April 7, 2020 Library of Congress Crime Classics Series Debuts Simultaneously in Print and Braille

Poisoned Pen Press Partners with National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled in Developing Electronic and Hard Copy Braille and Audio Editions

Press Contact: Brett Zongker, Library of Congress (202) 707-1639 | Liz Kelsch, Sourcebooks, liz.kelsch@sourcebooks.com

The Library of Congress Crime Classics series is debuting simultaneously in print and braille with the first title, "That Affair Next Door."

Poisoned Pen Press, the mystery imprint of leading independent publisher Sourcebooks, worked closely with the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress to ensure a simultaneous print and braille release of “That Affair Next Door” by Anna Katharine Green, the debut title in the new Library of Congress Crime Classics series.

“The collaboration between Poisoned Pen Press, the Library of Congress’ Publishing Office and NLS led to a big win all around,” said National Library Service Director Karen Keninger. “The Library of Congress is committed to being a library for all people, and accessibility is a big part of that. This will allow our patrons to enjoy ‘That Affair Next Door,’ and future books in the Crime Classics series, much sooner than if we followed the usual route to producing them in braille and audio.”

On Tuesday, the electronic braille version of “That Affair Next Door” will be available on BARD, the NLS’s Braille and Audio Reading Download website. Hard copy braille and audio editions were also intended for simultaneous release but were delayed by work disruptions related to the coronavirus outbreak. A new release date has not been set.

When the Library of Congress announced plans for the Crime Classics series last September, Alice O’Reilly of the NLS Materials Development Division worked with Becky Brasington Clark in the Publishing Office to make sure the NLS Studio got the full text of “That Affair Next Door” so it could produce a recording. Besides the original text, the Crime Classics edition includes additional features such as an introduction by Edgar Award winner Leslie S. Klinger and discussion questions.

“Crime fiction, mysteries and suspense stories are very popular with our patrons, so we knew they would be eager to read these books in accessible formats,” O’Reilly said.

The NLS Collection Development Section lined up production of the book in braille and on digital cartridge, the audio format used by patrons who prefer to receive books in the mail from their NLS-affiliated library.

“Thanks to the willingness of Poisoned Pen Press to share the final clean manuscript with NLS a few weeks ago, NLS will be able to release a braille edition of the book simultaneously with the print publication,” Clark said. “Patrons with disabilities often wait months to get access to newly published material.”

“That Affair Next Door” introduced readers to Miss Amelia Butterworth, an inquisitive single woman who becomes involved in a murder investigation after the woman next door turns up dead. She was the first female detective to appear in a series, long preceding Miss Marple.

Two more Crime Classics titles are scheduled to be released this year: “The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope” (1943) by C. W. Grafton, father of bestselling detective novelist Sue Grafton, and “Case Pending” (1960) by Dell Shannon. Titles in the series are drawn from the Library’s collection of hard-to-find and out-of-print books, with cover designs inspired by images from the Library's collections.

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About the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States, and extensive materials from around the world, both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services, and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

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PR 20-027
2020-04-07
ISSN 0731-3527