Iowa library’s goodwill ambassadors

Iowa library ambassadors
Karen Keninger (left) and Tracey Morsek watch as Sue Ketelsen accepts the Perowsky Award.

More than 100 people were designated goodwill ambassadors for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped during the Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Workshop and Luncheon held on April 16, 2010, at the Iowa Department for the Blind. “The volunteers were excited about becoming ambassadors,” said Tracey Morsek, library director. “We are proud and lucky to have such dedicated and enthusiastic people.”

“The library would not be able to provide such great service to its patrons without our volunteers,” said Beth Hirst, assistant library director. “They really keep our gears running smoothly.”

The Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Workshop and Luncheon is held each year to recognize individuals who have donated their time and talent to the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It is named for Elizabeth Perowsky, who volunteered as a braille transcriber for more than 60 years.

During the workshop and luncheon, several attendees were presented with significant awards. Sue Ketelsen of Davenport, Iowa, was given the Perowsky Award for her dedicated service as a narrator. The Florence Grannis Award, named for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped’s first librarian, was bestowed upon narrators Dave Saurman and Bob; White; audio editor Mary Doige; and braillists Joan Boggess, Barb Kates, and Rose Stratton. Others were awarded pins and certificates in the areas of audio proofreading, brailling, data entry, general assistance, machine repair, and narration.

NLS and Pioneers celebrate 50-year partnership

Pioneers holding placque
Pioneers (left to right) Larry Love, Steve Austin, Joe Hodgson, Red Day, Hazel Day, Peggy Boccuzzi, Pete Boccuzzi, Kari Biesendorfer, Ron Simpson, and Gabe Olah display the NLS plaque honoring the group for 50 years of service and the repair of more than 3 million talking-book players.

June 6, 1960, marked the beginning of the partnership between the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and the Telephone Pioneers of America, the association of telecommunications employees now known as Pioneers—A Volunteer Network that is the backbone of the NLS machine-repair program.

Over the past half century Pioneers have repaired 3.6 million talking-book machines. In 2009 alone, group members, most of whom are retirees, repaired more than 50,000 cassette book machines. The cost savings: $3 million, based on an estimated $60 per repair. 

NLS commemorated the 50-year partnership on May 16, 2010, with the presentation of a plaque to the Pioneers at the 2010 National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kentucky volunteers recognized for decades of service

The Kentucky Regional Talking Book Library honored 19 volunteers during a luncheon held on May 7, 2010, at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, Kentucky. In fiscal year 2009, these men and women, along with others, contributed more than 1,439 hours of work as narrators, monitors, and reviewers and helped produce 46 recorded titles.

Four volunteers have served the library for more than 30 years and five others have given of their time for more than 20 years. Guest speaker Chris Mundy, quality assurance specialist at the NLS Multistate Center East, Columbus, Ohio, described the quality-assurance process and the elements of a successful recording. The volunteers received tips from his presentation and took the opportunity to ask questions about producing talking books.

Each volunteer received a $20 gift certificate to a popular local bookstore, some others also were presented with gift certificates to a local restaurant or nursery, and one person was given a necklace made by regional librarian Barbara Penegor.

Back to Top

In Memoriam

Ruth M. Ault (1913–2010),
Copyholder, Cincinnati

Ruth Ault

Ruth M. Ault, who volunteered for more than 35 years at the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, died February 27, 2010, at age 96. 

On any given day from 1976 to 2010 Ault could be seen walking the halls of the Clovernook Center, where she provided a highly valued service for the Braille Transcription Department. As a copyholder, she worked with blind and visually impaired proofreaders to verify book and magazine text copy against braille copy. Her efforts were essential to the organizations’s braille quality-control process and directly affected the reading experience of NLS braille patrons.

“Ruth was one of the most dedicated volunteers at the Clovernook Center,” said Carol Morris, supervisor of transcription services. “She got the work done, had fun doing it, and made a difference.”

Ault also performed administrative duties for a variety of departments, pitching in where help was needed. “Ruth was a joy to know,” said Jacqueline Conner, director of the NLS Multistate Center East. “She was positive and welcoming.”

In 1994, Ault received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Ohio. In 2007, she received the Helen G. Levin Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service at the Clovernook Center.

Prior to her tenure with Clovernook, Ault worked as an office administrator for the Cincinnati Board of Education. She is survived by her children Gary Robert Ault and Nancy Ault Acker, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Janet Ruth Warner Yancey (1942–2010), NLS cataloger

Janet Yancey

Janet Ruth Warner Yancey, a cataloger at NLS for 22 years before retiring in 2009, died July 25, 2010, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Yancey was born February 13, 1942, in Baltimore, Maryland, to Mary and Elbert Warner. The Warners moved to a farm in Indiana when Yancey was five years old. An active member of 4H, Yancey won several blue ribbons at the state fair for her baking.

She graduated from Hagerstown High School, and continued her education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She studied home economics and library science and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

While attending Purdue, Yancey spent her summers with her aunt in Arlington, Virginia, and participated in a federal work-study program in Washington, D.C. Here she met Bill Yancey, an accountant with Health and Human Services, whom she married in 1962. After permanently settling in Northern Virginia, Yancey began her career as a librarian at Simon Elementary School in Washington, D.C. She stopped working when her daughter Katie was born in 1970. Yancey had a passion for teaching and resumed her career in the mid-1980s, working for Minnieland Daycare in Stafford, Virginia, and volunteering at Stafford Elementary School.

Yancey started working at NLS in June 1987 as a library technician (cataloger), a position she held until she retired. Her many friends at NLS remember her generous spirit and culinary talents.

“Janet was a cheerful person who was always willing to help,” said NLS librarian Ruth Nussbaum. “She served as my co-chair for the LCPA membership drive and the annual NLS holiday party planning committee for many years.”

“She was an asset to the Bibliographic Control Section and to NLS in general,” said NLS director Kurt Cylke. “Janet will be missed greatly.”

In addition to her husband and daughter, Yancey is survived by her brother Gene, her uncle Rol Shaddock, her aunt Kathy Hardwick, and their families.

Award created for New Jersey volunteer coordinator

Karen Carson
Karen Carson

Karen Carson, a broadcast and site volunteer coordinator for the New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, has performed so admirably that the library created an award to recognize her exemplary service. Carson received the Barbara A. Brown Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Station Manager’s Award on May 28, 2010, at an annual brunch honoring RSVP volunteers. Barbara Brown was a longtime program coordinator for Mercer County RSVP in New Jersey.

As broadcast coordinator for Audio-vision, the library’s radio reading service, Carson recruits, trains, schedules, and oversees all of the library’s 213 volunteers. In the 2009 fiscal year, these volunteers contributed more than 3,700 hours to the expansion and maintenance of library services.


California Transcribers and Educators of the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI) [formerly California Transcribers and Educators of the Visually Handicapped (CTEVH)]

Annual conference March 10–13, 2011, Marriott Oakland City Center,
1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
For more information about the 2011 meeting, contact CTEBVI, 741 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029-3594; (323) 666-2211 (messages only); External link symbol

National Braille Association (NBA)

NBA Spring 2011 Professional Development Conference
Hotel to be determined
April 14–April 16, 2011
For more information about this meeting, contact the National Braille Association,
95 Allen Creek Road, Building 1, Suite 202, Rochester, NY 14618; (585) 427-8260;
[email protected]; External link symbol

Visual Aid Volunteers of Florida (VAVF)

VAVF 2011 Conference of Volunteers
Meeting dates and location to be announced.
For more information about this meeting, contact Leon Pettersen, VAVF President, P.O. Box 1061, Live Oak, FL 32064-1061; (386) 364-1061; [email protected]; External link symbol

Back to Top

Braille student-instructor dialog

Under a contract with NLS, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute administers the courses leading to Library of Congress certification as a braille transcriber or proofreader. NFB 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 understand that the literary transcribing course lessons can now be submitted as electronic files via e-mail attachments. Can I submit my manuscript in this format as well?
Instructor: No. The trial manuscript must be submitted in hard-copy, single-sided braille. If it has been produced on a computer and embossed, remove all sprocket strips, separate and collate the pages, and remove all blank pages. Thermoformed copies will not be accepted. It is highly recommended that, if possible, the student keep a thermoformed copy of a manuscript that was prepared on a manual braillewriter.

Student: I prepared my 35-page trial manuscript on a computer using a direct-input braille program. My manuscript was embossed by someone at an agency for blind people. After reviewing the evaluator’s report, I discovered that a number of errors occurred after it was embossed. Since many of my errors occurred because of a problem with the embosser, is it possible to restore points to my manuscript?
Instructor: Absolutely not. Section 20.9 clearly states that if a trial manuscript is generated by a computer, all of the pages should be thoroughly proofread after it has been embossed.

Student: I understand that in the fifth edition of the instruction manual, division of words between lines is only required in the first eleven lessons. Will points be taken off if I divide words in my trial manuscript?
Instructor: Word division is not required, but we will still accept manuscripts with divided words. Please be aware, however, that if errors related to word division occur, points for those errors will be deducted.

Student: I realize that the trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification should consist of 35 braille pages. I have discovered that two of my preliminary pages contain slightly less than 25 braille lines. Do I need to transcribe more pages to make sure that I have met the required number of pages?
Instructor: The trial manuscript for Library of Congress certification must consist of at least 35 full braille pages. If a page contains a half page or more of braille, it may be counted as a full page. If a transcription includes a short dedication page that contains only a few lines of braille but all other pages are full, then 36 braille pages must be submitted.

Student: It is my understanding that all of the pages at the beginning of a print book, such as the dedication, acknowledgments, preface, foreword, table of contents, author’s note, introduction, or prologue, should be included in brailling the 35-page trial manuscript. Correct?
Instructor: With one exception. None of the items discussed under Section 19.2(g) of the instruction manual, “Cover/Jacket Material,” are to be included in the trial manuscript.

Student: I have recently enrolled in the Library of Congress braille transcribing course. I would like to send my lessons to an instructor in my local area. The instructor who has offered to grade my lessons is not a transcriber who is certified by the Library of Congress. Is this permissible?
Instructor: No. If you decide to work with an instructor in your local area, that individual must be a Library of Congress-certified braille transcriber or proofreader.

Volunteers master new skills

Between January and July of 2010, 103 people were certified as literary braille transcribers.

Literary Braille Transcribers

Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware| Florida | Georgia | Idaho | Indiana | Iowa | Kentucky | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Nebraska | Nevada | New Jersey | New York | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina |South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin

Sean M. Belnap, Phoenix
David Borg, Phoenix
Justin Phillips, Wrightsville
Sandra C. Carlson, Moorpark
Beverly Estrada, Modesto
Karen Fullam, Van Nuys
LouAnn Houk, Visalia
Tamara Knemeyer, Rosamond
Timothy Malone, Ventura
Chris Mann, Vacaville
Roger W. Quilalang, Ventura
Robert Roldan, San Jose
Janet Weidner, Newhall
Henry Williams, Vacaville
Diane Carpenter, Colorado Springs
Linda M. Heinz, Lakewood
John C. Epes, Windsor
Mike Guerra, Windsor
Guy Mazrek, Windsor
Rudy Ortiz, Windsor
Graylon Shannon, Cheshire
Ann Parsons Lattanzi, Wilmington
Sheryl S. Bray, St. Augustine
Katherine J. Cary, St. Johns
Lisa Stephens, Glen St. Mary
Ellen Clyde Cook, Decatur
Betsy Grenevitch, Social Circle
Carla O. Maynor, Ringgold
Charles R. Mize, Macon
Debra Nelson, Blue Ridge
James D. Scott, Macon
Jason H. Wilson, Macon
Shad Butikofer, Boise
Albert Ciccone, Boise
Eric Gallion, Boise
William C. Hesse, Boise
Patrick Rasmussen, Boise
Wayne Thurman, Boise
Eric Tracy, Boise
Gregory T. Hilliard, Bunker Hill
Denise Bean, Earlham
Michael H. Goehring, Anamosa
Teresa Hazon, Johnston
Darlene Diersen, Louisville
Kendall Hackney, Lexington
Amy Pace, Louisville
Jeffrey Weathers, Lexington
Alison C. Bell, Uxbridge
Doreen Dillon, Billerica
Jason Armour, Jackson
Carlos King, Jackson
Tomas L. Kowalak, Jackson
Alfonso Martinez, Jackson
James McGuff, Jackson
Raymond E. Murray, Jackson
Harold Shaw, Jackson
Dale Stanfill, Jackson
Regina Mustafa, Rochester
John Sellors, Jackson
Anthony Genovese, Jefferson City
Ulysses McCluster, Jefferson City
Christine L. King, Western
Gregory S. Tulka, Lincoln
David Knorr, Las Vegas
New Jersey
Debra Morgese, Butler
New York
Kathleen Cantrell, New York
Debra Guercia, North Bellmore
Linda Kirchgessner, Hilton
Susan Payne, Medina
North Carolina
Joyce A. Bellassai, Cary
LuWana Harris, Durham
Gary Amatore, Grafton
Johnny Harris, London
Joshua Larkey, Sayre
Jan Lavine, Stillwater
Karen S. Dunbar, Schnecksville
Wendy Gosselin, Pittsburgh
Yessica Otero, Cambridge Springs
Barbara Schick, Merion Station
South Carolina
Samantha Brooks, Greenwood
Anne-Louise Gordon, Greenwood
Anita J. McGraw, Greenwood
Terrie B. Randolph, Spartanburg
South Dakota
David Jenkins, Sioux Falls
Rhonda Haas, Seymour
Heather Baker, Grapeland
Elizabeth Collins, Gatesville
Denise Hall, Gatesville
Pamela L. Hubbard, Gatesville
Cindy M. Marks, Gatesville
Jodi R. McDonnell, Gatesville
Maria Perez, Edinburg
Leta Sanderson, Gatesville
Shelley Trowbridge, Gatesville
Rose D. Turford, Gatesville
Hortencia Urteaga, Houston
Elizabeth Hayson, Troy
Teresa Mullins-Weaver, Troy
Dawn Zepernick, Hopewell
Tamara Brown, Port Angeles
Linda Duncan, Yakima
Stacy McFeely-Hunt, Yakima
Carol Stengl, Menasha

Back to Top

Update editor Freddie Peaco retires after 42 years with NLS

Peako shows veteran a  machine.
Freddie Peaco shows U.S. Air Force veteran Claudia Perry the NLS digital talking-book

Freddie Peaco, NLS government and volunteer information specialist, retired in July 2009 after more than four decades of service.

An only child, Peaco was raised by her maternal grandparents, Jacob and Ella Sturdivant. Peaco grew up surrounded by relatives and friends in Wadesboro, North Carolina. She lost her vision at age seven when DDT from a crop dusting settled into her eyes.

Peaco attended the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in North Carolina and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1965. She completed a master’s degree in public relations and journalism from American University in 1973.

A career government employee, Peaco began working at the District of Columbia Child and Family Service Agency in 1966, where she assigned cases to social workers. In August 1967 Peaco joined the NLS Student Services Section.

She then moved to the NLS Volunteer Utilization Section and the Consumer Relations Section before settling in the Reference Section in the 1980s, where she served the remainder of her career. “I worked in Reference for more than 20 years,” said Peaco. “It was the perfect place for me. I am very much a ‘people person,’ so I enjoyed researching information and answering questions for patrons and the general public. I think I could really identify with them and understand what they needed.”

Part of her job in Reference was to conduct NLS tours. “Conducting tours gave me the opportunity to talk about the program and interact with visitors,” she says. Peaco also collected stories for the Update newsletter. “I enjoyed compiling Update. I knew the people I wrote about and I think I knew what they wanted to hear.”

In 42 years, Peaco saw many changes. “I’ve worked under three Librarians of Congress, two NLS directors, and approximately eight supervisors,” she said. “I’ve also witnessed at least three reorganizations. All have been fulfilling and have helped me grow. My greatest hope is that I’ve made someone’s life a little easier and served others effectively.”

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Peaco since the 1970s,” said Kurt Cylke, NLS director. “She was an invaluable resource for our patrons and staff.”

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 (PMS).

To change address or cancel subscription, please enclose mailing label.
Coordinating editor: Erica Vaughns
Publication editor: Lina Dutky

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


To speed delivery, send your address label from Update along with your new address to:

Publications and Media Section National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Library of Congress Washington, DC 20542-0002

Back to Top

Library of Congress external link disclaimer Disclaimer icon

Issues in 2009

January to March