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This newsletter is published by the New Mexico Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (LBPH) and is distributed free to the patrons and other interested parties. The newsletter can be requested in large print or Braille versions, and an audio version can be accessed on NEWSLINE. For information, call LBPH at 1-800-456-5515 or 505-476-9770, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

LBPH Newsletter Winter 2011-2012

A NEW STAFF ADDITION

    After about six months of development and planning, the library has added a new half-time staff member. Patricia Emerson began serving as a half-time Reader Advisor on March 19. She will be assisting Bella Lucero, who has been with the library for 14 years. Patricia will generally be answering the phone for patrons from 10:30 AM-2:30 PM in order to provide additional staffing coverage during various staff lunch times.

    A native of Albuquerque, Patricia has returned to her native land after living and working for a number of years in New England and California. She has worked in public, school, and specialized libraries along with having professional experience in administration and teaching in both the public and private sectors.

    Patricia is particularly enthusiastic about music. Having studied the subject in college, she now participates with two singing groups—the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and Zia Singers.

    We are pleased to welcome Patricia as a valued new member to the staff. Her addition should help to alleviate some of the reliance on voice mail messaging that has developed during the state hiring freeze. Possibly, in the future, permission will be gained to fill one or both of the two full-time positions still vacant.

SURVEY RESULTS

    The library was recently able to complete its first patron survey in five years and its first survey done entirely by phone with a select group of patrons.

    350 (or roughly 10% of all patrons) were selected for the survey. Of that amount, 211 responded to the survey. The library was fortunate to have Kitty Smith perform the phone interviews. Kitty has volunteered on separate occasions for both the Georgia and Connecticut regional libraries for a total of 12 years. Currently, she and her husband reside in Albuquerque. She greatly enjoyed talking with the survey responders.

   Nearly half of the responders preferred ordering materials by phone with the next preference being automatic selection at 20%. 95% chose recreational reading to be of greatest value followed by educational at 60%.

   The great majority of patrons said they did not use their public library (70%), and those who do mostly borrow audio books (23%) rather than large print (8%). Most responders (90%) did not report follow-up concerns, although 3% wished to discuss magazine selection.

   54% stated a preference for the newsletter in large-print with 35% preferring an audio version. 69% agreed that the newsletter is useful and informative. 96% of responders found book and magazine materials to be either excellent or very good. Similarly, 97% considered library service quality to be excellent or very good. 99% thought the library improved their quality of life.

   77% preferred digital books over cassettes. About two-thirds reported having computer access with another 5% expecting to have future access. About 30% plan to use BARD in the future, which would be about double the current participation. Those choosing not to use BARD cited apparent difficulty as a leading cause.

FAREWELL MY AUDIOCASSETTE BOOK

   In December, the National Library Service (NLA) informed regional libraries that “2012 marks the beginning of the withdrawal of the RC collections”. The announcement further states “This withdrawal is scheduled over four years to:  a) meet the needs of readers and the library’s ability to serve them and b) to accommodate NLS-contracted recycling center(s) workload.”

   While it is unclear if all libraries can completely remove cassette books by mid-2015, the process has begun. This library began removal in March and expects to be able to remove in the area of 4,000 copies per month. The number of cassette books in the collection is estimated at about 240,000; so, removal may require closer to five years at current staffing levels.

   Circulation of books increasingly favors the digital format. In February, 63% of circulation was in digital format (this figure does not include download circulation); however, cassette circulation remains fairly active. Libraries have been instructed to retain at least one copy of each cassette title until the last year of removal; however, in the rush to remove cassettes, it appears inevitable that some demand for titles only available in cassette will not be met. Titles numbered RC068000 and above will not be removed before June.

   With this development in mind, patrons are encouraged to orient their selections more in the direction of digital titles, a trend that is already occurring. Additionally, patrons are encouraged to return copies within the usual 45-day borrowing period. As of the writing of this newsletter, nearly 1,500 patrons hold a total of over 7,000 copies in an overdue status. While the majority of these patrons have five or fewer overdue books, there are nearly 200 who have ten or more overdue. As a result many patrons are left waiting lengthy periods of time for a limited number of copies.

   While the library plans to contact patrons with many overdue copies, it may need to begin more strictly enforcing copy limits on borrowing as the cassette collection diminishes, and the NLS begins to require libraries to return a quota of digital books for recycling.

TIPS FOR BETTER BATTERY LIFE

   As the digital player has become the preferred device for listening to books, some patrons have begun to experience battery issues. The library offers the following information for battery conservation:

The latest update (2.1.7) reduces the battery life for a player using a flash drive by approximately 10 hours, due to increased communication between the machine and the flash drive.

We recommend that the player be plugged in to a wall outlet as often as possible. Leave the player plugged in for 8-9 hours to fully charge, as the player may report a full charge when it is only partially charged.

Player should not be replaced as long as it holds a ten hour charge.