Good News from Our Library

Good News from Our Library

By René Perrance, Public Services Librarian, Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library

(Editor’s Note:  Ms. Perrance made this presentation at the Annual Convention on November 1, 2014.)

In Catherine’s stead, I am representing the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library today.  I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.  I recognize a number of faces but am certain that I would recognize many more voices. 

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) sponsored a Braille Summit in June 2013.  As a result of the summit, Tamara Rorie was hired by NLS has as its braille development officer.  NLS will send a representative to BANA meetings. 

NLS will continue to provide braille on BARD.  They have encouraged other braille producers to add brf files on BARD. 

NLS is aware of the need for a reasonably priced refreshable braille device.  They are investigating this possibility but it is very early in the process.  New regulations would have to be in place to allow NLS to provide refreshable braille displays to individuals.

NLS is trying to expand the number of braille producers they use.  They are also exploring changing the dimensions of braille titles to make books smaller and easier to handle. 

The Future of Braille summit report is available on the NLS website.  The address is

Catherine Durivage and Annette Toews from the Communication Center attended the NLS conference held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma from May 3-8, 2014. 

BARD accounts continue to grow.  In May there were more than 60,000 BARD accounts. 

In the NLS Fiscal Year 2013, 168,000 braille items were downloaded.  At the conference in May, 2014, 193,000 items had been downloaded since October 1, 2013. 

Minnesota patrons have 166 braille accounts and 612 audio accounts.  Minnesota BARD patrons downloaded 5,340 braille items and 61,205 audio items for the NLS Fiscal Year 2014 which ended September 30, 2014.

The recent Apple upgrade to iOS8 quickly presented several challenges to BARD mobile patrons.  We received many calls from BARD mobile patrons unable to move beyond the first screen to search for books or magazines.  At 3:00 yesterday afternoon, the National Library Service technology staff notified the network libraries that they temporarily removed the check box on the first screen of the BARD mobile software.  This is hot-off-the-press, good news!  Patrons can now search the BARD, add items to their wish list and download.  This is great news to share with you!

As of November 1, 2014, 475 Minnesota patrons have requested access to BARD mobile.  The NLS staff continues to work with the BARD mobile software so that the Android products will also access BARD.  They hope to have something available within the next few months.   

I am sure that you have noticed that the NLS staff altered the arrangement of the Talking Book Topics.  Titles are listed by category.  The order forms should now match this new arrangement. 

The library is working closely with Communication Center, State Services for the Blind, to improve our services to patrons.  We are developing a joint application that will be easier for people unfamiliar with our services. 

The NLS is working with the U.S. Bureau of Engraving to provide a currency reader to patrons wishing to receive one.  If you wish to have your name added to this list, please contact us.  We have not been given information regarding the shipping date of the currency readers.  At some point, we will be asked to submit our patron’s names and addresses.  The currency readers will be sent in the mail.  Anyone who wishes to receive this reader should verify that we have his or her current address on file. 

The library is taking applications for its Advisory Committee.  Mr. Bryce Samuelson currently is a Committee member.  At this time, meetings are quarterly.

All open vacancies for state advisory committees are found on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. The following information is taken from the Secretary of State’s website. 

“The Open Appointments Application (  may be completed and submitted online; or, Open Appointments Application (downloadable) may be printed, completed and submitted by email to, or in person or by mail to:


    Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State

    180 State Office Building

    100 Rev.  Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  Blvd.

    St.  Paul, MN 55155-1299

    Phone: (651) 297-5845

Applicants may also submit a cover letter, resumé or other information that might be helpful to the appointing authority.  Applications become public information once submitted."

If you have further questions about the Advisory Committee, please contact

Catherine A.  Durivage

Library Program Director,

Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library

388 SE 6th Ave

Faribault, MN 55021-6340


We have a small stack of book request lists that do not have the individual’s name on them.  Braille book orders are particularly vulnerable to anonymity.  Please be certain that your name and address is on any book request forms you send.

It has been a pleasure being with you today.  I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with you and hope to visit again in the near future. 

Thank you.