Wolfner :: Wolfner News :: Wolfner News Fall 2008

open book logoWOLFNER NEWS

Robin Carnahan, Secretary of State
Fall 2008

Notes from the Director

Digital Players

In mid-June 2008, the Library of Congress awarded Shinano Kenshi/Plextor of Culver City, California, a contract to produce the standard and advanced digital talking-book players. When mass production commences, Plextor, the electronic equipment division of Shinano Kenshi, will produce twenty thousand digital players a month at a cost to NLS of $157 per player (including license fees). This is good news in that it is below the estimated price of $200.

Wolfner Library, one of the eight pre-launch libraries in the country for the digital transition, will be shipped 500 players in February 2009. Regular shipment of mass-production players will arrive at all libraries in early May.

We need active readers to test the new digital talking book player during the February 2009 pre-launch. If you are an avid reader, please call your reader advisor if you want to be one of the first to receive a NLS digital talking book machine next year!  In addition, call your reader advisor to be put on the waiting list for a new digital talking book player to be distributed starting in May of 2009.

Cartridges for Digital Books

In August, the Library of Congress awarded a contract to Northstar Systems Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, California to manufacture USB flash-memory cartridges, which will be used to record audiobooks for distribution to the NLS cooperating network for circulation to patrons across the country and overseas. The cartridges purchased under this contract will permit all NLS recorded books to be issued on either 512 MB or 1 GB cartridges. This will enable each recorded book to be contained on a single cartridge, greatly improving the current patron’s experience of receiving multiple four-track cassettes. In addition, Northstar is obligated to furnish participating libraries and interested patrons with blank cartridges at prices fixed in the contract.

The Friends of Wolfner Library has earmarked $50,000 for Wolfner to use for blank cartridges. Since the current price is lower than half the original estimate of $9.00, Wolfner Library will be able to purchase 10,000 instead of 5,000 blank cartridges to duplicate books.

Mailing Containers

LC Industries in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, was awarded the contract to produce the digital talking-book cartridge mailing containers. Plans are underway to make mailing containers available for network library purchase. The current projected price is $.70 each in lots of 220 plus shipping and handling. These containers will be identical to those used by NLS, except that they will be a different color and will not bear the Library of Congress seal.

Again the Friends have allocated an additional $3,000 toward the purchase of mailing containers. That will purchase about 4,000 mailing containers for Wolfner.

Veterans First!

Wolfner Library gives preference in the distribution of digital talking-book players to veterans first and then to members of the 10-squared Talking-Book Club (registered patrons who are one hundred years of age or older).  Public Law 89-522 provides that eligible persons honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces shall have preference in borrowing library materials produced by NLS.

Veterans, if you have not done so already, please contact your reader advisor to add your name to the list of veterans to be given priority.

Richard Smith, Director

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Justin Stauffer
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Justin Stauffer.


Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Rhea Dickrader and Richard Smith
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Rhea Dickrader and Richard Smith.

Service Recognition

In appreciation for the hard work the Wolfner Library staff provides in getting needed reading materials to patrons, an awards ceremony was held this summer in recognition of service by dedicated Wolfner staff. Awards this year went to:

      —Paul Mathews for 30 years of service

      —Bonnie O’Donnell for 20 years of service

      —Justin Stauffer for 10 years of service

      —And a belated 10 years of service award to Rhea Dickrader

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan handed our award plaques and posed for photos with the awardees. The entire staff was treated to ice cream at the ceremony.



In the inaugural year of the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) project, Wolfner patrons downloaded 5,167 titles from the BARD website, equaling 1.36% of the 378,877 cassette circulation. Downloading books off the Internet is expected to increase with the distribution of the NLS digital machine next year. For all the trials and tribulations NLS has had with the transition, they should pat themselves on the back because BARD is a winner.

Read about the BARD program at https://www.nlstalkingbooks.org/dtb/ApplicationInstructions.html

The NLS digital talking book will have the capacity to play BARD download books on both a blank NLS cartridge and standard USB drive. In addition, Wolfner Library currently has a limited number of third party vendor players, the Victor Reader Stream, that will play BARD books to loan to eligible readers. Requirements for the Stream player from Wolfner Library are:

  • You must be a Wolfner Library patron in good standing.

  • You must have a high-speed Internet connection or regular access to one.

  • You must have a working e-mail address and knowledge of how to use it, including handling attachments.

  • You must have a reasonable knowledge of how to use the web, fill out forms online, download large items, and unzip files.

  • You must have a working knowledge of file management; that is, you must be able to create folders to put your books in, and locate the proper folders from which to extract your books.

  • You must download a minimum of 3 NLS books a month.

  • You must be comfortable using small electronic devices such as TV remotes or cell phones. 

Please call or email your reader advisor if you meet the above qualifications and are interested in borrowing a Victor Reader Stream for use with the BARD program.

Louis Braille: A Remarkable Inventor

A blind eleven-year-old boy took a secret code devised for the military and saw in it the basis for written communication for blind individuals. Louis Braille, newly enrolled at the National Institute of the Blind in Paris, spent nine years developing and refining the system of raised dots that has come to be known by his name.

The original military code was called night writing and was used by soldiers to communicate after dark. It was based on a twelve-dot cell two dots wide by six dots high. Each dot or combination of dots within the cell stood for a letter or a phonetic sound. The problem with the military code was that the human fingertip could not feel all the dots with one touch.

Louis Braille created a reading method based on a cell of six dots. This crucial improvement meant that a fingertip could encompass the entire cell unit with one impression and move rapidly from one cell to the next.

Braille himself was blind from the age of three. He was born in the village of Coupvary near Paris on January 4, 1809. One day he was playing with a sharp instrument belonging to his father, a harness maker. The child accidently prodded one eye with the tool and developed an eye infection causing total blindness.

Until 1819, Braille attended the local village school, where his superior mental abilities put him at the head of his class. He received a scholarship to the National Institute of the Blind, where he was the youngest student. Soon afterward, he began the development of the embossed code. In 1829 he published the code in _Procede pour Ecrire les Paroles, la Musique et la Plain-Chant au Moyen de Points_, which also contained a braille music code based on the same six-dot cell.

Even after he had developed his system for reading and writing, Braille stayed on at the institute as an instructor. Eventually an incessant cough made it impossible for him to lecture and he had to return to Coupvray.

He died there at the age of forty-three, and was buried in the family plot in the village cemetery. In 1952, on the centennial of his death, his body was ceremoniously transferred to the Pantheon in Paris. A monument to Louis Braille stands in the main square of Coupvary.  2009 marks the 200th birthday of this remarkable man.

They Caught the Reading Bug!

This year, 102 children and 6 schools registered for the 2008 summer reading program at Wolfner Library. Of those readers, 78 participated in the “Catch the Reading Bug @ Your Library” group for younger children and 24 participated in the “Metamorphosis @ Your Library” group for teens. A total of 66 participants succeeded in reaching the reading goal they chose at the beginning of the program. Those who completed the program earned t-shirts, prizes and a free gift book, and were entered in a grand prize drawing. Thanks to the Friends of Wolfner Library for providing the prizes for the program!

We hope to have just as many, or more, participants for our 2009 summer reading program, which will focus on the arts. The theme for the younger children’s program is “Be Creative @ Your Library”, and the teen theme is “Express Yourself @ Your Library”. Happy Reading!

Elizabeth A. Lang,
Youth Services Librarian

Newly Recorded Missouri Books

Bindweed by Janis Harrison.
Everyone in town helps florist Bretta Solomon make sure her helper Toby, a slow-witted man left on his own since his mother died, is doing okay. But Toby is killed by a swarm of bees deliberately planted in his home, and Bretta is determined to find his killer. Bretta Solomon series, book 6. MOD 130.

Reap a Wicked Harvest by Janis Harrison.
In River City, Missouri, the “wedding of the year” is causing florist Bretta Solomon one headache after another. But just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, two wedding workers die suspiciously on the same day, and Bretta can’t help but think there’s something more sinister in the air than love and marriage. Bretta Solomon series, book 6. MOD 108.

The Gold of Cape Girardeau by Morley Swingle.
A treasure trove of gold is found buried next to a skeleton with a bullet hole in its skull. Young lawyer Allison Culbertson faces the toughest courtroom battle of her career to prove the gold belongs to her client. The secrets of the gold are revealed in an unforgettable story that transports the reader from a modern courtroom to the glory days of steamboating on the Mississippi, from young love on the river to the perils of living in a town of split loyalties during the Civil War. Swingle’s riveting tale brings the Mississippi River Valley’s past to life—combining mystery, love, greed, and courtroom drama into a suspenseful blend of history and fiction. Winner of the 2005 Governor’s Book Award.  MOD 118.

Nobody’s Boy by Jennifer Fleischner.
George, a young slave living in St. Louis, Missouri, wrestles with the injustices he sees around him as he decides whether or not to flee his accustomed life and seek freedom. MOD 170.

Black Storm Comin’ by Dianne Lee Wilson.
Twelve-year-old Colton, son of an African-American mother and a white father, takes a job with the Pony Express in 1860 after his father abandons the family on their California-bound wagon train, and risks his life to deliver an important letter that may affect the growing conflict between the North and South. MOD 171.

Please call or email your reader advisor to order a Missouri talking book.


Wolfner Library Staff Listing

Richard J. Smith
Director of Wolfner Library
[email protected]

Deborah Stroup
Coordinator of Volunteers
[email protected]

Archie Andrews
Machines Coordinator
[email protected]

Elizabeth Lang
Special Services Librarian
[email protected]

Paul Mathews
Reader Advisor A-Co
[email protected]

Brandon Kempf
Reader Advisor Cp-G
[email protected]

Ginny Ryan
Reader Advisor H-L
[email protected]

Cheryl Hassler
Reader Advisor M-R
[email protected]

Carol Mathews
Reader Advisor S-Z
[email protected]

Diann Stark
Reader Advisor Institutions
[email protected]

Wolfner News is a quarterly publication of
Secretary of State
Robin Carnahan's office.

Wolfner Library is open Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed for state holidays.

Contact Information
Toll-free in state phone number (800) 392-2614
Jefferson City area local phone number (573) 751-8720
Toll-free TDD phone number (573) 347-1379
E-mail address [email protected]
Web site address www.s1.sos.mo.gov/wolfner
Wolfner's online catalog wolfpac.sos.mo.gov/