The Special Needs Library of Northeast Georgia is a part of your public library and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, serving Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Franklin, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hancock, Hart, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Rabun, Stephens, Walton and White counties. We do not endorse any product or service mentioned in this newsletter.

800-531-2063, 706-613-3655


Staff: Claudia Markov, Pete Hayek, Lavern Gordon, Amber Wilkerson


Changes at the Special Needs Library

You may have been wondering why you haven't received a newsletter in a while. Stacey Chandler left the manager position in October to take a job elsewhere. This left the library a little short-handed for a while and therefore unable to produce the newsletter. Claudia Markov and Pete Hayek agreed to be Co-Managers effective January 1, 2006. We have also hired a new Library Assistant/Outreach Specialist named Amber Wilkerson and she started January 17th. Please feel to call and introduce yourself to Amber and welcome her aboard. If anybody was getting or wants to get the newsletter sent to their e-mail account please let us know your e-mail address. The library changed e-mail systems and some of these addresses were lost. The newsletter is also available on cassette.

Open House

March 3, 2006 is the 75th Anniversary of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. To celebrate this momentous occasion the Special Needs Library is having an open house. Come by for refreshments and meet Amber. Friday, March 3rd, 2:00 - 4:00.

Talking Book Program Gradually Changing to Digital Talking Books

The transition of books and magazines recorded in an analog manner to Digital Talking Books(DTBs) will make DTBs available beginning in 2008. DTBs have two major advantages over recorded cassettes. First, they offer a better quality of sound reproduction-no more "tape hiss." Second, they allow easier navigation such as (1) book marking; (2) search functions; (3) note taking; and (4) word searches. As much as possible, the National Library Service(NLS) will keep the classic narrators, such as Alexander Scourby. The transition from recorded cassettes to digital flash memory cards will begin in 2008 and take about five years to complete. NLS began developing its digital collection in 2002. At least 20,000 books and 50,000 playback machines will be produced by 2008. Likely, magazines will still be produced on cassette for a while longer. At first, NLS will produce the most popular titles. The remaining titles will be duplicated as needed, on demand, and distributed to patrons from a national source. These new books will be on a 128 MB flash memory cartridge, or card, with one book per card. Cards will be slightly larger than a credit card and labeled in Braille and large print. It's important to remember there will be an overlap of cassette books and DTBs during this conversion period. No one will have to give up cassette players, books, or magazines. Keep in mind, however, that at some point the newest books will not be produced on cassette- only in the new digital format. NLS is often asked why this move to DTBs is taking so long. There are two answers: (1) The transition is too complex to rush and requires careful planning and execution; and (2) The unit price of media in the flash-memory based system must decline. Of course, this may change as "decisions in the medium term do not preclude the implementation of other alternatives…as the fluid digital environment evolves and new…options become available." (Current Strategic Business Plan: Implementation of Digital Systems," January 11, 2005).

Help for Blind and Visually Impaired College Students

The U.S. Department of Education offers a student aid audio guide that contains an overview of student aid programs including eligibility criteria, application procedures, loan repayment options and deferment and cancellation provisions. Information on non-federal sources for aid is also provided. Students can listen to the guide online at or call 1-800-433-3243 and request a copy on compact disc.

Disability Website

Disability is a comprehensive online resource specifically designed to provide people with disabilities access to disability-related information and programs available through the government on numerous subjects, including civil rights, education, employment, housing, health, income support, technology, transportation and community life. Check out

Danielle Steel Read-A-Likes

If you like books by Danielle Steel, but she isn't writing fast enough to keep up with your reading habits you might want to try the following authors who write in a similar style.

Bobby WorldWide Approved