LBPH Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter

LBPH Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter

Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter 2013

Breaking News | Digital World | Next Generation | Ongoing Adaptive Services Adult Programs
Updates & Reminders |  Book List | Movie Theaters Make Movie-Going Accessible | Regular Events

Breaking News

Audio Magazines Going Digital
NLS is transitioning audio magazines to digital cartridges. Magazine cartridges are just like book cartridges, except they are blue, and will ship in dark red containers with a distinctive logo.  Cartridges will be mailed at the frequency of your most frequent magazine. For example, readers of The Week will receive their cartridges once a week. The cartridge will also contain any of their monthly magazines issued during that week. 

When a cartridge with more than one magazine is inserted into a digital talking book player, it will announce instructions for navigating among the multiple magazines on that cartridge.  

Readers who receive Digital Talking Books Plus (formerly Talking Book Topics, “TBT”) on cassette will soon receive it on digital cartridge with their other audio magazines. The print order forms for TBT will be mailed to users separately from the magazine cartridge. As with other magazine titles circulated on cartridges, TBT must be returned in order to receive future issues. 

The process for cartridge return is the same for both books and magazines: place the cartridge inside, close the snaps, turn over the address card outside, and send it back. As with books, if cartridges are not returned, your service may be disrupted. All magazines are available on BARD as soon as they pass quality control.
Bigger, Better BARD
The BARD downloadable book service has undergone an upgrade, adding a lot of new features and content.  This “new” BARD includes:

  • Braille Books: BARD stands for Braille and Audio Reading Download. The Web-Braille service has now merged into BARD, so users can find both audio and Braille books from the same source.
  • Music: BARD users can download audio and Braille music instructional and performance materials.
  • My Wish List: If you want to remember a book to download later, you can add it to “My Wish List." Once you download the book, it will automatically be removed from your wish list.
  • My Previous Downloads: Now you can see a list of all the books and magazines you have downloaded. This can help you remember authors you enjoyed and look for additional works by those authors
  • Updated Settings: If it is easier for you to use BARD in black-and-white rather than color, or if you want to see results for only audio or only Braille (instead of both), you can make these changes to your account.

You can now find more information about a book, or find related books, by clicking on the title/book number link at the top of each BARD entry. Remember, BR numbers are Braille, DB numbers are audio books.

More detailed information about the updates appears on the BARD Overview page. If you have any questions about using BARD or need assistance in accessing your account, please contact us at 202-727-2142.

To register to use BARD for the first time, Google “NLS BARD application”: Complete the application, choosing “DC1A DC Regional” as your library.
Books recently recorded by WVRB include:
Stranger to the Game by Bob Gibson. Autobiography of black baseball player. 
Why Kosovo Still Matters by Denis MacShane. British diplomat to the Balkans.
Melonhead by Katy Kelly. Ages 9-12. Set in and around Washington, D.C.
Black Americans of Achievement: Benjamin BannekerAges 12 and older. D.C. interest.

NLS Survey
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will soon be conducting a survey of both current users and people who are eligible for the service who do not use it. The goals are to find what current users like and dislike, and if the service could be made more attractive to non-users. Some of you may be contacted, but those who are not can also volunteer. The survey will be available both be telephone with a live operator and by computer with various screen readers. Exact dates are not set, but within the next few weeks. If you would like to know more, please phone or email us.

Digital World

Digital Talking Book Player Accessories
NLS has several accessories for the digital talking book player available to patrons who need them:

  • Headphones: Stereo headphones that work with both the digital player and the older 4-track cassette player are available to patrons with hearing loss or those who live in group settings, such as a nursing home.  Standard headphones and ear buds will work with the digital talking book player, so you may prefer a smaller, lighter set you already own. or purchase at stores that carry electronic products.
  • Pillow speaker: Small speaker to be placed under a pillow so that only the reader can hear it. Limited to patrons who are confined to bed.
  • Elbow adapter: An L-shaped adapter for use with USB flash drives playing BARD materials; it allows a flash drive inserted in the USB port on the side of the player to lie parallel with the player, rather than sticking straight out.
  • Breath-Switch Adapter: Controls the play/stop function of the digital player. For use by patrons who have limited manual dexterity to operate the NLS digital player. Requires a separate application and comes with an elbow adapter.
  • Amplifier: For patrons with profound hearing loss includes headphones.  Requires a separate application filled out by a medical doctor.

Have you ever wanted to try BARD, but hesitated because you weren’t sure of your computer skills?  For readers who find the process too difficult with a screen reader, too confusing for a beginner, or who have had other technical problems, there is a product you can purchase that may simplify the BARD download process: It is called CDESK for Media by Adaptive Voice, a high contrast, Large Print, fully-speech enabled program for Windows PCs that reduces the BARD download process to just 3 steps:

  1. Enter the book title or author’s name in the search feature.
  2. Select the book you want from the results list.
  3. Choose GET.

The program will automatically download, extract, and transfer the book from BARD onto your flash drive, blank cartridge, or the internal memory of a purchased player. You can download a free 15-day trial version of CDESK for Media, after which you will be required to purchase the software.

There are tutorials available on their website, If you are interested, visit the website for more information.
Digital Talking Book Machine Tips
Frequent difficulties, with solutions:
When I insert a book into the player, it describes the controls and doesn’t play the book:
This happens when the book is not inserted all the way. When pushing a book into the player, you may feel a slight stop. Push slightly harder and the book will click into its playing position. Both book and player are sturdy, so, you can push firmly. If the book still doesn’t play, please contact us for assistance.

While I was listening to a book, I pulled it out of the player and heard "Cartridge Error":  
This error is benign, and can be ignored.

When I insert a book, the player says "Cartridge Error"
Try another book from our library. If another book works, the first book may be defective and should be returned to us marked with a string or rubber band. If you would like to have a replacement copy of the defective book, please let us know. If all the library books you insert say “Cartridge Error," please call for assistance.
on the BARD Main Page, scroll down below “Find Books” and “Find Magazines," to see Instructions, FAQs, and a link to subscribe to the BARD ListServ. The ListServ is for communication among users, so responses are from fellow users.  LS Staff monitor the ListServ to note trends in comments and concerns and remove inappropriate content, but they do not respond to specific questions.
On the horizon for BARD
NLS director, Karen Keninger, has declared apps for the Android and iOS devices a priority, and NLS staff are working to develop and implement apps that will enable NLS patrons with these devices to listen to downloaded BARD content. No launch date has been set, but we hope some time in 2013.

Next Generation

Braille Book Club
The DC Regional LBPH and Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind continue their partnership in a book club for braille readers grades 1-6. We normally meet from 11 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of each month. (Call to confirm meetings.) Fun and new friends are waiting!
Teen After School Tuesdays
Teens meet at Adaptive Services to practice skills for the future like:

  • College or job applications and interviews;
  • Visit museums and other interesting places;
  • Exchange with blind teens from Massachusetts over the Internet;
  • and many other activities.

This is a partnership with DC Schools and Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind; transportation and food are provided.  Call us for more information.
ASL Story Hour
Selected Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Children’s Room at MLK Library, Gallaudet University students sign stories, DCPL Children’s Librarians lead crafts, ASL interpreters and therapy dogs from People Animals Love work together.

For more information, call Janice Rosen on ASL video phone at 202-559-5368, or via voice video relay service at 866-570-7364, or email

Ongoing Adaptive Services Adult Programs

Low Vision Independence for Seniors Through Arts and Culture
Second Wednesday of each month, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in partnership with Prevention of Blindness of Metropolitan Washington. Presentation and discussion, with complimentary light lunch. Topic for March 13 will be “The Descriptive Theatrical Experience." Future topics to be announced. Call by the Monday before to reserve so we can plan lunch.
Saturday Technology Sessions
Focus on adaptive technology for personal use, job hunting and a variety of other important topics.  We meet first and third Saturdays; structured program from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., networking from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. To join the email or phone list for reminders and topics of each program, call 202-727-2142.
Talking Book Club
Second Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brown bag lunches welcome; coffee, tea and cold water provided. We read and discuss a variety of books from the NLS collection, fiction and non-fiction.  Call to receive the book each month — we welcome newcomers.  Some folks receive the book each month to add variety and broaden their reading, even if they are not able to attend.
Tech Talk Tuesday (BLV)
First Tuesdays in Adaptive Services, informal meeting on using iPad and similar devices with adaptations for blind and low vision, 6 p.m.
Tech Talk Monday (DHH)
Fourth Mondays, similar to above, for deaf and hard of hearing, 6:30 p.m.
Game Nights
Fourth Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Large print and braille games.
ASL Classes
We offer free classes in American Sign Language on Monday and Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at MLK Library. Learners are welcome to attend either one, or both. Call 202-727-2142 or email for additional information.

Updates & Reminders

D.C. government has created a website to receive your feedback on city services.  If library services are important to you, please visit Grade DC and give your feedback!  If your comments are specific to Adaptive Services, please state that, in contrast to comments about the whole MLK building or the whole system.  This is an important route for feedback to city officials, the library administration and board, so let your voice be heard.  If you are not a computer user, call us at 202-727-2142, and dictate your comments to us.
New Features on NFB Newsline
NFB Newsline, the free audible newspaper and magazine reading service from the National Federation of the Blind, has recently added some new features:

  • Accuweather Emergency Weather Alerts: Users can automatically hear weather alerts for their area when they log in by telephone or through the iPhone app.
  • My Newspaper: Newsline users can create their own custom newspaper that brings together favorite publications or sections of newspapers; content refreshes daily.
  • NFB-Newsline Mobile: App is free for use with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (at this point the app is not available for Android or other smartphones). You can search for the app in the iTunes store, and then download it to your iDevice. Once the app is installed all you need to do is log in with your 6-digit user ID and 4-digit pin, and you have instant access. The app is fully compatible with Apple’s Voice Over® software.
  • NFB-Newsline In Your Pocket: With this free downloadable program, you only need to plug your device into your computer with a USB cord, launch the program, and your favorite newspapers and magazines are placed on your device automatically. For devices like the Victor Reader Stream, Icon/Braille+, BookSense, and BookPort Plus.
  • Podable News: When you launch this free downloadable program, your selected publications download as MP3 files onto your computer, which you can copy over to your device.  For any MP3 or DAISY-supported player.

Patrons can sign up for Newsline by calling or e-mailing Kathy Gosselin at 202-442-4365.  Kathy can also help with questions about using Newsline features.
Help Keep Us Up-to-Date
It is essential that we have current contact information for every patron. If you change mailing address, phone or email, please call 727-2142, or email
Closing an LBPH account
If you or a family member is closing an account, players and Talking Books can be mailed to us as Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped, or you can drop them off at Adaptive Services at the MLK Library. All players and materials are the property of the Federal Government and must be returned. This includes non-working players, as we repair them or salvage parts to repair other players.

Book List: Celebrating Black History Month and Women’s History Month

Butler, Mary G. Sojourner Truth: From Slave to Activist for Freedom. Narrated by Allyson Johnson. Biography of abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth (1797-1883). Formerly a slave named Isabella, she chose her own name when she escaped to freedom. Uses Truth’s speeches, autobiography, and other primary sources to chronicle her life. For grades 4-7. Commercial audiobook. 2003. DB 74248.
Dungy, Camille T, Ed. Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry. Narrated by Dan Bloom. This anthology of verse by 93 writers spans the history of black poetry in America, with the earliest pieces by Phillis Wheatley and the latest by Nikki Giovanni and Rita Dove. The 180 selections are presented in themed cycles rather than chronologically. 2009. DB 73042.
McWhirter, Cameron. Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Narrated by J. P. Linton. Discusses the race riots and lynchings in 1919 as African Americans became more prosperous and willing to fight for equal rights. Examines the cascade of events that followed the initial, deadly incident in Carswell Grove, Ga., on April 13 of that year. Violence. 2011. DB 74518.
Olson, Lynne. Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970. Narrated by Gail Nelson. A journalist highlights women’s contributions to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Beginning with the antislavery movements of the South, through the Civil Rights era, to contemporary feminist issues, Olson describes the works of both black and white women who fought for freedom and equality. 2001. DB 52736.
Sharfstein, Daniel J. The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey From Black to White. Narrated by John Polk. Traces three diverse Southern families with African ancestry who chose to pass as white during different periods of U.S. history. Researches the Gibsons, South Carolina landowners; the Spencers, Appalachian farmers; and the Walls, part of the Washington, D.C., middle class. 2011. DB 73911.
Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Narrated by Kerry Dukin. Science journalist chronicles the life of African American Henrietta Lacks, who in 1951 had cervical tissue removed and grown in culture -- without her permission -- producing the first continuously replicating human-cell samples for research. Discusses subsequent medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine and AIDS treatment. Explores bioethical concerns involving tissue ownership. Bestseller. 2010. DB 70661.
Stanton, Mary. From Selma to Sorrow: The Life and Death of Viola Liuzzo. Narrated by Pam Ward. Traces the youth of southerner Viola Liuzzo, her college and young adult years in Detroit, her involvement in civil rights protests, and her participation in a 1960s voting-rights march in Selma, Ala. Details the search for the truth about her life and the circumstances surrounding her death. 1998. DB 48314.
Ward, Geoffrey C. Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Narrated by Mitzi Friedlander. Historian Ward, author of A First-Class Temperament (RC 32300), examines the lives of Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and their campaign for American women’s voting rights. Puts suffrage in the context of social movements including abolition, temperance and social justice. Companion to the PBS documentary. 1999. DB 64389.
Young, Kevin. The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness. Narrated by Andy Pyle. Poet explores the influence of storytelling on literature and music in African-American culture. Examines encoded spirituals in the time of slavery, works of the Harlem Renaissance, and rap and hip-hop of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. 2012. DB 74877.

Movie Theaters Make Movie-Going Accessible

Regal and Cinemark theater locations now offer technology that assists blind and low-vision movie-goers (as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons). Currently, all Regal theater locations nationwide and some Cinemark theaters offer this technology. Cinemark plans to have these features in all theaters nationwide by mid-2013.

At the theaters, blind and low-vision film-goers can borrow special headsets to hear descriptive narration (DN) tracks. DN tracks are a second audio track with special narration describing the action on the screen during natural breaks in the film dialog. Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons may also borrow special devices (lightweight eyewear at Regal or an OLED display at Cinemark) to enable direct viewing of closed captioned (CC) text.

DN and CC can only be accessed by use of this special equipment and is not audible or visible to other movie-goers. This means that DN and CC are increasing in availability for those movie titles that offer DN/CC.  For more information, check the websites below, and call theatres for additional details:
Call your local theater directly to ensure a movie has DN/CC.

  • Fandango: Movie titles will be noted with “Accessibility Devices.”
  • Caption Fish: All movie times/theaters listed have DN/CC.
  • Cinemark Closed Caption List:  A “quick look” text list of all current movie titles playing at Cinemark that have DN/CC.
  • Visit the “Theaters” tab to find your local theater. Movie titles will be noted with an image “Descriptive Narration” or “Closed Caption.” Also, a section titled “Caption/Description” has a text list of current movie titles with DN/CC at your local theater.
  • Regmovies: On this Regal website, find your local theater’s webpage. Individual movie times are followed by “CC.” According to a staff member at Regal, about 90 percent of the movies listed with “CC” also offer a descriptive narration track.

Inside the Beltway: A Newsletter is published by the Washington, D.C. 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, audio and email. To make changes, please contact us by telephone or email.
-- Serena McGuire, Editor and Reader’s Advisor

Regular Events

Holidays, Library closed:

  • DC Emancipation Day -- Tuesday, April 16
  • Memorial Day -- Monday, May 27
  • Independence Day -- Thursday, July 4 

Program schedules change around holidays and vacations. Please call 202-727-2142 for updates and other information. 

Braille Book Club
Grades 1-6; 11 a.m.-12 p.m., first Saturdays
Saturday Sessions
1-4 p.m., first and third Saturdays
ASL Story Hour
11 a.m.-1 p.m., selected Saturdays, call for dates.
Tech Talk  Monday (deaf and hard of hearing)
6:30 p.m., fourth Mondays
Tech Talk Tuesday (blind and low vision)
6 p.m., first Tuesdays
WebAccessibilityDC Meetup
6:30 p.m., third Tuesdays
Game Nights
6:15-8 p.m., fourth Tuesdays
Talking Book Club
11 a.m.-1 p.m., second Thursdays

Adaptive Services Division, Room 215
901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC  20001
Phone: 202-727-2142, email:
Mon. & Tues. Noon-9:00; Wed., Thur., Fri. 9:30-5:30
Voice/VideoPhone for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Callers: 202-559-5368