Insights: Newsletter of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center

Insights is the newsletter of the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center (TBBC). Read our current newsletter. Questions?  Call TBBC at 800-792-8322.


It is a nice feeling to have winter behind us and summer ahead. With summer approaching there are several activities that may be of interest to you. In a few weeks, the Talking Book & Braille Center (TBBC) will begin its summer reading program for children. For older patrons, the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) will be teaching accessible use of iPads at three NJ public libraries.

On June 11, TBBC will be hosting its 7th Annual Golf Classic. Our golf tournament helps us to raise funds for the library. Even if you do not golf, you may have family and friends who do. Please ask them if they are interested in golfing for a worthy cause.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Friends of the Library for their continued support of the golf tournament and summer reading program. We would not be a success without them.

If you have not completed our survey from the winter newsletter, please do so. We want to know your thoughts about our services.

Finally, we are saying goodbye to another staff member. After 16 years at TBBC, Karen Carson will be retiring at the end of June. Karen will be missed by all and we wish her well in all her future endeavors.

Thank you,

Mary L. Chute

New Jersey State Librarian


Come out and Tee up for Talking Books! TBBC is hosting its 7th Annual Golf Classic again at Hopewell Valley Golf & Country Club in Hopewell, NJ. Please join us on Monday, June 11 to support our efforts to provide free access to books, magazines and other print materials to those who cannot access print materials. Even if you are not a golfer, you may know a golfer who may be interested in golfing for this worthy cause! There are other ways to support this event other than golfing such as sponsoring, volunteering, donating an auction item or by just spreading the word. For more information about the golf classic, visit our website at Contact Linda Cerce at 800-792-8322 ext. 835 or email


The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) is continuing the Library Equal Access Program (LEAP) for 2018.  It is designed for New Jersey residents 55 and older who have a change in vision.

The FREE iPad classes will be conducted by Advancing Opportunities and will be held weekly throughout the summer from July through October at three public libraries:  Mays Landing Public Library in Atlantic County, South Orange Public Library in Essex County, and Toms River in Ocean County. The iPad classes will be divided between basic concepts of accessibility and another class for those with intermediate knowledge. All of these libraries are located at NJ Transit Access Link stops.

To register and find the schedule of spring and summer classes, please call Advancing Opportunities, Assistive Technology Services at 888-322-1918, extension 501.


Your gift to the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center will last forever on a book-shaped plaque as part of our Recognition Wall. This wall of acknowledgement will be on display in our library for every visitor to view. Each plaque states the patron’s name in text and in Braille and your special message. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immortalize our valued library patrons and their generous support to their free library. To purchase a book-shaped plaque go to For more information or questions call Linda Cerce at 800-792-8322 ext. 835 or email


We have been informed by the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) that the number of players available is becoming more and more limited. This especially applies to the advance players (DA1).

We add about 100 new library patrons each month and send almost all of them a new player. Beginning this year, we are only sending new patrons the standard player (DS1). This player handles most of the features needed by our patrons to listen to books. We have some advanced players available and will assign them when it is required.

One benefit of the program is the number of NLS-authorized devices that can be used in addition to NLS’s DS1 and DA1. Patrons can use over 20 different players, including cellphones (both Apple and Android products) as well as other commercial products such as the Apple iPad.

To help us have players for everyone, if you no longer are using the NLS player assigned to you, please return the NLS player you are no longer using to TBBC.  We’ll find it a good home.


Summer vacation will be here before you know it, and with it, the start of TBBC’s by-mail Summer Program. Last year we had over sixty children and teens participating! This year’s theme is Libraries Rock! For six weeks over the summer, every participant receives a package full of gifts, games, activities, and book suggestions. In the past, these have included magnetic picture frames, hats, crayons, and stress balls. The gifts are provided thanks to the generosity of TBBC’s Friends of the Library. Braille readers may have their packets in Braille, of course, and all reading counts – Braille, audio, and large print! TBBC encourages participation in local public library’s summer reading events. If you have questions about your local library’s pro-gram being accessible and accepting these formats, please contact us.

To enroll, simply fill out the application that will be mailed to you in the coming weeks. Or, if you can’t wait to sign up, you can email or phone in the following information: your child’s name; age; reading level; preferred method of reading; mailing address; phone number; and, if available, email address. Also, please indicate if you would like for us to Braille your summer reading materials.

Contact Jen Apgar at TBBC with any questions, or if you want suggestions on books for your child to read this summer. Call 800-792-8322 ext. 823 or email to Rock with your Library this summer!


On June 30, after over 16 years, the ubiquitous voice of Karen Carson (like Elvis) will have left the building!

Recognize Karen from TBBC’s telephone voice message? She has also been the ten-year facilitator of its book club, twelve-year coordinator of volunteers and Audiovision news broadcast and book recordings, creator of its first radio play, MLK radio tribute, English as a Second Language practice program, and producer of its only radio reading service conference for the International Association of Audio Information Services.

Karen has presented for the NJ Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism, the NJ State Library’s lunchtime learning series, the Women’s Professional Network, coordinated TBBC’s only diversity forum, and co-coordinated several Fall Festivals where she led author Q&A discussions and interviewed renowned author Mary Jane Clark and others.

Karen warmly thanks all coworkers and volunteers, past and present, and all of TBBC’s readers who have helped give her the unique opportunity to serve New Jersey’s print-disabled community. “Arigatoo gozaimasu and ciao! Your newsreader has been ‘Karen Yoshimoto’. Good night and goodbye.”


If you have one of our talking book machines, you know how wonderful it is. Here are a few tips to keep it humming along:

  • Keep the Box: You will need the box to return or exchange the machine. The plastic envelope on the box has a mailing card, just like the card in your books. Turn the card over to show the library’s address – you do not need to pay postage.
  • Cleaning the Machine: Please do not use soap and water on the machine. Do not pour alcohol or any other liquid onto the machine. If you want to clean it, use a moist wipe or a little alcohol on a cloth to wipe it down.
  • Serial Number Label: Please do not remove the serial number label. It’s on the back of the machine, just above the power cord.
  • Battery for the Machine: If your machine will not recharge, just give us a call. We will mail you a machine with a new battery.  Do not try to open the battery box. It is a special type of battery and we replace the batteries here at the library.

Enjoy these tips and, most importantly, read on!


Thank you to all of you who have completed our 2018 Reader Survey. Your feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

There’s still time to complete a survey if you have not done so already. For a copy of the survey, please call 800-732-8322 ext. 802, or check inside the Winter 2018 edition of TBBC’s Insights newsletter. You also have the option to complete the survey online at


The Friends of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes financial assistance and acts as an advocacy group to the New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center. The Friends support and promote the services and programs of TBBC. They meet twice a year on the first Saturday in June and December at the Joseph Kohn Training Center in New Brunswick, NJ.

For additional information and a membership application, visit the Friends’ website  or call 609-888-5459. The Friends’ email address is and their mailing address is:

The Friends of the NJLBH
P.O. Box 434
Woodbridge, NJ 07095-0434


Toll-Free Phone Number       (800) 792-8322

Local Phone Number             (609) 406-7179

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