Responsibility for statewide Talking Book and Braille Service library patrons outside Chicago has moved from the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) to the Illinois State Library (ISL). Consequently, the ISL added nine new part-time workers joined the circulation department of ISL’s TBBS Division in Springfield this summer: Jodie Bruce, Marcus Birch, Adam Green, Michael McCarthy, Sarah Moler, Erica Powell, Cynthia Ryan, Stephanie Tuttle and La Tanya Williams.
The TBBS houses the state's collection of talking books and ships to patrons around the state. Eligible borrowers work through the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center and the Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center to set up service, order books, and ask for help.
As I mentioned would happen in April, the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center formed on Monday, July 1, 2013, as the result of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center in East Peoria and the Voices of Vision (V.O.V.) Talking Book Center in Geneva merging and moving their collections to Springfield to be housed in the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Services. Rose Chenoweth, who had been the Director of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, became the Director of the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center.
This consolidation represented a new service model, as the two Talking Book Centers became a single advisory outreach center. The Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center describes itself as “the human connection of talking books and is where library patrons connect with their reader advisors to access statewide services. Books come from one location and machines from another, but the only contact the patron needs is this organization. They will interact with the other centers to get you the services you need.”
We provide free library service for anyone unable to read regular print because of low vision, blindness, or a physical disability. We register your for talking books and playback equipment. Talking books are mailed free to and from library patrons, wherever they reside. There is no charge, whatsoever, to the patron. Currently, we serve approximately 12,500 active readers.
The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
The TBBS is the liaison with the Library of Congress (LOC) National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), and maintains a reserve collection of talking books. In conjunction with local talking book centers, the TBBS provides a full range of library services specializing in Braille and talking books.
To the Federal Government, the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center is an Advisory Outreach Center. Also, to the Federal Government, the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center and the Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center are both Talking Book Subregional Libraries. Further, to the Federal Government, the Illinois Machine Lending Agency is the Illinois Machine Sub-Lending Agency.
The NLS is at the top of the pyramid of services and works with a nationwide network of talking book regionals, subregionals, machine lending agencies, and advisory outreach centers. The TBBS is the state’s Regional Library for the NLS.
The ISL TBBS Division supports the activities of the Illinois Network of Libraries Serving the Blind and Physically Handicapped, also known as the Illinois Network of Talking Book and Braille Libraries. The latter includes (a) the TBBS; the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center, which offers reader advisory services and outreach; (b) the Chicago Public Library Talking Book Center; and (c) the Illinois Machine Lending Agency, the organization that ships all the machines to talking book patrons in the state. Collectively, all of these centers circulate unabridged books in audio format.
The Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center serves the entire state of Illinois outside Chicago. The TBBS has two Talking Book Subregional Libraries, also known as Talking Book Centers, in Cook County: the Chicago Public Library’s Talking Book Center in the Harold Washington Library Center and the Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center, which is at the RAILS headquarters, 125 Tower Drive suburban Burr Ridge.
Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) is a free service for active Talking Book Patrons with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. More than 30,000 books and sixty magazine titles are available.
On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, Kathryn Patrick announced on the Talking Book Outreach Center’s Web site the NLS had introduced the new BARD App. “Good news for iPhone and iPad users: an app has just been made available that allows you to download and listen to Talking Books on your device! This app works on all iOS devices running version 4.3 and later, which includes the iPhone 3 and later, the iPad, and the 3rd generation and later iPod touch. Like all Talking Books services, the app is free to all of our patrons.”
Ms. Chenoweth announced on the Talking Book Outreach Center’s Web site on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 that due to the Library of Congress closing during the Federal Government shutdown,
…talking book customers do not have access to the following:
---Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)
___Interlibrary loan We borrow RC/cassette books since we own very few in state, many books only available for download that are downloaded on cartridges and loaned for a few weeks, and DB books that are long overdue and left the state with very few to loan out.
This is a great time to get back in touch with your local talking book library!
---We are not federal employees so our libraries are open!
---We have friendly reader advisors that are reading and willing to help you.
---We have physical digital books that are available for you to check out.
---We can connect you with the books of your dreams, your favorite authors, titles, and subjects.
---Our website is up and useable. You are using it right now.
---Our catalog is availabe [sic] for you to look up books on.
So email, write, or call us to order some books. You will enjoy connecting with your reader advisors again.
Ms. Patrick posted an update from the LOC on October 4th. “The Library has restored access to all sites [including Talking Books-related sites] in addition to our legislative information sites. Other legislative branch agencies, and many executive branch agencies with information functions similar to the Library, are granting public access as well.”
As of this morning, BARD (including the BARD app) is back online and operational, as are the NLS website and catalog, and our Interlibrary Loan system.
Please treat the site with respect, downloading only one book at a time, and only a couple of books a day. When everyone downloads several books at one time, the download speed slows down dramatically, making it hard for everyone to get served. If you experience trouble downloading, it may be due to large amounts of traffic returning to the site, and we would encourage you to try again later or contact a Reader Advisor for further assistance.