Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library

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The library offers audio books and Braille services to Arizonans who find it difficult to read standard print because of visual impairment or another physical disabilities. Outreach Librarian Christine Tuttle discusses the services the Talking Book Library provides to its members, free of charge.

Ted Simons: Here now to tell us more about the Arizona braille and talking book library is Christine Tuttle, outreach librarian and special services supervisor. It's good to have you hear. Thanks for joining us.

Christine Tuttle: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: What kinds of books, magazines, reading materials, what kinds of stuff is offered?

Ted Simons: People go in their municipal public library, County library, and they get a whole array of books. The reading pleasure can go from fiction to nonfiction, westerns, romances, fiction, fantasy. The whole variety of the Dewey decimal system for nonfiction. What they would find in printed books in the municipal libraries they would find an audio or braille book for our library.

Ted Simons: 60,000?

Christine Tuttle: Approximately.

Ted Simons: That's a lot of material.

Christine Tuttle: That's in our physical collection. Then we have our virtual downloadable collection including about 400,000 books.

Ted Simons: My goodness! These are books in Brame, in cassette, and in digital, correct? Now there's also some sort of video descriptive services as well.

Christine Tuttle: We are moving from our analog format, the cassette format, which was about a 35-year program, and starting in 2009 we're moved on from the digital program. So we're converting our collection from the analog to the digital. We're starting with the current collection and moving backwards. Then on top of that we have roughly about 750 described movies. Those are on DVD, and on video. What's great about described movie is that my father-in-law was blind and when his grandchildren were around they could all enjoy a movie and what would happen with described videos or movies is when there was no dialogue amongst the characters a narrator would describe the scene, would describe the person, so it was a great way of enjoying a family movie all together.

Ted Simons: Isn't that something! Now, is special equipment needed? You talked about the cloud and I would imagine technology has changed a lot of what you do. Talk about that change. And if there is special equipment needed, is that checked-out as well?

Christine Tuttle: Everything is provided with the public library services that we offer. Because we are serving a specific population, the visuallyism paired, as well as the physically disabled, we provide everything needed through the mail. The new digital book players, don't be afraid of the word digital books or technology. It's so much simpler to use than the old program. We have two models. They are pretty much checked out by accordance to their own public librarian they get assigned to.

Ted Simons: You have something called newsline, which, for those of us who like reading newspapers, talk to us about that. That, if I'm not mistaken, telephone access to a newspaper?

Christine Tuttle: Complete telephone access not only to local papers throughout the state but nationwide papers. They create a user name and password, they dial directly from the phone. The first time they have to press a couple extra buttons to get things started but after that it's real simple. They use the same phone number. It welcomes that person and says where would you like to begin. Press 1 for local papers, press 2 for national papers, 3 for international papers.

Ted Simons: This again, do certain people have to eligible? Do you sign up for something like this?

Christine Tuttle: This is part of our program we offer. We have not only books and magazines in the digital format but also in the newspapers appeared audio, the phone service. That's all included free of charge.

Ted Simons: If you want to be a member now how do you do that?

Christine Tuttle: There's a few ways of signing up. We have our applications online and we have one for individuals, one for facilities including nursing centers and senior centers, also ones for schools. Then just complete the application online, sign it, then mail it back to the library.

Ted Simons: As far as challenges keeping up with technology and such, talk a little bit more about that and the importance of volunteers.

Christine Tuttle: Volunteers are very important with our library. We have approximately 185 volunteers running around the state for us. We have volunteers in the studios. We have volunteers helping us in the machines department, then we have approximately 20 volunteers for outreach. If I could regress, the applications must be signed by a certifying authority. That could be either physicians or specialists, social worker, occupational therapists or any librarians throughout the state.

Ted Simons: You've seen a lot of changes with technology and how things advance.

Christine Tuttle: Technology, Carrie Schaffer is an assistant technology specialist. She came through with quarterly a whole host of information from us. It's amazing what people can use with portable auditory devices.

Ted Simons: Last question here, what is the most popular service that you offer? What gets the most attention?

Christine Tuttle: The most attention that we actually get are from people just enjoying their books. They call us up. We have four public librarians that everyone gets assigned to according to their last name. It's really exciting to have a librarian recommend a book and the patron to call back. Again, getting thanks nearly every day on our services. It's really exciting on being a librarian.

Ted Simons: Here's another thank you. Thank you for the service you perform and the job you do. Thank you for joining us.

Christine Tuttle: Thank you Ted.

Christine Tuttle:Outreach Librarian, Talking Book Library;

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