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NewsLion: Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library Newsletter

Spring 2018

NewsLion Spring 2018 Audio (MP3)


New Textured Tactile Braille Board Books!

In response to teacher requests, Andrew Heiskell Library is pleased to announce we're adding a larger selection of board books with tactile textures, braille, and short stories to the NYPL collection. Many will be owned by Andrew Heiskell and some others will be available at New Dorp Library and Bronx Library Center.  The titles include items from the “That’s Not My” series, including "That's not my Puppy” and “That’s not my Snowman”; from "Biscuit's Pet and Play" series; from "Feely Bugs"; and from "Peter Rabbit's Touch and Feel".  Also included are brailled board book copies of "Sometimes I Like to Curl up in a Ball" and "I Love You Because You're You".

Adult Calendar

City Services Day:

Thursday, April 12, from noon to 3pm

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library invite you to our third annual City Services Day. Learn about the work that New York City is doing to serve the blind and low vision community. Topics include accessibility of, improved access to City Services, housing resources, employment campaigns, accessible way finding in streets, and adaptive sports in City Parks. This 3 hour event will feature presentations from city agencies including The Department of Transportation, Housing Preservation and Development, Parks and Recreation, Emergency Management, and more.

World in Words:

The World in Words is a podcast about language. Hosts Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki bring you stories and interviews from the world’s linguistic front lines. In short, they’re nerdy and wordy. The podcast began as an offshoot of the public radio program, PRI’s The World. This spring Patrick and Nina will be taping an episode of the podcast live at Andrew Heiskell Library. It’ll be an evening of audio storytelling exploring a slew of wildly different subjects from the history of braille to the secret languages of animals. Come and listen on April 12 from 6:30-7:30pm. And in the meantime, you can find episodes of The World in Words on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Book Discussion Group:

Please join Andrew Heiskell’s Book Discussion Group, which meets from 10:30 AM to 11:30am on the second Saturday of every other month.  Our book discussion meetings are always lively, entertaining, and “a must” for book lovers! Join us April 14 for A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, DB 85533; and on June 9, for Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano, DB 80726.

Origami for Low-Vision Patrons:

Andrew Heiskell Library is conducting a free series of origami workshops on the fourth Tuesday of every month until August of 2018 at 5pm.  These sixty-minute sessions will help you experience origami through instruction and through the physicality of a piece of paper transforming into a variety of shapes.  This program is accessible to those people with visual impairment but is open to all who are interested in origami.  To register, please call Lyman Clayborn at 212-621-0637.  The exact dates are April 24th, May 22nd, June 26th, July 24th, and August 28th - - all from 5 to 6pm.

Long Island See for Yourself Fair 2018: An Assistive Technology and Resource Fair for People Living with Vision Loss

Friday, May 4th, anytime between 9:00am and 3:00pm, at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, New York 11713. This event will provide hands-on demonstrations of the current technologies for people living with vision loss. In addition to the assistive technology vendors, the fair will have representatives from a variety of state and county agencies and non-profit service providers. Admission is free. We recommend that you give yourself about an hour and a half to visit all of the exhibitors. Please note: We do not provide transportation. If you have questions about the fair, please call 631-286-1600 and ask for Outreach Services.

Creative Writing Workshop:

Saturdays, 2:00 PM to 4 PM

Our workshops in partnership with the New York Writers Coalition (NYWC) are ongoing. Registration is required. For a list of the upcoming class dates and to register, please call 212-621-0624 and leave your name and telephone number. If there is no answer, simply email to register.

Braille Study Group:

Wednesdays, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM | Saturdays, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Join staff, peers, and volunteers who can help you with your braille study plan and assignments and recommend strategies for taking your braille proficiency to the next level. Braille games and activities will help you put your skills into practice.  This study group welcomes blind and sighted learners alike. If you’re not sure how to begin learning braille, we can help you get started. To register, please call (212) 621-0627 or email

Non-Affiliated Group Meetings

Foundation Fighting Blindness

Saturdays April 28, May 19, and June 23, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Meet the group for support, information sharing, and action planning.

Guide Dog Users of New York

Saturday, June 2, 11 AM to 1:00 PM

If you are a guide dog user, please be sure to attend this support group for networking and information.

American Council of the Blind

Saturdays April 7th, May 5th, and June 2nd. 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

The American Council of the Blind strives to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people.

Create Tactile Graphics & Objects at the Library!

If you or someone you know needs maps, diagrams, images or 3D objects that can be explored by touch, we want you to know that you can make them for free at the library. Our software and hardware is accessible to blind and sighted people, and we hope that people from all walks of life, including non-visual learners, O&M instructors, teachers, artists, and anyone else who wants to make spatial information more accessible will give our equipment a try. Together we can make access happen! Please see the technology calendar below and sign up for workshops that will show you how, or contact the tech team to learn more.

Technology Calendar

Individual Technology Coaching

Want to explore accessible online books and magazines, or use your regular telephone to hear newspapers and magazines read out loud?

Would you like to sign up for our Braille Audio and Reading Download service (BARD), the NFB-Newsline newspaper and magazine program, Bookshare’s digital library, the Learning Ally collection of textbooks, or an NYPL library card? We can help!

Volunteer tech coaches are available to assist new and experienced computer users. Get help with email, blogging, downloading audio books, learning accessible computer games, using the web, using accessibility software, and more. The coaches read with braille and print, use text-to-speech technology, and speak a variety of languages.

To make a coaching appointment, call 212-621-0627 or email

Technology Workshops

We offer group workshops on a range of technology and information literacy topics. Call 212-621-0627 or email to register for any of these workshops so that we may anticipate the size and needs of each group. Workshops are always free, and you may arrange to participate remotely if you are unable to attend in person. In addition to the workshops listed here, we are happy to arrange customized workshops about accessible technology and information literacy.

Dimensions: Community Tools for Making Tactile Graphics & Models

The library is offering workshops and equipment that will help you make tactile graphics (such as maps, diagrams, and pictures) and 3d objects, using our embosser and 3d printer. Upcoming workshops are listed here in brief. To learn more, please call us at (212) 621-0627 or visit /about/locations/heiskell/dimensions

Tactile Graphics Embosser Basics

(learn how the Braille embosser and tactile design software work, how to import images and draw your own)

Saturday April 14, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM; and Tuesday June 5, 5:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Tactile Tactics

(concepts and design thinking for making meaningful, understandable tactile graphics, and models)

Saturday April 21, 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM; and Thursday May 24, 5:15 PM - 7:45 PM

3d Printing Basics

(using the 3d printer, finding and printing models, overview of design software choices) Thursday April 26, 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Reading Strategies for College Students and Lifelong Learners

Saturday April 7, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Are you a current or prospective college student, or just want to get more out of your reading time? Find out about study tools that can help you create outlines, find the topics you’re looking for within a book or publication, take notes, highlight important points, define words and more. We’ll cover options for iOS, Android and Windows.

Coding and Electronics with Arduino

Saturday April 14, 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Learn non-visual techniques for programming a small, affordable computer to do things in the physical world. Arduino can be used for robotics, controlling home appliances, taking environmental measurements, and much more.

Arduino Group Project Lab

Thursday April 19, 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Thursday May 17, 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Thursday June 14, 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Bring your ideas and projects in progress to this open lab time for collaborative learning and problem-solving!

Web Skills for Screen Reader Users

Friday April 20, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Learn about the elements that make up a webpage and the tools your screen reader includes to help you navigate. Understanding how webpages are made can help you browse the web more confidently.

Getting More from Google

Monday April 30, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Find out how to search using keywords that get you the results you need. From web searches to news, mathematics and conversions, shopping, flights, and even translations, we’ll show you how to find the information you’re looking for.

Apps for Independence

Saturday May 12, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Learn about apps on your smartphone or tablet that can help you read text, identify objects, organize paper money, find out what businesses and streets are nearby, and more. New this quarter: detect light levels, currency and handwriting in Seeing AI

Conversations with Computers: Exploring Voice Assistants

Wednesday May 23, 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Learn about the capabilities of popular voice assistants for your smartphone, tablet, or computer, including Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant.

Screen Magnification for Windows: Magic, ZoomText and ZoomText Fusion

Wednesday June 13, 3:00 PM - 4:45 PM

Magnification programs do more than just enlarge text. We’ll demonstrate how two leading programs allow you to magnify all or part of your screen, manage colors and contrast, make the pointer and cursor easier to see, highlight your position in a webpage or document, and work alongside screen reading programs so that you can use magnification and speech output together.

Programs for Children

Storytime with Anthony or Susanna

Fridays at 11:15 AM.  For children ages 18 months to 5 years old, and their caregivers.

Baby Lapsit

Mondays at 3:30 PM.  For infants ages 0-18 months, and their caregivers.

Staff Picks

This quarter’s staff picks are brought to you by special guest Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Manager of New York Public Library’s Young Adult Education and Engagement.  In honor of Mother’s Day and in honor of all women, Caitlyn presents a list of titles about women’s experiences, especially New York women.

Among Other Things I've Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney, DB066009 (Adult, Fiction)
Miranda graduates college and trades her quiet Maine life for the hustle of the city and discovers a complicated love along the way.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina, DB084157 (Young Adult, Fiction)
Nora Lopez has to contend with her complicated, violent family while the Son of Sam is terrorizing New York City.

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg, DB081825 (Adult, Fiction)
Based on the real Mazie Philips, Attenberg captures the brash, beautiful heart of a woman who leant her personality to the LES during the Great Depression.

Holidays and Closings

We will be closed for the following holiday:

●  Memorial Day weekend, Saturday - Monday, May 26-28

On days we are closed, you may still leave a telephone message or email us and someone will get back to you as soon as possible after the holidays. You can leave us book requests too!