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NewsLion: Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library Newsletter

Fall 2017

NewsLion Fall 2017 Audio (MP3) 


IMPORTANT UPDATE effective10/10/17

The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library's Community Culture and Technology Fair has grown in popularity over the past years and has outgrown our current location. Therefore, the fair scheduled for Saturday, October 14, 2017 must be postponed while we explore options for a location that will accommodate our growingaudience. The fair will not happen on the 14th. There will be announcements as soon as we have more information about a new date. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Other News: Please join us in welcoming back Madeline as a new Readers’ Advisor and Information Assistant. Previously she was a dedicated collections processing assistant here! If you speak to her on the phone, please be sure to say "hello!"


New Braille for NYPL checkout

We have been able to greatly expand our collection of NYPL braille and braille-learning materials. That is, items available to anyone in New York State with an NYPL card, and not needing any special eligibility to use. Items are loaned for 3 weeks, and items can be renewed for longer if there is not a waitlist. We expect this will be great for our own tech workshop students and braille study group, but also many teachers, caregivers, service providers, and parents out in the neighborhoods who may place them on hold. Some of the new braille titles include:

  • Out and About: Our Favorite Travel Apps
  • Label it!: Braille and Audio Strategies for identifying Items at Home and Work
  • Android Commands and Settings
  • Computers You Can Talk To: Siri, Alexa, Google Now and Cortana
  • iOS Without the Eye
  • Anyone Can Play: Accessible Games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
  • The Abundant Bookshelf: Reading Books on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch,
  • 50 Scrumptious Recipes from
  • Reading by Touch: Trials, Battles, and Discoveries (also in a print edition)



Opera Concert Series

The New York Opera Forum performs complete concert versions of operas with piano accompaniment. Programs with act-by-act plot summaries will be provided in large print and braille.  

Saturday, October 28, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM  "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" by Vincenzo Bellini;

Tuesday November 14, 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi;

Saturday, December 9, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM “Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute)” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


Book Discussion Group:

Please join Andrew Heiskell’s Book Discussion Group, which meets from 10:30 AM to 11:30am on a Saturday every other month.  Our book discussion meetings are always lively, entertaining, and “a must” for book lovers! If you can’t make it to the meetings, ask about participating by phone or Skype. Join us:

Saturday, October 21, to discuss Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, DB 84732, and also join us on Saturday, December 9, to discuss The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, DB 78978.


Creative Writing Workshop

Saturdays, 2:00 PM to 4:00 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 or email

Braille Study Group

Saturdays, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Wednesdays, 11:30 AM – 1:00 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

Citizens’ Advisory Council

Saturday September 9, 11:00 AM– 12:00 PM

Run by you, our patrons, this group meets quarterly to discuss issues, make suggestions on the library’s direction, hear news first, and meet staff.  All ideas and opinions are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Note: In this meeting we will announce a new initiative called community conversations, which will bring together library members for a special event to talk about what the most important issues are in our community now, what should be focused on, and what the library should plan on being like in 5 or 10 years.



Foundation Fighting Blindness

Saturdays September 23, October 28, November 25

From 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM.   Meet the group for support, information sharing, and action planning.


Stargardt’s Group

Saturday November 4, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM

Please join us for support, networking, and shared experiences!


Guide Dog Users of New York

Saturday October 7, 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM and

December 2, 11:30 AM to 1:30 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, October 7, November 4, and December 2. From 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.



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. Workshops are always free, and you may arrange to participate remotely if you can’t attend in person. We are also happy to arrange customized workshops by request.


Braille Screen Input for iPhone and iPad

Thursday October 5, 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Type with Braille on your iOS device by tapping your fingers on your touchscreen. It takes a little practice, but once you master this technique you’ll have a powerful, efficient writing tool in your pocket, wherever you go.


Battle of the Browsers

Tuesday October 10, 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Learn about three popular browsers, their most popular features and how they perform with screen readers and magnification software.


iOS and Android Apps for Independence

Saturday October 21, 5:00 PM - 6:45 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: identify products and read text with Seeing AI!


Introduction to Programming with Arduino

Thursday October 26, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Learn nonvisual 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.


On the Move: Apps and Strategies for Getting Around and Getting Involved

Saturday October 28, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Learn how to use your mobile device or computer to get directions, discover local businesses along with their products and menus, find out which museums and other cultural attractions have accessible programs, and more. See how your mobile phone or tablet can help you figure out which direction you’re traveling in, what intersections and streets are near you, and what’s printed on signs and information in your environment. Make the most of your city!


The AT Crowd: a Place to Talk About and Test New Ideas in Accessible Technology

Thursday November 2, 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM

This quarterly gathering is a chance for designers, developers and students of accessible technology to network with assistive technology users. Come try out accessible apps and services, share your ideas and help shape the future of inclusive technology.


Polish Your Resume the Accessible Way

Thursday November 9, 4:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Learn strategies and techniques for crafting your resume. We’ll cover tips on what to include and where, common pitfalls to avoid, proofreading when you use a screen reader and ways to showcase your resume online. This workshop will include an hour of hands-on practice with editing and formatting so, when you register, let us know what type of assistive tech you use and if you will be using your own device or our laptops.


Exploring Music and Podcasts

Thursday November 16, 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM

Find out how to use your computer or mobile device to browse free and paid collections of music, and discover how podcasts (Internet-based radio shows) are ushering a new era of audio story-telling.


Accessible Books and Magazines: an Intro to BARD, Bookshare and Newsline

Thursday December 14, 5:00 PM – 6:45 PM

New to reading electronic Braille and talking books? Want to read the morning paper with magnification, speech or Braille? Need to track down a book about your hobby, academic or research interest? This workshop will explain what collections are available, what each one includes and how to get started.


STAFF PICKS: Books to help you enjoy (or just get through) the Holidays!


  • DB071847 Kevin Kling's Holiday Inn  by Kevin Kling. Just in time for Thanksgiving, National Public Radio commentator pens good-humored autobiographical stories about holidays throughout the year, including Thanksgiving with his Grandma Grace. He also describes celebrating his fourth birthday inside a glass "cage" at the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children after measles postponed his operation.
  • For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us about Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice By Howard Schultz. DB080181 Just in time for Veterans’ Day: profiles of members of the military highlighting those exemplifying citizenship, heroism, and sacrifice. Focuses on vets of Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Hanukkah in America: A History By Dianne Ashton. DB081412 Professor of religion examines regional variants of the ancient Jewish tradition.  In New Orleans, Hanukkah means decorating a door with a menorah made of hominy grits; latkes in Texas are seasoned with cilantro and cayenne pepper; children in Cincinnati sing Hanukkah songs and eat oranges and ice cream.
  • Twelve Days of Christmas : a Novel by Debbie Macomber. DB085811 Julia Padden tries to spread joy in her life, especially around Christmas, but grouchy neighbor Cain Maddox doesn't seem to have the holiday spirit. Julia decides to chronicle her attempts to be nice to Cain in an online blog.
  • And for those who Do NOT enjoy the chaos of the winter holiday season: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. DB068134 Short tales by a humorist, playwright, and Public Radio commentator. Sedaris relives his stint as a department store elf in "SantaLand Diaries." In "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!," a housewife facing homicide charges updates loved ones in her annual holiday newsletter.



Storytime with Anthony or Susanna on Fridays at 11:15 AM.  For ages 0-5.



Use DBN # to request digital cartridge from the library.

Use DBC # when downloading title from BARD.

(Available on DBN now, and later in the Fall on DBC.)

  • Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino   DBN 5361     DBC 0806 In a garden, Marco Polo tells the aged Kublai Khan about his travels to cities of the mind.
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino   DBN 5186   DBC 0807 Two readers pursue a labyrinth of stories that intrigue them.
  • The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck            DBN 5731    DBC 0808 Five narratives woven together, each leading to a different death of the same anonymous character.
  • Morphine, by Mikhail Bulgakov DBN 5732   DBC 0809 Portrayal of a country doctor’s descent into the hell of morphine addiction.
  • The Black Unicorn, (Poems) by Audre Lorde  DBN 5734  DBC 0810 A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, and warrior poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated her life and poetry to confronting the injustices of racism, sexism and homophobia.


Holidays and Closings:

The library will be closed for the following holidays:

  • Columbus Day, Monday, October 9
  • Veterans Day, Friday - Saturday, November 10 - 11
  • Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23
  • Christmas, Monday, December 25


On holidays, you may still leave us a voicemail or email and someone will get back to you when we reopen.