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

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ride Smart

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) in a collaborative effort with ElderSource in Action, Inc. has created a free new program called Ride Smart to assist senior citizens, people with disabilities and those new to using public transportation in gaining experience with all the different modes of public transportation available in Jacksonville. This program is self-paced and begins with one-on-one or group instruction and progresses in a step-by-step process until the individual feels confident enough to travel independently. The Ride Smart program will instruct participants in the use of city buses, Community Shuttles and the Skyway. As part of this instruction, participants will learn how to plan a trip, read and understand route maps and schedules, recognize bus numbers and bus stops, and locate and transfer to other buses. More importantly to people with disabilities is the instruction in boarding and disembarking safely, how to board with a mobility device (such as a wheelchair), and how to secure a mobility device for safe travel. Those interested should call (904) 391-6682 and they will be matched with a trainer suited that individual's needs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Accessible World

Accessible World is a website that features podcasts, web-conferences and other information relevant to individuals in the disabled community and those that serve them. The podcasts cover new accessible products, services, book reviews, interviews and a host of other informative topics. The podcasts can be listened to live-streaming or downloaded as a .mp3 file. The website also maintains an archive of their most popular series of podcasts. The Conference Rooms section features web-conference discussions on interests such as history, books, healthy living, sports and other topics. Prior to participating in the web-conferencing there is a one-time downloading and installation of a plug-in necessary to participate. A general list of information titled Navigation includes information pertaining to a computer donation program for people who are visually impaired. Here is the address:

Friday, October 1, 2010

GOOG - 411

GOOG - 411 is a free, fast and easy way to connect with local businesses. This service can be accessed from any phone (mobile or land line), in any location at any time. GOOG - 411 operates very similar to directory assistance except it is voice activated which should be helpful to anyone with a visual or physical disability. For instance if you want to have a pizza delivered to your home you can call 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411), say your location or enter your zip code on the number pad and then say "pizza delivery". Next you will hear a numbered list of pizzerias from which you can be connected with by saying the corresponding number. If you know which pizzeria you want to order a pizza from you can just say the name of the pizzeria. For more information and a brief tutorial about this service visit the following website:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How to request Talking Books online

Some Talking Books customers may be unaware that they have an option to use our Online Public Access Catalog to request that certain titles be sent to them. Here is the link to the catalog:

All you need is your User ID number and password to log into the system. Your User ID is the 9 digit number beginning with "999" that appears below the center barcode of each mailing card. A password has to be requested by calling the Talking Book Library at 630-1999.

You can immediately log into your account via the Patron Information or Place Requests links. After logging in you will see a summary of your current holdings. From this point you can click on the link Basic Search or Advanced Search to begin searching for books by title, author or subject. I'll use the author John Grisham as an example. In the Search For: field you need to type Grisham, John or just Grisham. From the Search Index: field you need to select the option for Author. At this point you can either click the button for Submit Search or further narrow your search options by selecting for Media (Cassette or Digital Book), Language or whether you're looking for Fiction or Nonfiction titles. Clicking Submit Search retrieves 3 pages of titles on Cassette (RC0) and Digital cartridge (DB0) arranged alphabetically. If selecting by title you can click the check box to the left of the corresponding title in the Request column before clicking Add to BookBasket. If you want more information on a specific title before requesting it you can click on the title which will display the book record and from this point you can either click the button to Add to Book Basket or the link to Return to Search Results. Once titles are added to the Book Basket the process becomes very similar to online shopping. You have the option to "Rush" selected titles out to you as soon as they are available by checking the corresponding box. At this point you can also delete selections from your Book Basket. To process the selected titles for shipment according to a your regularly scheduled delivery you need to click Proceed to Checkout. Once this is clicked you will see a summary of the titles added to your request list.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Audio Description Project

The Audio Description Project (ADP) is sponsored by the American Council of the Blind. This project strives to increase the awareness and availability of audio description among those who are blind or visually impaired as well as the rest of the general public. The American Council of the Blind defines audio description as follows: "Audio Description involves the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired." Audio description is essentially a narration service that describes for a blind or visually impaired person what a sighted person can see. The Talking Book Library has a large and growing collection of movies on DVD and VHS that include audio described tracks. In the past year we have seen more and more DVD distribution companies include audio described tracks in recently released feature films. What many people don't know is that there are also a few primetime television programs that audio described tracks have been produced for as a Second Audio Program (SAP) channel. The problem is that television networks (including cable and satelite television providers) are not required to broadcast this secondary audio feed or modify a subscriber's equipment so that it can be accessed. The movement to make this a requirement has gained momentum lately with the passage of bills in the House of Representatives and Senate that almost guarantees the FCC the authority to mandate audio description to the largest networks in the largest population areas. The next step is to get television manufacturers and the cable and satelite television providers to modify their products and services. The following is a list of local cable and satelite televison providers that you can contact regarding the availability of audio described television in your area:
Comcast: 1-800-226-2278
Dish Network: 1-866-686-2388
DirecTV: 1-800-531-5000
Here is the link to The Audio Description Project:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jacksonville Council on Elder Affairs

The Talking Book Library and the Jacksonville Council on Elder Affairs (COEA) are partnering to bring you even more important information through this blog. The COEA is an independent volunteer organization that serves as an advocate for the older persons in the city. They are involved in such areas as transportation, health care, housing, education, and promoting public awareness. The COEA will be contributing information to our regular postings and adding events to our calendar. We welcome this cooperation and hope that the involvement of the COEA will create a greater range of information available to those disabled and senior citizens in our community. COEA can be reached at 904-630-0543.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blind Cool Tech

Blind Cool Tech is a website that provides a free online collection of podcasts that features information on how people who are blind or visually impaired can learn about the many ways that technology affects their lives. For instance there is a podcast that details the use of the new digital Talking Book machine. There are also podcasts that cover: the iPod, iPad & iPhone; iTunes; Windows 7; many different models of cell phones; online games; audio described tours; MP3 audiobooks; Facebook; and disability themed essays among many other topics. These podcasts can be listened to on a computer program such as Windows Media Player or be loaded onto an MP3 player or iPod. If a user wants to listen to each new podcast added to Blind Cool Tech they will first have to download and install podcatching software of which there are many free versions available online. For more information visit the website at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Satogo - free online screen reader

Satogo (System Access to go) is a free online screen-reading program for the blind and visually impaired that operates very similarly to the popular JAWS screen-reading program. Satogo is an easy download to any computer and operates similar to a "plug-in" sort of program in that it does not require installation to a computer's hard drive and removes itself after the user has finished using it. Users have the option of saving their settings (voice, reading speed, etc.) via an online user name and password that is portable to any computer that has internet access. There is also the option to install the program on a computer's hard drive which will allow a user instant access to the program. Satogo also offers a screen magnification feature that is similar to the Zoomtext screen magnifying program. The Jacksonville Public Library allows users to access Satogo and create a username and password on any of our public use computers but does not allow for the complete installation of the program. You can access Satogo at the following website: Follow the voice prompts to initiate the download.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Talking Books-ILAB Book Club has breakfast with bestselling author

On Saturday February 27th some members of the Talking Books-ILAB (Independent Living for the Adult Blind) Book Club had the pleasure of having breakfast at the Omni hotel with bestselling author Chris Bohjalian. Our thanks go out to Mrs. Maggie Hightower and the Jacksonville Public Library Foundation for graciously providing us with this opportunity. Mr. Bohjalian was in Jacksonville that weekend for the JPL Foundation's 2010 Much Ado About Books festival and our book club had just read his novel The Double Bind as February's book club selection. Everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves and Mr. Bohjalian was very entertaining and informative in regard to his experiences as an author, the current state of publishing, the themes of his books and many other subjects. His experience at this breakfast with avid readers who cannot read standard print because of a disability has made him aware of the need for books available in accessible formats. He has pledged to make sure that all of his books are available to anyone who wishes to read them and continue to promote this as a worthy cause to authors, publishers and anyone who might help make books more accessible. The breakfast was delicious and everyone at the table received a complimentary copy of Mr. Bohjalian's latest novel Secrets of Eden.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Helping the Blind and Visually Impaired

Helping the Blind and Visually Impaired is a website created by a visually impaired individual with the sole purpose of providing useful online information to those who are blind or have a visual disability. The website is structured in a way that makes it easily navigable for screen reading programs. A significant portion of this website is dedicated to employment resources for those who are blind or have a visual disability and includes an extensive list of consulting services and other organizations that match employers to disabled job seekers. There are also links to free screen reading programs as well as a list of Windows keyboard shortcuts which are applicable to those programs. All of this information is available at the following link:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Customers on waiting list begin receiving digital Talking Book player

The new Talking Book digital player is now going out to those registered Talking Book readers who had placed their name on a waiting list. As of January 2010 the digital player has been sent to all veterans of the United States Armed Forces and those centenarians who requested one. The Talking Book library is still taking requests from customers who wish to receive Talking Books on digital format. We want to remind our customers that the digital Talking Book collection is much smaller than the audio cassette collection and, per state guidelines, customers are only eligible to have 4 digital Talking Books at a time. It is in most of our customer's best interest to continue reading Talking books on cassette even after they have received a digital player due to the greater availability and wider scope of the collection on cassette. Talking Book customers can expect to have a dual service of Talking Books on cassette and digital cartridge for a few years as the digital collection grows and the cassette collection is phased out.