Louisiana Voices recording added to NLS collection

Louisiana Voices staff
Photo caption: Louisiana Voices staff and
volunteers Caroline Garcia, Alicia Marcotte,
Scotty Drake, Angela Cinquemano, and
Elizabeth Perkins.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has accepted for inclusion in its recorded cassette collection a recording of If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill, produced in the Louisiana Voices studio of the State Library of Louisiana, Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The title was narrated by Baton Rouge radio personality Scotty Drake and produced by assistant studio manager Alicia Marcotte with assistance from Caroline Garcia.

On August 24, 2005, the studio received the acceptance letter from Chris Mundy, quality assurance specialist for the Multistate Center East's (MSCE's) Quality Assurance Program. Drake, Garcia, Marcotte, Louisiana Voices program director Angela Cinquemano, and State Library of Louisiana special services coordinator Elizabeth Perkins commemorated the achievement with a breakfast at the Atrium, a downtown Baton Rouge restaurant featuring traditional Louisiana cuisine. "We laughed and enjoyed visiting among the beautiful tropical plants and New Orleans jazz music," said Cinquemano.

A popular disc jockey and musician, Drake has been a Louisiana Voices volunteer since March 2003, narrating 15 titles for the six-year-old program. In 2004 alone, he logged in 59 hours at the mike, making him the top contributing narrator for Louisiana Voices that year. Drake has also recorded titles from Gloria Teles Pushker's Toby Belfer series for children about a young Jewish girl living in southern Louisiana. Many of these titles include significant portions of Hebrew text, which Drake skillfully narrated.

"Louisiana Voices is steadily earning a reputation for outstanding work in the field of volunteer-produced recordings. I can't thank the staff and volunteers enough for their conscientious work with this book and the other quality titles crafted by this talented group. I am very pleased and proud to be working with the program," said Mundy. Network libraries may obtain master copies of If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong (RCN 012) from MSCE for duplication and circulation to their patrons.

Under the direction of program manager Cinquemano, Louisiana Voices has recorded more than 200 Louisiana-related titles for patrons registered with the state's Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. A catalog of these titles is available on request by contacting the Louisiana Voices studio at (225) 219-1696 or sending an e-mail to [email protected] Network libraries may also borrow these titles through interlibrary loan from the State Library of Louisiana, Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

New York TelecomPioneers group of one

TelecomPioneer Bill Heaviside repairs a cassette player in his kitchen.
Photo caption:TelecomPioneer Bill
Heaviside repairs a cassette player
in his kitchen.

Binghamton, New York, may be home to the smallest TelecomPioneers repair group in the country.

The group was formed in 1999 with three members: John Zeck (an employee), and Leo Canale and Bill Heaviside (both retirees), who worked very briefly out of a basement room in the New York Verizon central office in Cortland. The room soon became company work space and the group dwindled to the two retirees. Canale and Heaviside began working from their homes, having machines mailed to them from the New York State Talking Book and Braille Library in Albany. Ill health forced Canale to give up what he thought to be a worthwhile and enjoyable project. When he passed away in September 2002, the group was left with only one member, Heaviside, and it remains that way today.

Heaviside continues to work at home, having reconditioned and repaired about 350 machines and logged around 1,300 hours to date. In 2005 alone, he repaired 35 machines, contributing 146 hours of service. When asked if he gets lonely working by himself, he replied, "No, I can always call Washington if I need assistance; each new machine I open could present me with a new problem."

Nemeth Code tutorial available for Braille Lite notetaker

Gaylen Kapperman, project director of Northern Illinois University's (NIU's) Research and Development Institute, and Jodi Sticken, an instructor in NIU's Department of Teaching and Learning, have announced the availability of the Nemeth Code tutorial for the Braille Lite notetaker. The software is designed to help blind individuals learn to read and write the Nemeth Code, which is used for mathematics from the most elementary levels, to the upper levels including calculus. It is not designed to "teach" mathematics to people who are blind.

The interactive software—created by Freedom Scientific and supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services—consists of 18 lessons with varying numbers of sublessons. Each subunit contains an explanation section describing the particular symbols under consideration in that lesson. Following each explanatory section are three interactive exercise sections. The first section allows the learner to practice writing the Nemeth Code expressions, the second allows the learner to practice reading the symbols, and the third asks the learner to find errors in Nemeth Code expressions and correct them. This program operates only on Braille Lites—it will not operate on a Braille Note or a PAC Mate.

The program and accompanying documentation can be downloaded free of charge from Freedom Scientific at www.freedomscientific.com/fs_downloads/notenemeth.asp. It is also available at no cost on CD from authors Kapperman and Sticken. The CD contains the program, the documentation in MS Word, a "readme file" in Word, and a file containing the print version of the content that can be used by teachers. Contact either Kapperman or Sticken at [email protected] or [email protected], or write to them at Northern Illinois University, Department of Teaching and Learning, DeKalb, IL 60115. If you request the CD, please include your full name and mailing address.

Wolfner honors volunteers with "works of art"

Picture of Barbara Barnard and Paul Otto
Photo caption:Volunteers
Barbara Barnard and
Paul Otto as "American

Volunteers add spirit and heart to the services Wolfner Memorial Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides to Missouri citizens. "They increase the effectiveness of paid staff and help build public awareness for the services available from the library," explains Deborah Stroup, Wolfner volunteer coordinator.

To honor their efforts, Wolfner held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner, underwritten by the Friends of Wolfner Library, on October 21 in Jefferson City. The theme was Great Works of Art. Decorations included replications of famous works of art that incorporated the faces of the honorees. The 25 volunteers who attended were encouraged to search for their "portraits." In addition, each table was decorated with items pertaining to a book that is available in the library. Participants tried to guess the book title, then discuss the book as they dined.

The volunteers all received certificates of appreciation and book bags imprinted with the words "Wolfner Library" in print and braille. They were also entertained by the Card Catalog Choir and Lost in the Stacks Players. "They won't be quitting their day jobs as Wolfner employees any time soon," joked Stroup. Wolfner currently has 42 active volunteers who help the library develop strong ties to the community and are essential to the process of recording books about Missouri.

Speakers at the event included Ray Hagen and Laura Giannarelli, audiobook narrators from the NLS recording studio in Washington, D.C. Executive deputy secretary of state Mark Reading, state librarian Sara Parker, Wolfner Library director Richard Smith, National Federation of the Blind of Missouri president Gary Wunder, and Missouri Council of the Blind president Kathey Wheeler also offered thanks and congratulations.

Volunteer Herman Urshel displays his proclamation.
Photo caption:Volunteer Herman
Urschel proudly displays his mayoral

Urschel lauded for 30 years of service to CTBL

Denver mayor John Hickenlooper proclaimed Saturday, December 3, 2005, Herman Urschel Day, in recognition of Washington Park resident and Denver native Herman Urschel's 30 years of volunteer service at the Colorado Talking Book Library (CTBL).

When he began volunteering in 1975, Urschel brought wealth of knowledge from 40 years of experience in the recording and movie audio business to the CTBL recording studio. He was one of the founders of Western Cine, a film-processing service established in 1952 in Denver. This early and important contributor to Colorado's film industry added many other services, including a sound recording studio.

As a volunteer, Urschel shepherded the library through studio conversions, including the change from two-track to four-track recording methods. Now he is mastering the digital technologies of the 21st century.

As a silent partner, Urschel has assisted numerous volunteer narrators by monitoring the recording of an untold number of books, magazines, and other written materials. He was a volunteer monitor for such noted local dignitaries as governor Dick Lamm and the late Gene Amole, a broadcast pioneer and columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. Now 90 years old, Urschel continues his commitment to lifelong learning and volunteerism by working regularly at the CTBL recording studio.

Urschel is just one of the many volunteers who help CTBL provide a variety of services to the eligible residents of Colorado.

Samual Ashcroft
Photo caption:Samual Ashcroft
was a staunch advocate for blind
visually impaired children.

In memoriam

Two advocates for the blind community

Dr. Samuel C. Ashcroft: Internationally renowned professor who taught teachers to teach the blind passed away on January 30, 2006.

Sam Ashcroft worked for more than 60 years on behalf of children who are blind and visually impaired. He dedicated most of his career to education and research at George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. In 2002, Ashcroft, along with Helen Keller, was among the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, established in 2001. Ashcroft was active in the International Council for Exceptional Children, serving as its national president and the founding president of the Foundation for Exceptional Children. He was a delegate to the White House Conference on Children and chairman of the Committee on the International Year of the Child. He also founded SCALARS Publishing, which distributes his books New Programmed Instruction in Braille and The Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary.

"Many of us knew him; all of us in the profession have been touched by his life," said Jim A. Oldham, superintendent of the Tennessee School for the Blind.

Active well into his eighties, Ashcroft was an enthusiastic writer, tennis player, musician, sailor, and humorist. He always said his book Tennis TeNets: Wit and Wisdom on and off the Court was a million seller: that is, he said, "I have a million in the cellar."

Ashcroft was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Army Air Corps. He married his wife, Tommie, in 1948. His family, including daughters Barbara and Wendy, live in Germantown, Tennessee. The family has established the Sam Ashcroft Memorial Fund at Helen Keller International (1-877-535-5374) to support its joint work with UNICEF to combat malnutrition and blind-ness in children.

Excerpted from the Nashville Tennessean, January 30, 2006.

Theta Miller: Valuable member of Atlanta Braille Volunteers passed away in January 2006 after a long illness.

Theta Miller, a retired Eastern Airlines employee, was certified in literary braille transcribing in 1989 and served as president of Atlanta Braille Volunteers (ABV) from 1990 to 1993. She was an excellent teacher and helped many braillists to become certified. She also transcribed gift books for visually impaired students in the Georgia school system and took up special requests across the state. Miller taught braille both in a classroom setting and by correspondence, including teaching a Georgia state prison group. She was still helping people through correspondence until shortly before her death.

In addition to serving as a braille transcriber, supporting ABV, and mentoring so many in the world of braille, Miller was active in her local community. She was a member of the North Avenue Presbyterian Church, the Women's Chamber of Commerce, the National Secretaries Association, and the Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta.

"Theta touched many people in many ways. She will always be with us in the legacies of certified braillists whom she taught, and the advice and counsel that she always shared. She will be sorely missed," said Jean Ferguson, ABV president. The Atlanta Braille Volunteers made a monetary contribution to the National Braille Association's Barbara H. Tate Fund for Volume Subsidy in Miller's honor.

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 am working on Lesson 2 of the Library of Congress braille transcribing course. I have studied Sections 2.5a and 2.5b of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing, Fourth Edition, 2000, and I am still confused about when a hyphen or a dash should be used in braille.

Instructor: You are not alone. In print, a dash can usually be distinguished from a hyphen by its greater length. However, since the length of a dash may vary in print, it is not always easy to determine which symbol to use in braille. It is important to keep in mind that the hyphen and the dash have different functions.

As in print, the primary uses of the hyphen are to divide words at the end of a line and to join together compound words or numbers. Thus, in the sentence, "the seventh-grader spelled the word ‘in-dis-pen-sa-ble’ with flying colors," the hyphen is used both to separate the syllables of the spelled word as well as to join the components of the compound word.

A dash is used to separate parts of a sentence or to begin or end an incomplete sentence. In the following example, the dash performs both of these functions.

"Let us leave to go to the movie in"—she paused, looked around the room and continued—"no more than 15 minutes."

Student: Is the hyphen always written without a space in braille?

Instructor: It is generally true that a hyphen should not be preceded or followed by a space in braille. For instance, no space should be left between the last syllable on the braille line and the hyphen. Similarly, no space should be left before or after a hyphen when brailling a connected hyphenated compound word such as self-expression. Print spacing, however, should be followed when brailling a disconnected compound word. (See Sections 2.5a and 2.5a3 of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing and Section 5 of the official code, English Braille American Edition.) Example: five- or six-lane highway

Student: Can the hyphen ever be written at the beginning of a new line in braille?

Instructor: There is only one instance. Unlike a connected hyphenated compound word, a hyphen may start a new braille line in a disconnected compound word as long as there is a space before the hyphen in print. Example:state-owned and -operated

Student: Since the spacing before and after a dash is often inconsistent in print, I am sometimes confused about when I should leave a space in braille.

Instructor: In braille, no space should be left between a dash and the words that immediately precede or follow it, regardless of print spacing. However, a space is necessary before the dash if the dash begins an incomplete sentence, or a fragment of a sentence or thought. Similarly, a space is required after a dash if it ends an incomplete sentence or thought. Examples: Tom scored the goal during the—oh no!
The other team just called time!

Student: Can a dash be written at the beginning or the end of a braille line?

Instructor: When a dash is preceded or followed by a word, it can either begin or end a braille line. A dash can never be divided between lines in braille, though.

Student: Can the dash appear on a line by itself in braille?

Instructor: No. The dash, as a mark of punctuation, should be in contact with a word. If it falls at the beginning of a braille line and is followed by a space or by other punctuation that is followed by a space, then the last syllable of the preceding word must also be carried over to the new braille line.

Volunteers master new skills

Between September through November 2005, 61 people received certificates in braille transcribing; 57 in literary braille transcribing, one in mathematics braille transcribing, and three in music braille transcribing.

Literary braille transcribers


Cecile D. Beresford, Sun Lakes

Susan Martinez, Tucson

Randi B. Nulty, Sun Lakes

Steven M. Smigiel, Douglas


Pam Boss, West Memphis


Aaron Martin, Vacaville

Linda M. Rollins, Van Nuys

Kimberly A. Rosten, Northridge

Roderick L. Uy, Folsom

Edith L. West, Diamond Springs


David W. True, Cheshire


Elaine J. Billy, Longwood


John C. Fordham, Hardwick

Marissa A. Mahowald, Richmond Hill

Douglas P. Varnell, Hardwick


Thomas C. Miller, Boise


Patricia Colclasure, Coal City

Terri Hill, Sparta


Louis J. Cutwright, Anamosa


Abigail Chappell, Overland Park

William C. Henley, Lexington


LuAnn Forsythe, Nottingham

Rhoda T. Wright, Baltimore


Margot Hayden, Bradford


Jane Herder, Imperial


Ronnie E. Bennett, Las Vegas

Jack W. Bowman, Las Vegas

Robert R. Lawson Jr., Las Vegas

Mike Sivill, Reno

Amy E. Valencia Furman, Sparks

New Jersey

Janet S. Ark, Hackettstown

Kathleen A. Bond, Randolph

Vicki L. Edgett, Pine Beach

Lorraine Gerardi, Fairfield

Nancy Jost, Wayne

Maureen O'Brien, Cedar Grove

Leela Rao, Paterson

Haley E. Sica, Wayne

New York

Edna Rung Sherwood, Freedom

North Carolina

Jacqueline H. Howard, Charlotte


Dana F. Morrison, Grafton


Pamela J. Barber, Portland


Robert F. Paziora, Philadelphia

South Dakota

Matthew L. Cobb, Sioux Falls

Shawn M. Currey, Sioux Falls

Aaron J. Young, Sioux Falls


Sheila J. Harman, Gatesville

Clara L. Harris, Gatesville

Tessa A. Jenkins, Gatesville

Celeste Beard Johnson, Gatesville

Wendy L. Mema, Benbrook

Luke C. Owens, Littlefield

Connie Stone, Gatesville


Carol Studer, Tacoma


Jason Faber, Oshkosh

Diane M. Hughes, Madison

Sazyaki Saikia, Oshkosh

Mathematics braille transcribers


Lyale R. Shellman, Folsom, California

Music braille transcribing


Lindley Becker, Saint Petersburg

New York

David B. Jackson, Brightwaters


Lindy B. Walton, Madison


Mae M. Chinn was incorrectly listed as a proofreader in Update, April September 2005, "Volunteers Master New Skills." Chinn is a certified literary braille transcriber.

Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary, braille edition, now available

SCALARS Publishing has announced the availability of the braille edition of the Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary. Compiled and edited by Alan J. Koenig and M. Cay Holbrook, the dictionary contains the braille transcriptions of almost 30,000 common and not-so-common words in the English language. It also includes:

The braille edition is available in 10 volumes from the National Braille Association, Three Townline Circle, Rochester, NY 14623; (585) 427-8260; [email protected] The cost to individuals is $424; for all agencies, schools, libraries, etc., the cost is $1,045. Shipping is via Free Matter for the Blind. The print edition of the Braille Enthusiast's Dictionary is available from SCALARS Publishing, P.O. Box 382834, Germantown, TN 38183-2834; (901) 737-0001; [email protected]


National Braille Association (NBA)

NBA Professional Development Conference

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
[email protected]

National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB)

NCSAB Fall Conference 2006

Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Francisco, California

Wednesday, November 15 Friday, November 17, 2006

For more information about this meeting, contact:

The National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, Inc.
4733 Bethesda Avenue, Suite 330
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 654.4885

California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)

CTEVH 48th Annual Conference

Santa Clara Marriott Hotel, Santa Clara, California

Friday, March 2-Sunday, March 4, 2007

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 2007 Conference of Volunteers

(dates and place TBA)

For more information about this meeting, contact:

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

Arizona authors record their work at AZBTBL

Growing old is so much fun, everybody's doing it: book cover.

During the past year, several local authors stepped up to the mike in the Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library (AZBTBL) studio to record their books for patrons.

In September 2005, Brooke Bessesen narrated her first book, Look Who Lives in the Desert. Published by Arizona Highways, the book was written for elementary school children and describes desert animals in humorous verse and offers "fun facts" about their traits and habitat. Bessesen worked for several years at the Phoenix Zoo and she currently writes and produces for cable networks.

Humorist Gene Perret has had six books published by Arizona Highways. On a recent visit from California (his home state), Gene spent a morning in the AZBTBL studio narrating two of his books, Retirement: Twice the Time, Half the Money and Growing Older Is So Much Fun Everybody's Doing It. Perret has been a comedy writer for many popular television shows, including the Carol Burnett Show, Laugh-In, and The Bill Cosby Show. He became head writer for Bob Hope in 1969.

Laurie Campbell has recorded five of her romance novels: And Father Makes Three; Unexpected Family; Good Morning, Stranger; Home at Last; and His Brother's Baby. Campbell has made a weekly commitment to the AZBTBL studio since 2002. She and her husband work as a team, recording both her books and others as well.

Masthead Information:

Update is published quarterly by:

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542

Correspondence should be addressed to the Publications and Media Section. To change address or cancel subscription, please enclose mailing label.

Publication editors:

Ingrid Davitt

Coordinating editor:

Freddie Peaco

Braille student-instructor dialog:

John Wilkinson

Publications and Media Section
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20542


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Posted on 2011-01-10

Posted on 2011-01-10