LBPH Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter

LBPH Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter

Vol. 20, No. 2 Fall 2010

NDEA Month | Old Favorite, New Name | Digital Transition Update
Updates and Reminders | Next Generation | From the News | Upcoming Events

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Oct. 1-31
Art-by-people-with-disabilities exhibit by VSA Arts in East and West Lobbies of the second floor.

Saturday, Oct. 9
Accessibility Camp DC, 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Computer professionals and users discuss current and future developments in Adaptive Technology.  Call Patrick Timony at 202-727-2142.

Tuesday, Oct. 19
2010 Mayor’s Annual Disability Awareness Conference: “Towards Full Inclusion – Let’s Achieve It!” at Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library, 901 G St. NW, Great Hall, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
Free Admission.  

Topics will include:
  • Community Inclusion
  • Workforce Development and District Resources
  • Programs and Services
Register online at or by fax at 202-727-9484. To learn more about the 2010 Mayor’s Annual Conference, please contact Christina Mitchell or Mat McCullough at 202-724-5055 or

Tuesday, Oct. 26
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind Employment Connection Fair. Martin Luther King Library, 901 G Street NW, noon-4 p.m.  
Qualified blind and visually impaired individuals seeking employment as Switchboard Operator; Mailroom Clerk; Help Desk (Oracle); or Document Prep Specialist, come dressed to interview, and bring your current résumé. RSVP by October 19. 240-737-5105 or

Old Favorite, New Name

Saturday Technology Sessions
We thought this name better represents the group presentation nature of these sessions on adaptive technology for personal use, job hunting and other important information. They meet first and third Saturdays, with programs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and networking from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Game Nights
On Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., Adaptive Services will host our first monthly games night for blind and low-vision gamers. All our games feature braille and/or large print. Games are a fun, interactive way to promote knowledge, literacy and community for people of all ages. Games include Scrabble; Bingo; cards, trivia and computer word games. For more information, or to offer suggestions, contact Chris Corrigan at 202-727-2143 or by email at

Washington Volunteer Readers for the Blind
Jean Yablon—WVRB has had an active summer recording several interesting books: WVRB also records magazines for national distribution. These include AARP Bulletin, Black Enterprise, NARFE, New York Review of Books and Washingtonian.  Please call 202-727-2142 if you would like to borrow one of these books or be put on a mailing list to receive a magazine on tape.

Award-Winning Staff
Three Adaptive Services staff members were honored recently:
  • Patrick Timony, Adaptive Technology Librarian, received the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Award for D.C. Employees whose contributions have been exceptional and whose commitment and professionalism demonstrate the best in public service on May 28.
  • Janice Rosen, Deaf Services Librarian, was honored on Sept. 25 for her leadership in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community with the Hamilton 2010 Deaf Awareness Week Award. Hamilton Relay provides traditional relay services, Internet-based relay and captioned telephone services and other services for people with hearing impairments.
  • Venetia Demson,Chief of Adaptive Services, was honored with an award for outstanding leadership at its D.C. State Convention on Oct. 9.

Digital Transition Update

What’s Available or in Process
Talking Book Topics (TBT) lists books being added to the collection in DB (digital) or RC (cassette) in a two-month period. (The five-digit number is the same for either format.)  To include books previously released and those in process, search the NLS collection at or the DC Regional’s online public access catalog (OPAC). You can search our OPAC by author, title or recent issue of TBT. The ability for a patron to submit an order from the OPAC is in development.

When Tonia Gatton downloaded the digital talking-book version of Charlotte's Web to her home computer, she knew she would enjoy a classic of children's literature.  What she didn't know was that she was also making history with the one-millionth piece of reading material delivered by the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service.

Available since April 30, 2009, BARD serves over 15,000 of NLS's more than 800,000 patrons with access to over 20,000 titles, with more added each week. Gatton, a rehabilitation teacher at the Kentucky Office for the Blind, says, "After only a little over a year of using BARD, I can't imagine what I did without it."

If you want digital books right away, as well as a larger selection to choose from, consider signing sign up for BARD. Once registered, you use a high-speed connection (not dial-up) to transfer the data to your computer, unzip the file, then to a flash drive for the NLS player or to a privately purchased player. This process can take can take as little as 10 minutes! No waiting for cartridges to come in the mail! NLS digital books are encrypted, and you must apply to the NLS BARD website to register as a patron  If you have a privately owned player, that must be registered also. Search “NLS BARD application” in Google for the application and instructions. Patrons who would like a one-on-one lesson in BARD are encouraged to call 202-727-2142 for an appointment

Cartridges, Cables and Flash Drives
Once you download a book, you must move it to your player. If you are using a purchased machine with internal memory, you do this with a cable.

Do not attempt to insert a USB drive into the port on the player. It is recommended you purchase cartridges just like the NLS model from American Printing House for the Blind at or 1-800-223-1839, or from Adaptive Technology Online at (click on Talking Book accessories) or call 1-978-462-3817.

Digital Player
All individual patrons who have requested Digital Talking Book Machines (DTBMs) have received them. If you would like a player and do not have one, please let us know. We plan to start working with schools and other institutional accounts this fall. NLS is no longer ordering new books  on Recorded Cassette (RC), although those in production will continue to arrive into 2011. This means it is important to have a Digital Machine by the end of 2010, so you can receive the latest titles.

The NLS headphones were developed for the cassette player, and use a connector that is too large for the digital machine. An adapter is in process, and we have our order in! Please call and let us know if you would like to receive one when they come in. If you need one sooner, they are available at many stores that sell electronics and generally cost $5 to $10. We suggest taking both the machine and player with you to the store so you can be certain of getting the correct size plugs.

Shorter Player Announcements
To shorten the messages on your Standard Digital player for volume, speed and tone, and lessen interruption to your books:
  1. Remove cartridge from the player.
  2. Press and hold "Fast Forward."
  3. Press and hold "Speed Down" so both buttons are held down at the same time for two seconds. The player will say “Reduced verbosity” to confirm.
If you decide to return to the longer messages, follow the directions above, but substitute ”Speed Up” for “Speed Down” until you hear the confirmation “Normal verbosity.” (The Advanced model automatically shortens the messages when in use, so this is not necessary.)

Updates & Reminders

Post Office “Crunch”
Please remember that mail takes longer in December. Order your books early, to avoid being left with nothing to read.

Current Patron Info
It is essential that we have current mailing address and telephone for every member. If you change your address or phone, please call 202-727-2142, or e-mail us at

Picking Up Books
Instead of waiting for books, they can be waiting for you! If you prefer to pick up your books, it is important for us to know one day ahead. Our books are on a different floor, and we don’t always have someone available to retrieve them.

Returning Books
When you return digital books to us, please be sure the right book is inside. We receive quite a few cases with the wrong DB or no DB. This always delays the book becoming available to the next users, and sometimes the DB is lost completely. Keeping track of DBs is especially important because they cost nearly $9 each to produce, while cassettes cost less than 50 cents. After you have read your digital books, please send them back in their correct cases so others can enjoy them, too.

It is most effective to return each book as you finish it, because checking in a book prompts the next one in your request list to go out. The circulation period for RCs is three months. DBs and all other material circulate for one month. Please remember others who are waiting to use the books.

Player Problems
If you have player problems, please call us. We may be able to troubleshoot by phone. If not, we can exchange it for a working one. We recommend keeping a cassette player for the present.  Magazines and many older books will be available only on cassette for some time.

Closing an LBPH Account
A reminder to family members, friends and patrons who have decided to close their LBPH library account and cancel service: Players and materials are the property of the federal government and must be returned. Even non-working players must be returned, as we can often repair them or salvage parts to repair other players.

Next Generation

Beginning with this issue, we are introducing this section especially for young adults and children. In libraries, “young adult” generally includes ages 12 to 25, so this section is for you if you were born in 1985 or after!

Braille Book Club Tours the White House
The D.C. Regional LBPH and Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind continue their successful partnership with the Braille Book Club for children who are braille readers. The Aug. 7 meeting offered a real treat — a described tour of the White House!

Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, attended our November meeting and invited us to this unique event, which was enjoyed by all who attended. The first Saturday of each month, kids from 6 to 12 meet from 11 a.m. to noon to share a book, become friends and enjoy snacks, followed by another interest…

Chess Club
Try our new Chess Club for children and youth who are blind or have low vision. Lessons are led by Mr. Bennett, a chess instructor at the library. We meet the first and third Saturdays of each month from noon to about 1:30 p.m. in Room 215.  Call us for more information.

Scout Handbooks
These are now available in digital. The numbers are:
DB 70162 Webelos; DB 70163 Cub; DB 70164 Tiger; DB 70165 Venturer; DB 70166 Fieldbook and DB 70167 Boy Scouts Guidebook.

If you download these to your own flash drive, you can keep them as long as you need them.

From the News

Free Passes for Library Patrons
The Museum of America and the Sea in Mystic, Connecticut, offers free passes available on request from NLS. Mystic Seaport hosts a variety of events throughout the year. For more information and to view the calendar, visit

NLS has one pass for each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday. Each pass provides free admission to Mystic Seaport for two adults and three children on the printed day. Patrons who wish to reserve a pass should contact NLS directly by sending an email to They should include their name, address, telephone number, and the date(s) and day(s) of the week they wish to visit Mystic Seaport, as well as alternate dates for the visit.

Passes also may be requested by writing the Mystic Pass Coordinator, Publications and Media Section, NLS/BPH, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20542. Postal service to NLS is subject to security inspection, so letters should be sent six to eight weeks in advance of the period needed. For more information contact: Jane Caulton Head, Publications and Media Section.

Harvard University Offers Free Tuition to Low-Income Undergrads
Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers says, "When only 10 percent of students in elite higher education come from families in the lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough." If you know a family earning less than $60,000 a year with an honor student, he or she may be able to go to Harvard for free -- no tuition and no student loans!

To find out more about this offer visit: or call 617-495-1581.

White Cane Safety Day
To honor the many achievements of blind and visually impaired Americans and to recognize the white cane's significance in advancing independence, we observe Oct. 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day."

For centuries, the "cane" was used merely as a tool for travel and it was not until the 20th century that the cane, as we know it today, was promoted for use by the blind as a symbol to alert others to the fact that an individual was blind. This new role for the white cane had its origins in the decades between the two World Wars, beginning in Europe and then spreading to North America. The first White Cane Ordinance in the United States was passed in December 1930 in Peoria, Ill. It granted blind pedestrians protections and the right-of-way while carrying a white cane. Several states passed similar laws. During the early 1960s, several state organizations and rehabilitation agencies serving the blind and visually impaired citizens of the United States urged Congress to proclaim Oct. 15 of each year to be White Cane Safety Day in all 50 states. This event marked a climatic moment in the long campaign of the organized blind movement to gain state as well as national recognition for the white cane.

On Oct. 6, 1964, a joint resolution of the Congress, HR 753, was signed into law authorizing the President of the United States to proclaim Oct. 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day." The resolution read "Resolved by the Senate and HR. that the President is hereby authorized to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15 as White Cane Safety Day and calling upon the people of the United States to observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and activities." Within hours of passage of the congressional resolution, President Lyndon B. Johnson went down in history as the first to proclaim October 15, as White Cane Safety Day. The Presidential proclamation emphasized the significance of the use of the white cane as both a tool and as a visible symbol. In the first White Cane Proclamation, President Johnson commended blind people for the growing spirit of independence and the increased determination to be self-reliant and dignified. He said in part: "A white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person's ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and opportunity for mobility of the blind on our streets and highways."

During most years since 1964, the President has proclaimed October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. On October 15, 2000, President Bill Clinton again reminded us of the history of the white cane as a tool, and its purpose as a symbol: "The white cane has given them the freedom to travel independently to their schools and workplaces and to participate more fully in the life of their communities. It reminds us that the only barriers against people with disabilities are discriminatory attitudes and practices that our society has too often placed in their way.”

Upcoming Events

Holidays, library closed
Monday, Oct. 12, Columbus Day
Thursday, Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day
Thursday, Nov. 25, Thanksgiving
Friday, Dec., 24, Christmas
Friday, Dec. 31, New Year’s

Braille Book Club
Kids 6-12, the first Saturday of each month 11 a.m. to noon.

Chess Club
Youth 6-19, first Saturday of each month, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Talking Book Club
Second Thursday of each month, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (brown bag welcome). 
Please note - November meeting is third Thursday, due to holiday. 

Saturday Sessions
First and third Saturday of each month, 1-4 p.m. 
To join the e-mail list for reminders and topics of upcoming programs, call 202-727-2142.

Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter is published by the Washington, DC Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, in the Adaptive Services Division of the DC Public Library.  It is sent to patrons who are registered with us and to other interested parties, and is available in large print, on cassette, and by email. 
To change your address or format, please contact us by telephone, 202-727-2142 or email:
-- Serena McGuire, Editor & Reader’s Advisor