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LBPH Newsletter

LBPH Newsletter Summer 2012

DIGITAL UPS AND DOWNS

             The transition to the digital talking book and player can generally be considered a resounding success. Improved audio quality, one cartridge per book, a smaller, lighter-weight player provided by the National Library Service (NLS), and the availability of over 20,000 titles for download are some of the positive developments. It is seems likely that eventually few library patrons will miss the cassette player format as it is phased out over the next several years.

             Inevitably, technological progress in one area may cause deficits in another, at least during the transitional phase, which can vary in length depending upon funding and other priorities. As of this writing, while the NLS has been able to convert over 20,000 analog titles to digital format with an eventual goal of converting a over 50,000 within about five years, these titles are largely limited to access via Internet download.

            The dilemma for most patrons will be access to this increasing store of digital book titles available via BARD. While BARD is actively used by about 15% of active patrons, a high percentage of these patrons are effectively excluded. To help address this dilemma, the library plans to begin duplicating “download only” digital titles on a limited basis, where demand is high or copies unavailable. Depending upon funding for cartridge purchasing, we hope to be able to duplicate as many as 40 digital books per week by or before the end of 2013.

             As mentioned in the winter newsletter, all regional libraries affiliated with the NLS are being encouraged to remove all audio cassette copies by about the middle of 2015 with one copy per title retained until the last year of removal. Probably, this will result in increased demand for titles previously distributed on cassette that will only be available digitally via download. The NLS has set up two duplication facilities for such requests via interlibrary loan with the west served by the multistate center in Utah, but it seems likely that most regional libraries will benefit from some form of in-house duplication to better fulfill requests for high-demand newer titles along with older titles.

AMNESTIES AND OVERDUES

             In anticipation of the NLS’s plans to begin recalling some digital copies for reuse later in 2012 (due to the relatively higher cost of cartridges), this library has been focusing more on overdue books. There is less concern about overdue cassette books as they eventually will be removed from the collection; however, accounting for digital books is a higher priority due to the NLS recall/reuse. Late in 2012, it is expected that the NLS will require regional libraries to return a percentage of its lower-use digital books in order to receive current ones.

              Rather than sending out mailings to patrons with five or more digital books overdue, this library is attempting to contact these patrons directly by phone. This approach allows the library to better focus efforts on attempting to retrieve higher numbers of overdues. We trust that patrons, who are contacted, will not feel uncomfortable with these communications. The library’s current borrowing policy is that books may be borrowed for 45 days and renewed, if there is no waiting list. Additionally, the library is in the process of granting amnesties on overdue books up to about the end of 2011. We thank you for your cooperation in this area.

RECENT RECORDING STUDIO PRODUCTIONS

DNM00303—Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico written by Barbara Marriott and narrated by Charles Boatright. Explores unusual phenomena, strange events, and mysteries in New Mexico's history. Each episode included in the book is a story unto itself, and the tone and style of the book is lively for a general audience.

DNM00304—Cowboys Don't Cry written by Charles Berry and narrated by Charles Boatright. Born into ranching life in the West Texas desert outside El Paso, Scout McBride learned to ride a horse almost before he could walk. It was a tough environment for one so young and as Scout follows a rugged path to becoming a man, he knows that to emulate the men he admires, he must keep one thing in mind: Cowboys don't cry.

DNM00307—The Territory written by Tricia Fields and narrated by Charles Boatright. In the tiny border town of Artemis, Texas, police chief Josie Gray gets caught up in escalating violence between Mexican drug cartels.  Undermined by the mayor, who has a deep-seated distrust of women in power, Gray has only a staff of two to rely on as she tries to keep Artemis safe.  2010 winner of the Tony Hillerman prize.

DNM00308—Sweeney written by Robert Julyan and narrated by William Scheer. Sweeney, New Mexico, population 856 and falling, like so many small towns in rural America was once vibrant and alive. Its few remaining citizens care that it not die like so many other towns; so, a handful of them concoct a plot to draw attention to their hometown. The result is a hilarious romp through the vagaries of small town life.

DNM00316—Kearney’s March by Winston Groom and narrated by Charles Boatright. In June 1846, General Stephen Watts Kearny rode out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with two thousand soldiers, bound for California.  The adventures and dangers that Kearny and his troops encountered intertwines with those of mountain man Kit Carson; Brigham Young and his Mormon followers fleeing persecution and Illinois; and the ill-fated Donner party, trapped in the snow of the Sierra Nevada.

VOLUNTEER EVENT

              The eighth annual volunteer recognition event, sponsored by the Friends of the Library,  took place at the State Library on June 27th. Guest speaker was J. Michael Orenduff, former president of NMSU and current author of the “Pot Thief” series of mysteries (this library plans to release The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras—the first in the series—in digital format this fall).

              Joy and sadness were both observed at the gathering. Kitty Smith, who almost singlehandedly conducted the library’s phone survey, was honored as the volunteer of the year. Fred Mansfield was honored for his many years of service as a member of the Friends’ group. Finally, two esteemed volunteers—Kit Blackwood and Arthur Hemmindinger—were remembered for their many years of service, both having passed away in early 2012.