Senior Helpline: 211 * City of Jacksonville: 630-CITY

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starting a Talking Book Club?

Have you read any interesting Talking Books that you would like to discuss with other avid readers? Do you live in a nursing home or assisted living community where other Talking Book readers reside? If you would like information about starting a Talking Book Club call the Talking Book Library at 630-1999 for information about recruiting members, selecting titles, finding discussion questions and holding meetings. The Talking Book Library currently supports 3 active book clubs for users of Talking Books.

Monday, November 16, 2009 is a free website that serves as a self-help resource center for someone experiencing vision loss, their family, friends and professionals who specialize in various visual impairments. The website itself features accessibility options such as adjustable font sizes and the ability to change the contrast of the screen. There are exhaustive lists of state and national organizations that provide services and products to assist someone coping with vision loss. For those seeking to understand the changes that they are going through there is information in the 'Learning' section that details the inner workings of the eye and the conditions that may impair vision. In the 'Living' section you will find information pertaining to modifying one's home environment and the basics for gettting around. If you or someone you know is beginning to experience vision loss I think you will find this website to be a good starting point for the information, care and counseling that you might need.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Change in Closed Caption Movie Series

The Closed Caption Movie series is now being held on the first Thursday of each month. The movies are still being shown in the Main Library Auditorium at 10:30am. Here is the link to the ongoing movie series:
If you have any questions please call 630-1999.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free Hearing Aids for the Needy

The Northeast Florida Lions Club chapter offers free hearing aids to those who do not have adequate income or resources to obtain one. The Northeast Florida Hearing Aid bank is located in Jacksonville and collects used hearing aids from the public and repairs them if necessary. The Lions Club relies on the volunteered assistance of local audiologists to conduct hearing exams and fit each recipient with the proper hearing aid. An application must be completed in order to receive a hearing aid. Here is the link to the online application: The Lions Club is also accepting monetary donations in order to acquire hearing aids for those that have a specific need.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Looking for articles in accessible formats?

The Jacksonville Public Library now offers an updated feature of the Gale database called 'Gale Powersearch' which includes Readspeaker technology that converts text to speech. Each article includes an embedded audio interface for activating the Readspeaker technology. There is also the option to download articles as mp3 files for listening to at a later date. Currently Gale Powersearch searches 24 databases of more than 20,000 publications with 55,000,000 documents. This form of added accessibility should prove useful to students or anyone else with a visual disability who is conducting research for school or personal reasons. To find Gale Powersearch visit the Jacksonville Public Library's website at Click on the link titled 'E-Research' in the 'Resources' category. This will lead you to an alphabetical listing of the library's databases;
scroll down to find Gale Powersearch. Call the Talking Book Library at 630-1999 or the Jacksonville Public Library at 630-2665 for more information.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PCs for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Texas Center for the Physically Impaired offers free computers to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Actually, the computer is free but there is a $100 charge to cover packing, shipping and replacement parts. The computers that they provide have been refurbished by a staff of volunteers and include a monitor, keyboard, CD-ROM, modem and speakers. Also included are a word processing program, an email program and demo versions of two adaptive technology programs: Window-Eyes and Zoomtext. This service is available to any visually impaired person in the United States. Before receiving a computer an applicant must first be willing to listen to several audiocassettes that teach basic computer use. For more information call (214) 340-6328. Visit their website at the following address:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Anchors Aweigh Charters, Inc.

Established in 1997 Anchors Aweigh Charters, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides fishing charters and boat tours, free of charge to those with physical and developmental disabilities as well as those diagnosed with a terminal illness. Steve and Wanda Hair, the owners, believe that “the objective of fishing is not always to catch fish but that being on the water is therapy for the soul”.
Anchors Aweigh Charters, Inc. operates through a 36 foot boat named ‘Ye Ole Pirate’ out of Amelia Island, Florida. The vessel has been specially modified for wheelchair access and stability including a large number of extra hand holds and several other patented handicapped devices in order to provide the highest level of safety and comfort for those aboard. Each individual’s boating experience can be personally customized according to interest and physical ability. If you or someone you know have ever thought that you’d never have an opportunity to catch a fish or sail the open seas due to a disability then you should consider participating in this unique experience.
The application for chartering a fishing trip or cruise can be found at their website: Scheduling a charter can also be made by calling (904) 277-6814 or email at the following address:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Talking Book Library email address

You can now contact the Talking Book / Special Needs Library at the following email address: Feel free to send us emails regarding book orders, profile changes and any other questions or concerns you might have with your Talking Book service.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ask a Librarian

Do you ever have a question that isn't Talking Book related? An in-depth reference question that might require consultation of multiple online information sources? If you ever have such a question you might consider Ask a Librarian for your information needs. Ask a Librarian is a free online service that allows Talking Book Library customers with broadband Internet access to conduct live chat sessions with a librarian. There are more than 100 participating state libraries available for weekday and weekend chat sessions as well as 24/7 email assistance. Local chat sessions with Jacksonville librarians are available Monday through Friday from 2pm to 4pm. For more information visit the following address:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Described Movie Series

The Talking Book / Special Needs Library now hosts a free movie in described format for the blind, visually impaired, senior citizens with failing vision and any adult that would enjoy a movie in this format. Described movies (also called "Descriptive") feature an extra audio track containing a narration of the action taking place on the screen. The narration is usually very subtle and inobtrusive allowing the viewer to also hear the dialogue and other sounds in the movie. This film series will be held in the Main Library Auditorium at 10:30am on the third Friday of the month. We would like for moviegoers to try to arrive at the Main Library around 10am so to allow time to navigate their way through the building. For more information visit the following website: or call 630-1999.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

NLS BARD Downloadable Audio Book and Magazine Service

The NLS BARD Downloadable Audio Book and Magazine Service is another service offered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in addition to the standard mail delivery service. BARD gives registered Talking Book customers access to downloadable digital books and magazines. In order to qualify for this service one needs to own one of 3 approved audio book players: Humanware Victor Reader Stream, LevelStar Icon or APH Braille Plus Mobile Manager. After acquiring one of these audio book players a customer will need to contact his/her local Talking Book library and complete the Request Access form. For application instructions see the following link:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Adaptive Technology built into Windows

A lot of people don't know that there are already accessibility features built into most Microsoft Windows operating systems. To access these features in Microsoft Windows XP first click on the Start menu, followed by "All Programs", followed by "Accessories", followed by "Accessibility" which will lead you to an Accessibility Wizard, Magnifier, Narrator, On Screen Keyboard and a Utility Manager. The Accessibility Wizard helps a user configure his or her computer via a set of options for those who are blind or have difficulty seeing things on the screen and those who have difficulty using the mouse or keyboard. The Magnifier option creates a viewing area at the top of the screen that magnifies the focus of the mouse pointer or keyboard as well as inverts the color scheme. The Narrator option operates like a screen reader for those who have trouble viewing the screen. The onscreen keyboard is set up exactly like a standard keyboard except the keys are selected by the mouse pointer. The Utilities Manager assists in using the accessibility features.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Talking Books Digital Transition

In early 2009 the Talking Book / Special Needs Library will begin a transition from books on cassette to digital books on flash cartridges. This new service will be first available to veterans of the United States Armed Forces, then to those customers 100 years of age and older, followed by the rest of our Talking Book eligible customers. The new Talking Book reader will be about 1/3 the size of the current tape player, weigh almost half as much and function much like a CD or MP3 player. The actual Talking Books will be recorded on a flash device that is about the size of a tape cassette. Most Talking Books will fit on one cartridge with only very few requiring an extra cartridge. During the digital transition Talking Books on cassette will still be available alongside what will be a small but growing digital Talking Book collection. We anticipate Talking Books on cassette being available for another 10 to 12 years. For more information on the Talking Book digital transition visit the following website: