Senator McCain volunteers as narrator at Arizona State Talking Book Library

Volunteer Joan Miller with Senator John McCain
Photo caption: Volunteer Joan Miller
with Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain honored the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library (BTBL) in late June 2004 by volunteering to narrate his foreword of the book Arizona Goes to War: The Home Front and the Front Lines during World War II, which was edited by Brad Melton and Dean Smith. Arizona Goes to War describes Arizona's contribution to the war effort and the many changes that came to Arizona at that time.

Marshall Trimble, Arizona's official state historian, and Brad Melton, coeditor of the book, wrote other portions of the introductory material and also volunteered to read their sections. Longtime volunteer studio director Joan Miller worked with each of them in separate recording sessions to get their parts of the book on tape.

The body of the book was given to volunteers Jan Panknin and Joe Giumette, who recorded in the Mesa, Arizona, studio. Then the project was assigned to the Phoenix studio, where Giumette completed the recording with volunteer directors Audrey Long and Ron Donnell. Volunteer Kim Bell reviewed the entire recording.

Library Director Linda Montgomery explained the recording process: "Most of the books we record in our studio involve three volunteers-the reader, the director, and the reviewer. The reader and the director work on a book start to finish. We want the same voice from the first page to the last. The team starts recording at the beginning of a first tape and proceeds to the completion of the book. Whenever possible, we assign a reviewer at the beginning of a book, and that reviewer stays with the book until completion of the project."

Arizona Goes to War includes many sidebars and biographical profiles, which makes it a challenge to keep the flow of the main narrative while including the side material. The decision was made to include most of the extra material at the end of each chapter.

"This was a special recording project with some unusual challenges, not the least of which was scheduling," said Montgomery. "Eight volunteers worked to produce this book, rather than the usual three.

"Thanks to our guest readers and all of the other volunteers who made this recording possible. They handled the challenges in stride and produced an excellent book, one that we hope is read by lots and lots of library patrons."

Good pronunciation: A worthwhile job for narrators

Literature is my utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.

-Helen Adams Keller, lecturer and author (1880-1968)

How can we, as narrators, best bring that literature to our patrons? Can we provide the utopia and avoid the barriers? Pedestrian as it seems, improving our pronunciation goes a long way toward making a good reading experience.

I commuted to work in Springfield, Massachusetts, for six years and listened to a lot of audiobook tapes. I joke about my Ph.D. in self-help and science (my favorite subjects for the long drive), but I would get irritated with improper pronunciation, and it would distract me from the book's flow.

Then I had to rewind and listen again to grasp the meaning. I also made a mental note to look up the mispronounced word. The satisfaction of finding out I was right did not make up for the annoyance of listening to a poorly prepared book.

Good pronunciation is a big job. For the narrator, many tasks go into it:

Checking appropriate sources, and noting that diacritical and stress marks in various reference books are not the same.
Writing the word in your notebook
I prefer this to writing in the margin of the book's page, because you may run into the word again, and you will want to pronounce it exactly the same way. If you pronounce it differently, even if it is a correct alternative, the patron will notice it; pause mentally to question it, and miss the words that come next.
Reviewing words
Volunteer narrator Linda Sacha said, "Practice and practice and practice!" Practice pronouncing the words while you are preparing your narration. Before the recording session, point out unusual words to your monitor. For books with lots of challenging names, give a copy of vocabulary pages from your notebook to the monitor-reviewer team. Just before you go into the studio, review your notebook one more time.
Accept it, although grumbling under your breath is OK. Just because you have "always pronounced it that way" does not mean it is correct. Write the corrected pronunciation in your notebook and practice it, to help it sink in and become a habit.

For the monitor and reviewer, never assume the narrator has it right, no matter how confident the pronunciation! You are the ones with the opportunity to catch errors, and thereby improve quality.

When I began narrating in 1986, I ran into an unusual word and said, "Oh, that will never be in the dictionary. It's a made-up word." So, for "Brobdingnagian," in Mistress Masham's Repose, I decided on my own pronunciation, and practiced it many times so as to speak it confidently in the recording booth. Lo and behold, I mispronounced it (consistently) at least five times in one recording session.

The monitor, possibly diverted by my confidence, let it go. Fortunately, the reviewer caught it, and I later found it right in the Random House unabridged, second edition, as well as in the smaller Merriam-Webster Collegiate, 1983 edition. "Brobdingnagian," meaning "gigantic," was coined by Jonathan Swift in his 1728 Gulliver's Travels.

Unfortunately, this was not the last time I did not look up a word that I thought the dictionary would not include. If the word is not the dictionary, there are so many other resources available, both in print, and in person-such as our studio's list of native speakers of Spanish, German, and French.

For those of us with Internet access, there is hardly an excuse not to check pronunciation right online. (See box on previous page.) Of course, the resources are only as good as the energy of the person who uses them. It pays off to pursue good pronunciation and not fall into bad habits. I am reminded of a teenager's t-shirt that I saw recently: " Take my advice, I'm not using it."

As Bill West, NLS audiobook production specialist, said in his comprehensive Art and Science of Audiobook Production (available online at, we are aiming for "the clarity and fluency that make understanding easy and effortless."

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

Pronunciation help online

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Voice of America's Pronunciation Guide

The ABC Book, A Pronunication Guide for Trademarks and Companies

Say How? A Pronunciation Guide for Names of Public Figures

2004 Runza Award to talking-book narrator

Beth McNeil, assistant dean of libraries, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, received the 2004 Runza Spirit of Service Award for her volunteer efforts in the Nebraska Library Commission recording studios. James Griesen, vice chancellor of the university, presented the award during the Chancellor's Leadership Recognition Reception.

James Griesen presents award 
		to narrator Beth McNeill
Photo caption: James Griesen presents
award to narrator Beth McNeill

"McNeil presents her material with good delivery, energy, and an upbeat tone-a brisk conversational delivery," said Annette Hall, volunteer services coordinator of Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service, who represented the library at the spring 2004 event.

Since January 1997, McNeil has narrated dozens of magazines and a variety of books, including poetry and essays, autobiographies, short stories, and novels during her weekly studio sessions. Her accomplishments include:

A Guide to Nebraska Authors
by the Nebraska English Language Arts Council
As Far as I Can See; Contemporary Writing of the Middle Plains
edited by Charles L. Woodard
My First 81 Years
by Dorcas Cavett
Recollections of Charley O'Kieffe
by Charley O'Kieffe
From Hunger
by Gerald Shapiro

McNeil has also worked on twenty magazine issues in the past year. Before moving to Nebraska in 1996, McNeil was a volunteer reader of newspapers for the Alliance Library System in Peoria, Illinois.

The Runza Spirit of Service Award recognizes and celebrates staff and students at the University of Nebraska who volunteer for the good of others and the betterment of the community.

New braille manual enhances learning

Blossom Kerman, a certified braille transcriber for nearly fifty years, has learned from personal experience what it is like to be a visually impaired person-she had surgery for a detached retina. Her recovery has been slow and her sight temporarily impaired.

She now knows what it is like be unable to read, watch television, or work on crossword puzzles. As a teacher of visually impaired students, she also knows the frustrations of inadequate teaching manuals, so she developed her own, The Braille Teaching Guide.

"This book presents a simple and concise approach to braille. The students can easily grasp the language of braille, incorporate it into their lives, and gain a new sense of independence through reading," said Kerman, who teaches braille to middle and high school students in Van Nuys, California. "The earlier blind students learn to read braille, the more on track they will be with sighted students."

"Talking books serve a need for blind students, but they do not foster independence. I wanted to add another dimension to reading for visually impaired people," she added.

The guide comes in a braille version for the student and a teacher's edition. "Each student now has his or her own book that, if studied and applied consistently, will foster independence and lead them into mainstream education," said Kerman.

The Braille Teaching Guide, based on the NLS Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, fourth edition, 2000, teaches reading, writing, and spelling. The guide comes with drill exercises to reinforce the lessons.

Kerman said she has experienced great success using this manual with her students and now wants to distribute the book outside her classroom. She is offering the guide to teachers of visually impaired students free of charge, except for the postage fee. To order the guide, write to Blossom Kerman, 6535 Ventura Canyon Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91401; or call (818) 781-2679.

NLS mourns death of Brad Kormann

Materials Development Chief energized volunteer repair

Brad Kormann
Photo caption: Brad Kormann

Wells B. "Brad" Kormann, chief of the Materials Development Division of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), died on April 29 after a long illness. He was fifty-one.

"In guiding one of the two major divisions of NLS over the past ten years, Brad Kormann maintained the highest standard of diligence, integrity, and leadership," said NLS director Frank Kurt Cylke. " He met his daunting responsibilities with intelligence, professionalism, and sound judgment. His dealings with contractors and suppliers, colleagues, and subordinates were always characterized by warmth, understanding, and good humor."

As head of the division, Kormann was charged with leading a staff of seventy individuals involved in every aspect of the free national library service's mission. He oversaw the selection, cataloging, and production of the books and magazines that comprise the NLS collection; the design, production, and quality of all NLS equipment; and the distribution of these materials to the national network of cooperating NLS libraries and agencies.

Digital committee chair

Kormann played a crucial role in the conception and development of NLS's ongoing transformation from analog to digital talking-book technology. He assumed chairmanship of the Digital Audio Development (DAD) Executive Committee when it was formed in 1997 and had effectively guided the committee since that time.

He collaborated as writer and editor in the 1998 document Digital Talking Books: Planning for the Future, and was involved from the outset in the development of the ANSI/NISO standard for the digital talking book, a project that began in 1997 and culminated with the ratification and issuance of the standard in 2002. In 1998, he oversaw the creation of special software that projected and compared costs of existing and hypothetical models of talking-book systems that were used to analyze expenses and compare overall cost effectiveness and value. The Life-Cycle Cost Model remains an indispensable tool in the digital transition project.

Between 1998 and 2001, Kormann worked with engineers and IT personnel to develop software to simulate a digital talking book on a PC. In the early 2000s, conversion to digital format of analog tape masters began, with Kormann leading the operation. In a second planning document, Kormann revisited the goals set out five years before; most had been met, and progress toward the anticipated 2008 debut of the digital talking book was on track. In 2003, he focused intensively on the creation of systems to store, archive, and access digital properties. The successful installation of the Storage Area Network in the NLS recording studio was accomplished in mid-2004.

But it is Kormann's work with and on behalf of volunteers that may be remembered as his highest achievement. Amid the unrelenting pressure to achieve digital milestones, he did much to support, recognize, and reward his staff, colleagues, and the extended team of volunteer repair personnel.

Volunteer repair project

Shortly after his arrival at NLS, Kormann took command of the newly initiated Volunteer Repair Project, infusing it with new life. Working with NLS staff members and leaders of the Telephone Pioneers of America (now TelecomPioneers) and General Electric Elfun volunteers, he developed an innovative training approach and set high, clearly defined standards for the repair of NLS equipment.

The long-range "train-the-trainer" plan called for NLS, through hands-on sessions, to directly credential a small number of repair volunteers who would in turn be equipped to train others in a pyramid-shaped expansion. Kormann oversaw the development of instructional repair materials, including a machine-repair video that was produced in 1999. Also crucial to the success of the project was a system by which the efforts of outstanding volunteers and volunteer groups would be recognized through certifications, awards, events, and publicity. In 2000, t he project culminated in a congressional resolution honoring the Pioneers for their efforts and acknowledging the millions of dollars in repair costs saved by NLS because of the volunteers.

More recently, Kormann collaborated actively in the production of a videotape honoring the contributions of volunteers. "Meeting the Need" became available in 2002, and has been circulated as a tribute and a recruiting tool.

In recognition of his support of volunteers, Kormann was named honorary TelecomPioneer by the TelecomPioneers of America. A certificate was awarded to him posthumously and presented to his family on the day of his memorial service by James Glass, talking-book coordinator for the Verizon central region. Glass also represented the TelecomPioneers at the memorial service. The Kormann family r eceived an abundance of cards, letters, and other condolences from the TelecomPioneers and the GE Elfun Society.

Kormann was a strong and vocal advocate of diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace, and consistently sought training, education, and promotion opportunities for his staff.

In February 2005, he was presented with a Library of Congress Distinguished Service Award and a letter of appreciation from the Librarian of Congress. And in April, he received the prestigious Francis Joseph Campbell award from the American Library Association for his achievements on behalf of blind and physically handicapped readers.

West Point graduate

Kormann was a 1975 engineering graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He earned an MA in human resource management from Pepperdine University and an MBA from Duke University. He also graduated from the Defense Systems Management College in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Prior to his appointment at NLS, Kormann served for six years as a program manager with the Naval Air Systems Command. He provided computer-aided engineering and budgetary analysis for multimillion-dollar weapon systems. In the course of his active military service, he received the Army Meritorious Service Medal among many other commendations and awards. Kormann remained a reserve officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2003.

Brad Kormann is survived by his wife of twenty-seven years, Catherine Buckley, and their three children, Roger, Andrew, and Claire, all of Bethesda, Maryland; his parents, John and Elsa Kormann of Chevy Chase, Maryland; a brother, Matthew, of Glenwood, Maryland; and a sister, Andrea Kormann Lowe, of London.

Utah volunteers receive awards for contributions

Keynote Speaker, Ken Jennings
Photo caption: Keynote speaker
and "Jeopardy" champ Ken Jennings

The Utah State Library for the Blind and Disabled honored fifteen people at its annual volunteer dinner held on April 21, 2005, at the Embassy Suites hotel in Salt Lake City. Keynote speaker Ken Jennings, a Utah native, shared with the audience the highlights of his record-breaking seventy-four-game winning streak on "Jeopardy."

He explained how he watched the game show as a child, and later found a book by a former contestant that explained how to get on the show and win. At the heart of his speech was his love of books and reading.

"Although people might assume I read books such as biographies, my real interest is mostly fiction," said Jennings. "There's a lot of information that can be extracted from reading fiction."

Program Manager Bessie Oakes and Donna Jones Morris, the library director, thanked the volunteers for their contributions. Morris also provided some interesting statistics: in the past year, 146 Utah volunteers gave 54,000 service hours to the blind community.

The Bureau of Labor estimates the dollar value of volunteer work to be approximately $17.19 per hour, so these 146 volunteers donated $928,260 worth of labor. The work of these volunteer is one of the biggest cost savings that the library provides to the state.

Phyllis Steorts, Barbara Bybee, James Dale, Lorraine Dale, and Bob Leaper received awards for their fifteen years of service. Pat Wulle and Evelyn Stoner received awards for ten years of service; and Elna Johnson, Barbara Boettcher, Norma McMorris, Steve Sorenson, Meredith Simmons, Don Conger, Carrie Bennett, and Michael Bennett received awards for five years of service.

Kudos to volunteers in South Carolina

Fifty-five volunteers gathered in the South Carolina State Library's Talking Book Services reading room for a catered lunch and recognition ceremonies on October 6, 2004. The group contributed 1,947 hours during the past year, narrating magazines and books, promoting talking-book services, and performing a host of other tasks.

Members of the library's advisory council were recognized for their innovative ideas and guidance regarding talking-book programs and resources, and the members of the state's retired and senior volunteer program were thanked for preparing newsletters and other mailings sent to thousands of readers across the state. Along with South Carolina memorabilia souvenirs, all volunteers were presented with certificates of appreciation from NLS.

State Librarian Jim Johnson expressed appreciation for the role volunteers play in delivering services to South Carolinians. Naomi Bradey, volunteer coordinator, stated, "We can't put a dollar value on the work volunteers do for the library. Their time, talents, ideas, and efforts are invaluable. There just aren't enough words of thanks to truly express what we feel about our volunteers."

The ceremony concluded with recognition of the state's TelecomPioneers, who repaired 988 cassette machines in 2004. The library adds the names of Pioneers with at least ten years of service to an engraved plaque that is displayed in the reading room entryway of the talking-book library. The names Ralph Baxter, George Entzminger, Robert Ginn, Dick Hawkinson, Martin Lowery, and Tom Murray now appear on the plaque.

Volunteers master new skills

From October 2004 through April 2005, ninety-four individuals received certificates in braille transcribing, including eighty-seven in literary braille transcribing, one in literary braille proofreading, five in mathematics braille transcribing, and two in music braille transcribing.

Literary braille transcribers


Alisa K. Hurst, Talladega

Julia D. Mattox, Lineville


Stephen J. Carlson, Douglas

John Fritzges, Phoenix

Jacquelyn Kraemer, Glendale

Alma R. Taylor, Phoenix

Jennifer R. Wheeler, Chandler


Dennis B. Anderson, Vacaville

Connie K. Batsford, Vacaville

Mae M. Chinn, Novato

Sandra De Leon, Fontana

Rachel A. Ebbett, Paradise

Raùl Higgins, Vacaville

Kouchiann Ni, Campbell

Katrina Ostby, Arroyo Grande

Kent F. Ray, Folsom

Robert Roldan, Vacaville

Aura Lee Stogsdill, Ojai

Richard E. Walker, Folsom


Ronald A. Barraza, Cheshire

Patrick G. Corbin, Cheshire

Thomas L. Hicks, Cheshire

John J. LaRose, Cheshire

Anthony Lewis, Cheshire

George Rosado, Cheshire

Kevin J. St. Onge, Cheshire


Joseph Ellerbe, Wilmington


Carol Carlisle, Orlando

Maria Reusens, Tampa

Debra Spence, Orlando

Cynthia S. Stargel, Tampa

Jayne R. Stefaniak, Bradenton

Polly B. Wyllie, Clearwater


Ronald Garrison, Hardwick

Ricky L. Siniard, Hardwick


Roland L. Shepherd, West Lafayette


Victor D. Ha, Mount Pleasant

Ruth M. Petersen, Spirit Lake


Edith J. Boone, Wichita

Vicki Brown, Wichita

Debra J. Hendren, Wichita

Iris K. Jimenez, Wichita

Jeffrey A. McMahon, Lenexa

Leslie McMahon, Lenexa

Meri Lee Scagliotti, Overland Park

Nancy Carol VanSkiver, Wichita


Roger G. Gant, Lexington

Tamara A. Harper, Louisville

Timothy A. Kicklighter, Lexington

Sharon L. McStoots, Louisville

Kenneth B. Pebenito, Lexington


Jennifer J. Mayster, Chevy Chase


Christopher Campbell, Jackson

Richard Gerndt, Jackson


Pamela A. Hoyt, Minnetonia


George D. Chuatoco, Las Vegas

Chris T. Golini, Las Vegas

Frederick L. Johnson, Las Vegas

Robert T. Machlan, Las Vegas

Ben W. Sanders, Las Vegas

Allen P. Wade, Las Vegas

New Jersey

Debra A. Falanga, Fairfield

New York

Sandra R. Falconer, Rockville Center

Sharon Gleave, Buffalo

Ann Webster, Luckport

North Carolina

Geraldine E. Caputom, Sunset Beach

Fred E. Scharpenberg, Sunset Beach


George S. Brehm, Grafton

Mark G. Rogers, Grafton

James Rutherford, Grafton


Marsha Scaggs, Cambridge Springs

South Carolina

Sigrid Clark, Greer

Mary S. Sonksen, Spartanburg

South Dakota

Michael W. Chenier, Yankton

James E. Hayes, Sioux Falls

Robert A. Watson, Yankton


Diana I. Cottle, San Antonio

Lisa M. Franklin, Fort Sam Houston

Merry D. Freeze, Gatesville

Laurie A. Grasso, Lampasas

Tina Herzberg, Waco

Kathy L. Terry, Gatesville

Rose E. Turford, Gatesville

Linda R. Youngblood, Gatesville


Nancy Schlosser, Seattle


Joel M. Furst, Oshkosh


Reena Friel, Rock Springs

Literary braille proofreaders


Mae M. Chinn, Novato

Mathematics braille transcribers

New York

Peggy Jackson, Horseheads

South Dakota

Dwight Dean Sundby, Yankton


Delores Billman, Gatesville

Cheryl D. Davis, Gatesville

Adriana Rizo, Gatesville

Music braille transcribing


Cheryl D. Davis, Gatesville


Heidi Lehmann, Dessenheim

In memoriam: Three braille literacy champions

Bernard Krebs, first NBA president

Bernard Krebs
Photo caption: Bernard Krebs

Bernard Krebs (1910-2004) of Plantation, Florida, died on December 7, 2004, at age ninety-four. He was a teacher, librarian, author, and friend. He will be remembered by blind and sighted people alike for his pioneering work in creating straightforward user-friendly training materials for learning and using braille.

Krebs served as librarian and braille instructor at the Jewish Guild for the Blind in New York City from 1935 to 1975. During his forty years at the guild, he taught braille to hundreds of blind students and enhanced national recognition of the guild and respect of its services.

Krebs is the author of ABCs of Braille, Braille in Brief, Lessons in Braille Transcribing, An Introduction to Braille Mathematics, and Transcribers Guide to English Braille, updated in 2000. He is probably most familiar to braille transcribers as the author of the Dear Pearl letter.

Krebs, who lost his sight and several of his fingers in an accident at age eight, was a member of many organizations in the blindness field. He was the first president of the National Braille Association (1949-1954), a member of the Joint Uniform Braille Committee, and chairman of the National Braille Authority.

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies of the American Library Association presented him with the Francis Joseph Campbell award in 1980. This award is given annually to "a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of library service for the blind and physically handicapped."

Krebs was honored posthumously in March 2005 by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) with the M.C. Migel Medal in the layperson category. The Migel Medal, the highest honor in the blindness field, was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB. The medal honors professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

Sally Mangold aided braille literacy

Sally Mangold
Photo caption: Sally Mangold

Sally Mangold (1935-2005), a nationally and internationally recognized expert on braille literacy, died January 29, 2005, at the age of sixty-nine. Mangold received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and was a professor of special education at San Francisco State University for many years. She also taught in the Castro Valley school system in California for a number of years.

Mangold was a passionate proponent of braille literacy and dedicated more than forty years of her professional life to the field of blindness. In addition to her teaching career, Mangold was a businesswoman who, with her husband, Phil, founded Exceptional Teaching Aids, a company that continues to publish and provide instructional materials for individuals of all ages who are blind and visually impaired and for the professionals who serve them. The company's catalog contains numerous products that the Mangolds themselves invented or developed.

One of her more recent projects was the development of Speech Assisted Learning (SAL), a portable, interactive, computer-based braille learning station. "With SAL, blind students always have a braille tutor at their fingertips," said Mangold.

Her publication, Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition, an instructional manual to assist teachers with beginning braille readers, has been published in eight languages. Phil Hatlen, superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, said that Mangold was "the most dynamic, inspirational, and knowledgeable speaker in our profession today." Her last keynote address, "A View from the Other Side of an Open Door," was delivered at the American Printing House for the Blind annual meeting in October 2004.

Mangold was the 2003 M.C. Migel Medal recipient from the American Foundation for the Blind. During Hatlen's introduction at the award ceremonies, he said, "Sally, you are being honored tonight for your many significant accomplishments in your profession. You have brought the beautiful world of literacy to countless children, and your example as a teacher has brought joy and fulfillment to many, many blind and visually impaired persons. I also honor you, my friend, for the joy and fulfillment you have added to my life. I treasure our friendship, and my life is so much richer for knowing you and Phil."

Alan J. Koenig trained teachers of blind individuals

Alan Koenig
Photo caption: Alan Koenig

Alan J. Koenig (1955-2005), a professor of special education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, died on February 6, 2005. He was fifty years old. Koenig had spent nearly sixteen years at the university preparing teachers to work with children who are blind or visually impaired.

Known worldwide as an expert in braille literacy, and Koenig traveled extensively conducting in-service workshops and assisting teachers and parents of children who are blind or visually impaired. He was the author, coauthor, and editor of a dozen books and more than fifty professional journals. He was most familiar to braille transcribers as coauthor of The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary and also served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness from 2001 to 2004.

Koenig represented the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) on the board of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) from 2001-2003. He also served on BANA's research committee.

Through this committee he initiated BANA-supported research investigating implications of adopting the Unified English Braille Code and its effect on the Nemeth Code. The results of the research were published in October 2004. He was also a member of the American Foundation for the Blind National Literacy Center advisory committee.

Koenig received his doctoral degree from Vanderbilt University in 1987 and began work as a state consultant in visual impairment for the state of Iowa.

He received the C. Warren Bledsoe Publications Award in 2002 from AER in recognition of his work in editing the second edition of Foundations of Education. The C. Warren Bledsoe Publications Award was established in 1977 to recognize outstanding authors in the blindness field.

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 am about to begin working on my second 35-page trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification. Since I have chosen to transcribe a different portion of the same print book that I used for my first trial manuscript, it is not clear to me how I should number the braille pages on my trial manuscript.

Instructor: You are not alone. As you know, every trial manuscript must contain both a title page and a contents page. These pages are considered preliminary pages and are numbered p1 and p2 as shown in Section 19.2a of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, Fourth Edition, 2000. The remaining pages of your trial manuscript are considered text pages. Even though you have chosen to transcribe different chapters from the same book, the text pages should be numbered consecutively beginning with Arabic page 1. Remember that you should not repeat any beginning items from the print book such as the dedication, acknowledgments, preface, introduction, etc.

Student: If my 35-page trial manuscript does not contain both a title page and a contents page, will it still be evaluated?

Instructor: No. If your 35-page trial manuscript does not contain both a title page and a contents page, the entire manuscript will be returned to you ungraded, and you will be asked to include these pages with your next trial manuscript. This submission of your trial manuscript will not be counted as one of your three attempts to become a Library of Congress certified braille transcriber. However, the evaluation of your trial manuscript could be delayed significantly if these pages are not included.

Student: In the back of the print book that I have chosen for my 35-page trial manuscript, there is a section called About the Author. Should I treat this section as front matter for my trial manuscript as shown in Section 19.2h of the instruction manual?

Instructor: Very good question. If, in print, sections such as About the Author, publisher's acknowledgments, etc., are presented at the back of the book, they need not be included as part of your 35-page trial manuscript. Such items are generally placed on a new braille page at the end of the last braille volume as shown in Section 19.2h4 of the instruction manual.

Student: I have just completed the required 35 braille pages for my trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification. Unfortunately, I was not able to finish the chapter on my thirty-fifth page. Is it necessary for me to finish brailling the entire chapter?

Instructor: No. As long as your trial manuscript ends at a logical place such as at the end of a paragraph, you need not transcribe more than the required 35 braille pages. However, points will be deducted from your score if your manuscript ends in the middle of a sentence. (See Section 20.2 of the instruction manual.)

Student: I have brailled several additional pages beyond the required 35 pages for my trial manuscript. Will I lose points if errors are found on the extra pages?

Instructor: Yes. Any additional pages beyond the required 35 pages are graded, and points are deducted from your score for any errors that are found on these pages. Therefore, if you decide to submit more than 35 braille pages, make sure that these pages are transcribed carefully and accurately.

Student: I just received the evaluation of my 35-page trial manuscript, and points were deducted from my score because I wrote the words END OF VOLUME 1 on the last page. Could you please clarify this for me?

Instructor: It is generally true that when brailling an entire print book, more than one braille volume is required; thus, the words END OF VOLUME 1 would be placed on the last page of volume 1. However, the 35-page trial manuscript is to be treated as a complete book consisting of only one volume. Therefore, the words THE END should be written on the last page of your trial manuscript. (See Section 20.2 of the instruction manual.)


National Braille Association (NBA)

NBA Fall Professional Development Conferences:

Doubletree Hotel, Seattle, Washington;

Thursday, October 20-Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sheraton Westport Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri

Wednesday, April 26-Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hilton Charlotte University Place, Charlotte, North Carolina

Thursday, November 2-Saturday, November 4, 2006

Antlers Hilton Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Thursday, April 26-Saturday, April 28, 2007

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 47th Annual Conference

Anaheim Marriott Hotel, Anaheim, California

Friday, March 10-Sunday, March 12, 2006

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 2006 Conference of Volunteers

Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs, Altamonte Springs, Florida

Monday, April 3-Wednesday, April 5, 2006

For more information about this meeting, contact:

Meg Wagner
VAVF President
8444 35th Avenue N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
(727) 347-9836
[email protected]

Cincinnati students receive national award

Anderson High School volunteers
Photo caption: Award winners (left to right, front):
David Sweeney, Garrett Halpin; (back) Chad Martin,
Bridget Suttman, Jimmy Gumbert, and Excell Walker.
Not pictured: Chris Couzins.

In June 2005, seven high school students from Cincinnati's Anderson High School received volunteer appreciation awards from NLS for their work with the Multistate Center East (MSCE). The MSCE is NLS's Cincinnati-based circulation and materials support facility.

The seven students-Chris Couzins, Jimmy Gumbert, Garrett Halpin, Chad Martin, Bridget Suttman, David Sweeney, and Excell Walker-volunteer at the center as part of the Forest Hills School District's Transition to Work program. This initiative provides opportunities for students with special needs to develop vocational skills.

"We're proud to help Multistate Center East provide library services to individuals who are blind or physically handicapped," said teacher Rebecca Feltner, the Transition to Work program coordinator. "This program also enables our students, who themselves are physically handicapped, to develop vocational skills that will enable their progression into competitive employment."

During the past year, the students cleaned more than 5,000 mailing containers for cassette books. They removed old labels, cleaned remnants off the containers, and sorted cassettes. The containers are then used to distribute books on tape that have been duplicated at the center.

"We have been working with Anderson High School students for the past four years, and these volunteers do an incredible job," said Jacqueline Conner, director of the MSCE. "This year, they donated more than 400 hours, working very hard and helping to complete several important tasks."

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Posted on 2011-01-10

Posted on 2011-01-10