9, 2003

For more information about this meeting contact

Susie Coleman, VAVF President-Elect
1826 Bartram Circle West
Jacksonville, FL 32207-2294
(904) 725-2427 (will return call)
e-mail [email protected]
web site www.vavf.org

In memoriam

Fred H. Hicks: Revered for community service work

Telephone Pioneers (now TelecomPioneers) talking-book repair coordinator Fred H. Hicks, 77, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died August 20, 2002, at the DCH Regional Medical Center.

For more than 30 years, Hicks repaired talking-book machines for the patrons of the Tuscaloosa Subregional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Tuscaloosa Public Library. In a letter to the editor of the Tuscaloosa News, Dick Johnson, a fellow Tuscaloosa Pioneer, paid tribute to Hicks:

"Mr. Telephone Pioneer" in Tuscaloosa died last night, August 20, doing what he liked to do--helping others. Fred Hicks, who retired years ago from BellSouth, had a massive stroke while installing a Lifeline service for an elderly person. He died later at the hospital. Fred could just as well have been lugging Pioneers cookbooks to a bookstore to raise money for Pioneers community projects, repairing talking-book machines at the Tuscaloosa Public Library, running errands for elderly people who couldn't drive a vehicle, or helping the current Telephone Pioneer leadership get ready for a monthly meeting.

So often, in so many ways, Fred Hicks gave of himself to help others. His beloved wife, Sue, was always there to support him while also serving others.

Hicks retired from BellSouth in 1982 after 38 years of service. He was a longtime member of the Telephone Pioneers, serving several terms as president of the Tuscaloosa Life Member Club.

During his career, he served several terms on the NLS Ad Hoc Audio Equipment Advisory Committee, and for many years he was responsible for coordinating talking-book machine repairs in seven southeastern states. For his dedicated service to this special population, Hicks received awards from the Alabama Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Alabama Library Association, the Alumni and Workers Association of the Alabama Institute for the Blind, the Alabama Council of the Blind, and the Library of Congress. Hicks also received the Rotary Rose and, in recognition of his commitment to the Tuscaloosa community, the City of Tuscaloosa declared November 4, 1994, as "Fred H. Hicks Day."

Hicks is survived by his wife of 56 years, Addie Sue Lake Hicks; two sons and their wives: Jeffrey and Alice of Gadsden, Alabama, and Timothy and Debra of Pelham, Alabama; and five grandsons.

(photo caption: Fred H. Hicks)


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Posted on 2011-01-10

Posted on 2011-01-10