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

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Magazines on Digital Cartridge

A summer 2012 edition of Talking Book Topics informed Talking Book readers that audio magazines are beginning the transition to the digital cartridge medium. We have now learned that circulation of audio magazines on digital cartridge will begin in early 2013. With this implementation, production and distribution of audio magazines on cassette format will cease.

The digital audio magazine format will be nearly identical to the digital audio book format. The only exceptions are that the digital audio magazine cartridges are blue and their mailing containers are red. Both cartridges play the same in the standard and advanced digital Talking Book machines. Some cartridges may contain multiple issues of the magazine to which a reader has subscribed. In this case, the cartridge will include audio instructions describing how a reader may navigate among the separate issues.

Digital audio magazines will be circulated according to the print magazine’s regular frequency like the audio cassette magazines were. All digital audio magazine cartridges must be returned as they are recycled and rerecorded. Inability to promptly return the cartridges may result in a reader’s service being interrupted.

For more information contact the Jacksonville Talking Book Library at 630-1999.

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Hours for the Talking Book Library

Beginning October 1st the Talking Book Library will have new public service area hours. The hours will be:

Monday, Thursday & Friday - 10am to 6pm
Tuesday & Wednesday - 11am to 6pm

We would like all of our customers to know that staff members can still be reached via phone at 9am.

For more information on the changes to the operational hours of the Jacksonville Public Library please visit the following website:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Support the Jacksonville Public Library

Once again the Jacksonville Public Library's operating budget is facing cuts. This time the proposed cuts amount to 4.6 million dollars. These cuts would result in fewer hours of service at every Jacksonville Public Library location including system wide closures on Sundays as well as a reduction in staff. Such cuts would affect the Talking Book Library by reducing the hours that our customers can visit our office and use our adaptive computer programs. We do not yet know how the reduction in staff may effect us.

A final budget has not yet been approved by the Jacksonville City Council; they vote in late September. If you wish to show your support for the Jacksonville Public Library and the Talking Book Library we urge you to contact your city councilperson as well as the at-large council members. If you are unsure of who your City Councilperson is use the following link to determine your precinct and elected officials:

The at-large council members are:

Kimberly Daniels - 630-1393
John Crescimbeni - 630-1381
Stephen Joost - 630-1396
Greg Anderson - 630-1398
Robin Lumb - 630-1387

Monday, July 9, 2012

Division of Blind Services Public Forum

The Florida Division of Blind Services is holding a public forum on Thursday, July 26th from 4pm to 5:30pm at the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront location. The forum is intended as an opportunity for individuals who have received service from the Division of Blind Services to express their level of satisfaction with their experiences. The forum is also open to members of the community who have a visual disability as well as those individuals and/or organizations that assist those with a visual disability to learn more about the Florida Division of Blind Services and the services that it provides. Those that require special accommodations should notify the Jacksonville office no later than 5 working days prior to the meeting at 904-348-2730 or toll free at 800-226-6356 or Florida Telephone Relay system 711.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bible on Digital cartridge

Throughout the years many of our customers have received free, audio cassette recordings of the Bible from a program called Audio Bibles for the Blind sponsored by the Aurora Ministries in Bradenton, Florida. As part of a transition to the better quality, more versatile digital audio format the Aurora Ministries no longer offers free copies of the Bible on audio cassette. Our customers can now receive an audio recording of the Bible on digital cartridge for a small donation of $15 which covers the cost of a blank digital cartridge.

The digital cartridge is exactly the same as the NLS digital cartridges and can be played on the NLS digital Talking Book machine. The audio recording is indexed by "book" of the Bible and not chapter. The Bible is available in 4 English versions and in over a dozen foreign languages.

Customers can still receive a free audio recording of the Holy Bible on mp3 CD (to be used on mp3 compatible CD players, computers and some DVD players) or digital download from the Aurora Ministries download library. They may also mail the Aurora Ministries blank 2GB capacity digital cartridge or USB flash drive. There is no charge for loading the digital audio recording onto a customer's storage device.  

For more information call Aurora Ministries at 941-748-3031 or visit their website at:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

City of Jacksonville Special Needs Evacuation Registration

Hurricane season begins in June and the City of Jacksonville's Emergency Preparedness Office wants all individuals with special medical needs to start thinking of a plan on how to stay safe with the threat of severe weather.

The City defines "special medical needs" as follows:  

A person qualifying for special needs is someone who is medically dependent on electricity (i.e. electricity needed for life supporting equipment). This may also include a person with regular need for assistance with medications and/or observation, dementia, chronic conditions that require assistance and persons with contagious health conditions that require minimal precautions or isolation (rare in shelter). 

Included in the list of special medical needs are those individuals who have a vision, hearing or mobility impairment.

In the event of an evacuation, individuals with special medical needs who wish to use a public shelter need to have completed and submitted the Special Needs Registration form. This form can be found online at the following address: This form must be completed and submitted as soon as possible. Once registered an individual remains in the system through January and then must re-register for the next year. Caregivers or family members may accompany the individual with special medical needs to the shelter. Those individuals who are pet owners and wish to evacuate with their pets must complete the Jacksonville Pet Friendly Public Evacuation Shelter Registration and Agreement found at this link:

If the individual has transportation challenges he or she can register for transportation assistance by completing the Evacuation Transportation Needs Registration Form at the following link: In the event of an evacuation those individuals with special medical needs who require transportation are notified by phone to coordinate a pick-up time. When the threat has passed transportation is provided back to an individual's home where Special Needs program officials will determine if the residency is safe. 

For more information on the evacuation services provided by the Emergency Preparedness Division call 904-630-2472 or visit their website at:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Digital On-Demand

The Talking Book Library has begun a service we're calling Digital On-Demand. We have acquired quite a few blank digital Talking Book cartridges and their accompanying mailing cases. The cartridges themselves are a sort of pea green color (see picture) and the mailing cases are gray. Besides the fact that they are different colors and do not have any labeling, they are identical to the NLS digital Talking Books that our customers receive in the mail.

For many months we've been supplying our book clubs with multiple copies of their monthly selections on the blank digital cartridges. We've also made copies of digital books for students who had requested titles for book reports and other school assignments. Lately we've expanded our duplication efforts to include our customer's requested titles when a NLS cartridge is unavailable.

Right now we are limiting our customers to having one copied cartridge at a time, however if the customer's digital Talking Book machine has been updated to include the "Book Shelf" feature then we can load more than one book onto a blank cartridge. The copied digital Talking Books circulate just like the NLS ones do. If a customer currently has a copied digital cartridge then he or she cannot request another until the one they have is returned. Whether or not a copied digital Talking Book will be provided for a customer is also dependent upon the number of blank cartridges that we have on hand. For more information contact the Talking Book Library at 904-630-1999.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guitar Hero adapted for the visually impaired

The video game industry reports that approximately 190 million households, representing 63% of the population, will use a video game console in 2012. However since video games rely primarily on visual stimuli, those who are blind or have a visual disability don't often get to enjoy this popular form of entertainment...until now.

Researchers at the University of Nevada have developed a version of the popular video game Guitar Hero that is accessible to those who are blind or have a visual disability. They call their version "Blind Hero" and it replaces the visual stimuli of the game with haptic stimuli which is based on the sense of touch.

For those who are unfamiliar with Guitar Hero, the game play requires the use of a plastic, scaled down version of an electric guitar that, instead of having strings and frets, has a corresponding array of buttons. For instance there is a button that moves up and down above the area that you would find the pickups that simulates a strumming action. A player watches a television screen and tries to coordinate the pressing and strumming of buttons in time to the changing musical tones and audio effects as represented by colored dots on the screen. Essentially it is the simulation of playing rock music on the electric guitar.

Blind Hero uses the same guitar controller and audio cues in Guitar Hero but instead of following a display of colored dots on a screen players wear a special glove on one hand. The glove receives an electrical signal from the video game that activates a small vibrating motor on each finger alerting a player to press a button corresponding to the changing musical tones. The length of the vibration indicates how long a player must hold the button.

While the high cost of Blind Hero can be prohibitive to a budding video gamer with a visual disability, it represents a step in the direction toward more accessibility of this popular form of entertainment.

For more information read the study at the following address: