Associated Services presents Louis Braille Awards

Associated Services for the Blind (ASB),Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, held its 44th annual Louis Braille Awards ceremony onOctober 22, 2003, honoring Carl Augusto, "an individual who has made a significant contribution on behalf of people who are blind or visually impaired," and two organizations that have "expended tremendous efforts to promote independence amongthose with visual disabilities." More than 150 people attended the event, which was held at the Penn's Landing Hyatt Regency.

James O'Rourke, Patricia Johnson, and Carl 
	AugustoPhoto Caption: James O'Rourke (left), president and CEO of Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc., who accepted the Corporate Award on behalf of Verizon Communications; Patricia C. Johnson, president and CEO of Associated Services for the Blind; and Carl Augusto, president and CEO of the American Foundationfor the Blind

Carl Augusto, president and chief executive officer of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and a preeminent leader in the field of blindness and visual impairment, received the individual Louis Braille Award. Verizon Communications, Inc., received the corporate award for its literacy campaign to ensure that children who are blind and visually impaired are given braille textbooks at the same time as sighted children. Wills Eye Hospital received the special recognition award for providing the finest medical care available and a full spectrum of services to benefit people with visual disabilities.

Montana Talking Book Library volunteers honored

The Montana Talking Book Library (MTBL) honored its volunteers at a Volunteer Appreciation Day event in September 2003 at the Fort Harrison Service Club in Helena. "Our 100-plus volunteers are essential to the Talking Book Library," said regional librarian Christie Briggs. "They are committed to serving our patrons and have made a difference in the lives of countless Montanans." She added, "The number of volunteer hours donated to the Montana Talking Book Library equals the work of six full-time employees. We could not offer the quality of service we do without these generous, dedicated people."

Author Ellen Baumler of Helena gave the keynote address, reading from her book Spirit Tailings.

The Special Appreciation Award was given to Dorothy Carpenter, who contributes to MTBL in many ways. The TelecomPioneer Appreciation Award was presented to veteran member Glen Rasmussen. The Recording Team of the Year Award went to Jean Smith (narrator), Darlene Lloyd (monitor), and Giles Walker (reviewer), for outstanding contributions to the MTBL recording program. MTBL also honored Lea Blunn, who has served as a volunteer for 20 years, and Tom Basinger, a retired TelecomPioneer who has volunteered for 35 years.

During the 2003 event, Youth Appreciation Awards were presented by Karen Strege, state librarian, to Erin Vashro, Brynn McKinney, and Alexis (Lexie) Lund. Vashro cleaned all of the playback machines last summer to get them ready for MTBL's patrons. McKinney, in her first year as a summer youth volunteer, worked with Brittany Eldredge creating print/braille children's books. Lund, who began volunteering at the age of 12, is the first youth volunteer to receive a five-year award. She has mastered many volunteer tasks at the Montana Talking Book Library.

Five-year Appreciation Awards were presented to Don Copley, Vernie Kralicek, Alice Morse, and Bob Tubbs. Six persons received ten-year Appreciation Awards: Cookie Basinger, Bill Bell, Mary Davis, Barb Harris, Myrle Tompkins, and Cylene Wood.

Only in Santa Fe: The long-lost library on Camino Carlos Rey

There's a secret library nearly hidden away at the New Mexico State Library on Santa Fe's Camino Carlos Rey. This is where the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is located, but if you are not looking for this particular service, it's apt to go unnoticed. One of four volunteers at the library, Art Hemmendinger, who rebuilds the special cassette players used in the program, is a retired nuclear physicist. The other three volunteers happen to be scientists as well. This didn't happen by accident. Each was recruited by Hemmendinger.

"There's a certain amount of trauma in retiring," Hemmendinger said matter-of-factly. "People say, 'Oh, it's so nice you do this for the library.' Well, I do it for me. I value this job very much. It keeps me alert. I'm constantly solving problems," remarked Hemmendinger.

Hemmendinger is 91 years old, and it just takes a couple of minutes to realize that he is still giving the orders and is as sure of himself as when he worked at the labs in Los Alamos. His mischievous blue eyes level at you when he makes a point.

"We have 9,000 tape machines in the inventory. They all belong to the Library of Congress," he said. "So when people call in to order books (on tape), the machines and the tapes travel free through the mail." Hemmendinger explained that the Library of Congress also sends out the parts to fix the machines. Each time a tape machine is returned, covers are removed and the insides are taken completely apart. The covers are placed in a dishwasher and cleaned. "We do the adjustment for speed, for frequency response, and for battery check," he said. "When it leaves here, it works."

Hemmendinger provided a tour of the facility, a warren of labs and offices, including the carousel room where audiobooks are shelved. "We have about 50,000 titles in here," Hemmendinger said, while walking into a room filled floor to ceiling with green plastic boxes, each about the size of a VCR tape.

Hemmendinger, who describes himself as a tinkerer, built his first ham-radio set when he was 14. He graduated from Cornell in 1933 and from Caltech in 1937. He met his wife, Peggy, when they worked together at the Naval Ordnance Station in New Jersey. They've been married for 58 years, and, according to Hemmendinger, she's still bossing him around.

He said there are no age restrictions on volunteering, and the only thing one really needs is nimble fingers. Having a sense of humor helps too. "Never had young people volunteer," he said. "I don't know why. I'm still trying to scrape up some more volunteers."

Nebraska Talking Book and Braille Service volunteers receive admiralships

Pat Schreurs and Tami Works, long-standing Talking Book and Braille Service volunteers, were named admirals in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska. Rod Wagner, director of the Nebraska Library Commission, presented the honorary titles (signed by Governor Mike Johanns) to these volunteers during individual receptions honoring their 20-year anniversaries. They also received appreciation certificates from the Library Commission.

Tami Works 
	and Pat Schreurs Photo caption: Tami Works and Pat Schreurs.

Thousands of Nebraskans who receive cassette magazines from the library have benefited from Pat Schreurs' service as a quality-check volunteer in tape duplication. Schreurs is dedicated and reliable, even when weather has the city at a standstill. She juggles her personal schedule around her volunteer job and is willing to work until the task is finished. Volunteer work is her therapy, keeping her busy when life gets rough. As a patron of Talking Book and Braille Service, Schreurs knows the value of having reading material to enjoy.

Tami Works brought her sensitivity, love of reading, and spirit of service to the program when she began narration in the Talking Book studios 20 years ago. Even in the course of facility renovation and relocation, Works maintained her good humor and upbeat attitude.

Works has narrated numerous magazines and more than 20 books, including Love, Sex, and Tractors; Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps; Dirt, Homefield: Sonata in Rural Voice; and Waiting for My Sailor. She is presently narrating The Weight of Dreams.

Nebraska studio volunteers honored

Nebraska studio volunteers. Photo Caption: Mariann Schafer, Mark Janda, Jane Knox, Nebraska's First Ladu Stephanie Johannns, Jerry Hall, B.J. Dennis, Beth McNeil, Governor Mike Johannns, Majory Gloe, TBBS studio manager Bill Ainsley, John Nellssen, Frances Buell, Norman Simon, Roy Bailey, and Tami Works.

Stephanie Johanns, wife of Nebraska governor Mike Johanns, presented the Nebraska Library Commission's studio volunteers with the 2003 First Lady's Outstanding Community Service Award in the Volunteer in the Arts category. Each year these studio volunteers record 16 magazines and newsletters (146 issues) and 20 to 25 books, contributing an ever-increasing number of hours that now total 1,900 annually. Two of the four studio magazines, Capper's and Report on Disability Programs, are distinguished by their acceptance into the Library of Congress Quality Assurance Program.

In addition to recording magazines about Nebraska and the Midwest, studio volunteers provide the primary source of access to recorded versions of books written by distinguished Nebraska authors.

Mrs. Johanns made the presentation at an awards luncheon held in conjunction with the 2003 Governor's Conference on Community Service at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. Jeff Schroeder represented the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service (TBBS) volunteers at the first annual Volunteer Recognition Celebration sponsored by Volunteer Partners. TBBS director Dave Oertli introduced Schroeder, who told the 200-member audience about his volunteer work. For six years Jeff has volunteered four days a week erasing and sorting magazine tapes. Schroeder and Oertli also added a quilt square to a design depicting the agencies that participate in Volunteer Partners.

Dave Oertli and Jeff Schroeder. Photo caption: Dave Oertli and Jeff Schroeder.

Volunteer Partners was established in 2000 to link volunteers to agencies and to promote volunteerism in Lincoln, Nebraska, and surrounding Lancaster County. Annette Hall, volunteer services coordinator, served on the planning committee for the event.

Elfun milestones in 2003

The Cincinnati Elfun Chapter had a year of significant achievements in 2003. Just two of these achievements were shipping its 40,000th machine and receiving the Mutual of America Foundation award along with its partner organization, the Cincinnati Association for the Blind.

In addition, eight new volunteers joined the group, raising the number of Elfun repair volunteers in Cincinnati, Ohio, to 99. The shop repaired 3,654 machines, 921 amplifier boards, 67 motor control boards, and 212 jack boards. The shop also rejuvenated 3,654 NiCad batteries and overhauled two 24-channel battery chargers, which can now charge 92 batteries simultaneously.

Over the history of the program, GE Cincinnati Elfun volunteers have spent 168,000 hours repairing 41,403 machines, saving the NLS program nearly $2,139,244. These savings have made it possible for NLS to procure more books for patrons.

The GE Fort Wayne Elfun Society repair program also enjoyed a banner year of cassette book machine (CBM) repair in 2003. The group continued to do a tremendous job in providing repaired machines to blind and physically handicapped patrons. Twenty-seven senior and two regular volunteers participated in the machine repair program in 2003, contributing 5,010 service hours. They saved NLS an estimated $65,440 through repair of 1,636 CBMs and components, which reflected an impressive increase of 20 percent over the previous year. Productivity per unit improved to 3.1 hours.

Over the life of the Fort Wayne Elfun repair program, the group has repaired 6,867 machines. The estimated cost savings to NLS from this effort is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, enabling NLS to produce more books for patrons. The Fort Wayne Elfuns held a luncheon on April 21, 2003, to celebrate their repair efforts.

Volunteers master new skills

From July through September 2003, 88 people received certificates in braille transcribing, including 87 in literary braille and one in mathematics braille. There were no new certifications from October to December 2003. From January to March 2004, 57 people received certificates in braille transcribing. Fifty-five of those were awarded in literary braille transcribing and two in music braille transcribing.

Literary Braille Transcribers


Glen E. Dees, Phoenix

Robert Earl Kroncke, Phoenix

Poincianna J. McKerlie, Phoenix

Mary Lee Miller, Eagle River


Pamela L. Anderson, Oakley

Deana Mae Banasky, Madera

Thomas A. Doherty, Hemet

Vicki E. Garrett, San Ramon

Mary E. Ghosoph, Temple City

Danielle A. Hawthorne, Oxnard

Cheryl A. Hewlett, Grass Valley

Clementine J. Louie, Fresno

Saralyn McSorley, Lemon Grove

Vivian M. Peterson, Discovery Bay

Marcetta Ponzio, Arcadia

Barbara Ragsdale, Concord

Carolyn Zacks, Studio City


Alfredo Marty, Cheshire

Efrain P. Morales, Cheshire


Shirley M. Baker, Longwood

Barbara A. Boone, Jacksonville

Karol S. Brunick, Orlando

Randi G. Farissier, Palm Harbor

Lorie Fisher, Jacksonville

Allan S. Gelb, Orlando

Marcia Gelb, Orlando

Diana L. Gemmiti, Clearwater

Susan E. Jourdan, Longwood

Nancy M. Meinhardt, Trinity

John Edwin Miller, Geneva

Roberta J. Mondelli, De Leon Springs

Nancy Plotnikoff, Orlando

Trudi M. Robinson, St. Petersburg

Debra H. Warren, Orlando


Jack Harold Pendleton, Hardwick

Jake Rogers, Hardwick

Claire Scott, Atlanta

Susan J. Stevens, Tyrone


John William McCloughan, Boise


William Hoskins, Anamosa

Harold E. Meyer, Anamosa

Lennie D. Miller, Anamosa

Robert A. Stairs, Anamosa


Deborah Ann Hacker, Louisville

Wilma Hall, Louisville

Jayma L. Hawkins, Louisville

Kurt M. Higby, Lexington

Elizabeth A. Hill, Louisville

Martez Jackson, Lexington

James R. Kelley, Lexington

Kenneth D. Willis, Lexington


Christine E. Behrens, Grandville

Hope M. Carney, Novi

Rosh H. Holmes, Jackson

Jane M. King, Detroit

Jon P. Kittle, Jackson

Tomas L. Kowalak, Jackson

James Mitchell, Jackson

George Wilson, Jackson


Bonnie Alexander, St. Paul

Fernando Gonzalez, Waseca

David Hanrahan, St. Paul

Amy Rhode-Tarpey, St. Paul


Kristi L. Rooney, Lincoln

Frederick J. Van Ackeren, Lincoln

Betty Wolff, Lincoln


Charles G. Human, Indian Springs

John Derrick Koinzan, Lovelock

William Wesley Edward McGee, Las Vegas

Patrick J. O'Kelly, Indian Springs

Casey J. Olesen, Las Vegas

New Jersey

Jean B. Callender, Cedar Grove

Jacqueline T. Camuso, Fairfield

Tracy Carruthers, Morristown

Camille S. Garretson, Morris Plains

Anna Marie Kinney, Fairfield

Marie Lattari, Denville

Meta Linde, Succasunna

Patricia A. Meyers, Verona

Carolyn L. Ruby, Montclair

Diane Teresa Spilman, Long Valley

New Mexico

Alma Louise Dominguez, Alamogordo

Ruthie J. Ford, Alamogordo

New York

Anita Adams, Palmyra

Laura J. Bowen, Hilton

Elaine R. Brady, Fairport

Julia A. Devries, West Henrietta

Ann L. Hafner, Rochester

Sandy Hollands, Webster

Betty Lou Hope, Rochester

Susan Keegan, Hilton

Eileen M. Kissel, Rochester

Barbara H. Lewis, New York

Ann Latorre MacNally, Fairport

Sandra M. Nichols, Hamlin

Rosanne M. Travers, Fairport

Carol Y. Witzel, Rochester

Ronald F. Witzel, Rochester

North Carolina

Anthony O. Boyd, Weldon

Alexandria Lord, Asheville


Rickey Bell, Grafton

Clark J. Fischer, Grafton

Alan L. Ward, Grafton

Bobby C. Ward, Cleveland

Joseph E. Warren, Grafton


Jane S. Johnson, Roseburg

Peggy J. Spiess, Eugene


Mark S. Dunmire, Harrisburg

Shirley E. Lisk, Philadelphia

Jennifer Lynn Shaffer, Cambridge Springs

Hildegard Stephans, Sellersville

South Carolina

Cynthia D. Belue, Greenwood

Cheryl G. Peduzzi, Greenwood

Tora T. Walters, Greenwood

South Dakota

Bruce A. Bower, Yankton

Herbert A. Daniels, Yankton

Willy Furlong, Yankton


Linda M. Duron, Gatesville

Elaine Gary, Tomball

Linda Gilmore, Lubbock

Elizabeth P. Guerra, San Antonio

Sailaja Hathaway, Gatesville

Pamela L. Hubbard, Gatesville

Melanie Marchand, San Antonio

Patricia Nayomi Miller, Gatesville

Paquita Ramirez, Spring

Amelia A. Saunders, Gatesville

Leticia Silva, San Antonio

Keisha P. Walker, Gatesville

Donna Watts, Gatesville

Linda C. Wharton, Gatesville


Laura Ferrer, Leesburg

Heidi Lehmann, Richmond


Susan Fleming, Ocean Shores

Starr Lake, Vancouver


Barbara Althoen, Glendale

Joel G. Devore, Middleton

Patricia L. Diel, Milwaukee

Lori A. Hanson, Madison

Diane M. Peterson, Menomonee Falls

Barbara Schlinkert, Madison


Jonathan William McGhee, Manila

Mathematics Braille Transcriber

New York

Eilene J. Edwards, New York Mills

Music Braille Transcribers


Terry Harris, Folsom

Ruth Nodder Wallace, Porterville

Braille student-instructor dialog

The Braille Development Section receives numerous questions concerning a variety of problems in braille transcribing. This article addresses some of those issues. The question-and-answer format is intended to provide 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. It is recommended in Section 2.5a of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, Fourth Edition, 2000, that words should not be divided between braille pages. However, Rule I.5a of the official code, English Braille American Edition, 1994, says that a word may be divided between braille pages. Will points be deducted from my score if I divide a word between braille pages on my trial manuscript?

Instructor: It is true that Section 2.5a of the instruction manual recommends that words not be divided between braille pages in order to maintain smoother reading. However, since Rule I.5a does not forbid the practice of dividing a word between braille pages, points should not be deducted from your score on your trial manuscript. Keep in mind that if words are divided between braille pages, this practice should be followed consistently throughout the trial manuscript.

Student: I assume then that since I have not been dividing words between braille pages for the lessons in the braille-transcribing course, I should not divide them between pages in my trial manuscript.

Instructor: That is correct. The practice varies between braille-producing agencies, which are allowed flexibility in terms of when to divide words.

Student: I have one final question about dividing words between braille pages. Can a hyphenated compound word such as "self-expression" be divided between braille pages?

Instructor: Yes. Hyphenated or compound words, such as "self-expression" or "toll-free," may be divided between braille pages after the hyphen that separates the two words in the hyphenated compound word.

Student: I have studied Lesson 19 of the instruction manual and I am still confused about whether a chapter should always start on a new braille page.

Instructor: You are not alone. If 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 title, its preceding and following blank lines, and at least one line of braille text. Remember that the first chapter of a book must always start on a new braille page.

Student: I am transcribing a book in which the chapter heading consists of both a chapter number and a chapter title. Some of the chapter titles are short and can fit on one braille line. However, a few of them are long and must be divided between lines. I have studied Section 19.6 of the instruction manual, but am still not sure how to transcribe each of the chapter headings.

Instructor: Excellent question. The formatting of a braille book must be consistent. If any chapter title in a book is too long to be placed on the same braille line as the chapter number, then all chapter headings should be written so that the chapter number is centered on one line and the chapter title is centered on the next line.

Student: When a chapter number and a chapter title are placed on one braille line, should I follow print placement on the braille line?

Instructor: No. When a chapter number and a chapter title are placed on one braille line, the chapter number is always brailled first followed by the chapter title—regardless of print placement.

Student: I have one final question about chapter headings. One of my chapter titles is long. It is possible to write the entire title on one braille line using all 40 cells. Is this permissible?

Instructor: No. A long heading, requiring more than 34 cells, should be divided and centered on consecutive braille lines. At least three blank cells should be left at the beginning and the ending of each line.


National Braille Association (NBA)

NBA Professional Development Conference
Marriott Hotel Memphis, Tennessee
Thursday, October 21—Saturday, October 23, 2004
NBA 28th National Professional Development Conference and 60th Anniversary
Marriott Quorum Hotel Dallas, Texas
Thursday, April 14—Saturday, April 16, 2005
NBA Fall Professional Development Conference
DoubleTree Hotel Seattle, Washington
Thursday, October 20—Saturday, October 22, 2005

For more information about these meetings, contact:

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

California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)

CTEVH XLVI Annual Conference
San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel Burlingame, California
Friday, March 4—Sunday, March 6, 2005

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 2005 Conference of Volunteers
Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs Hotel Altamonte Springs (Orlando), Florida
Monday, March 21—Wednesday, March 23, 2005

For more information about this meeting, contact:

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

In Memoriam

Marcia S. Leibowitz (1934—2004), Florida volunteer

Marcia S. Leibowitz, 69, died on February 17, 2004, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Mrs. Leibowitz began her volunteer service to blind and visually impaired people as a tape narrator in Poughkeepsie, New York. She then learned braille transcribing through a braille group, receiving Library of Congress certification as a literary braille transcriber in 1971 and certification in the Nemeth braille code in 1992.

After moving to Florida with her family in the early 1970s, Mrs. Leibowitz served for many years as president of the Temple Sisterhood Braille Group in Jacksonville, as well as the group's braille instructor for the literary and Nemeth codes, and for MegaDots, a computer software braille program.

"Marcia taught me so much about computers and about braille. She was patient and kind, and always had such a good sense of humor, making learning fun. The Temple Sisterhood Braille Group was fortunate to have her expertise and she will be sorely missed by all those who knew and loved her," a member of the group said.

She also served as president of the statewide braille group, Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida (VAVF) in Tampa, and was a member of the National Braille Association (NBA).

Joni Bush, a braille transcriber from Colorado Springs, Colorado, recalled meeting Marcia Leibowitz several years ago when she was grading Bush's Nemeth work. "She was so caring and encouraging and soon became a friend. She invited my husband, Charles, and me to come to the VAVF conference in Jacksonville and took us both under her wing. We enjoyed many hours together. We especially appreciate all the help she gave both of us in learning braille. She was e-mailing me some Nemeth help just days before she died. Her death saddens us deeply."

In 1996 Mrs. Leibowitz became the advisor on the Nemeth Braille Code for the NLS Braille Development Section, Library of Congress.

She is survived by her son, Harry Rubin; two daughters, Ellen Rubens and Perle Weinberger; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.


Update is published by:

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress
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Only one issue of Update was produced in 2004.

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Posted on 2011-01-10

Posted on 2011-01-10