NewsLion: Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library Newsletter

NewsLion Summer 2021

MP3 file

Big News:

As of June 1st, The Andrew Heiskell Library is open for limited services to the public by appointment. The hours of operation will be 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Saturday. 

In order to maintain good health and safety and social distancing practices, the library is maintaining a limit on the number of people inside at a time. 


Anyone with a New York Public Library card may make an appointment in advance to use one of our public computers (with or without assistive technology) There are two 45 minute appointments available per hour, on the hour, with no extensions. One computer each hour is reserved for people who will be using our assistive technology - screen readers, screen magnifiers, CCTV with computer, or braille translation software and embosser. 


We are also offering appointments for talkingbook browsing and pickup for our NLS patrons.  If you are registered as a member of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled you may make a 45 minute browsing / pickup appointment - there are 3 slots available each hour on the hour. 


For either of these services, Please make an appointment at least one day in advance by calling us at 212-206-5400 during our call center hours (Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm) and pressing 2. 


Happy Pride Month!

Join the Library in celebrating Pride Month throughout June. As part of our celebrations, our expert librarians have curated a new reading list of 100 titles for adultskids, and teens that highlight transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming voices. Here is a link to all the titles with annotations, and their DB, braille, and Bookshare copies.


Adult Calendar:

Community Advisory Council: Tuesday June 15th, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Run by you, our patrons, this group meets to discuss issues, make suggestions on the library’s direction, hear news first, and meet staff.  All ideas and opinions are welcome. This month we will be having a special guest - our new Spanish Outreach Assistant, Karen.   Please register at this link and on the day of the event you will be emailed a reminder with the link to join online or a number to dial in by phone. Event will take place over Google Meet.


Braille Study Group 

Saturdays, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

We welcome learners at all levels! Bring your questions, get support for your learning goals and find out how to learn Braille for free from home. Email for the join link



Book Discussion Group

Our virtual book club hosts engaging and thought-provoking discussions about books selected by our members. Meets on the second Saturday of every other month. Please call or register in advance to receive a meeting link or dial in number. Upcoming dates and titles for 2021 include the following:


Saturday June 12, 10:00 AM

Title for this session: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, DB 45008


Saturday August 14th at 10:00 AM

Title for this session: Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, DB 96907


Open Book Hour

Tuesday June 15th, 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Reading something amazing you can’t wait to tell people about? Join us for our virtual Open Book Hour, where we talk about the books we’ve been reading and get recommendations from fellow book lovers! Please register in advance on our website under upcoming events to receive a meeting link or dial in number. Or call us if you need help. Meets every other Tuesday.


More Open Book Hour Dates:

Tuesday June 29th, 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Tuesday July 13th, 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Tuesday July 27th, 4:00 - 5:00 PM

Tuesday August 10th, 3:30 - 4:30 PM

Tuesday August 24th, 3:30 - 4:30 PM

News from Your Andrew Heiskell Tech Team 

Our community has been exploring the wide world of accessible technology and culture from home, whether that’s in New York City or the other side of the world. Notable recent workshops have included DIY tactile drawing sessions, a virtual accessible fitness fair, and a 12-week introduction to the JAWS screen reader. Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to bringing our community together for learning and fellowship in a virtual space that is welcoming, fun and inclusive. Want to get involved? Read below to see what we offer, then email or call (212) 206-5400, extension 3, to start your learning journey.



Our team is committed to equity of access for everyone. For all group workshops, you may join using Zoom via computer, smartphone or tablet, or you can dial in by phone. One-to-one coaching is available by phone, Zoom or Google Meet: your choice. Our group workshops always feature auto-captions, but if you need an interpreter or captions to participate in coaching or workshops, please email at least two weeks before the event and we will arrange that access. 


One-to-One Coaching

We are here to help you achieve your tech goal! Are you learning the iPhone, improving your typing, or exploring the web with a screen reader? We will be happy to match you with a tech coach to work on achieving that goal. 


Read Wherever You Are 

Our BARD collection offers instant access to all of our Braille and talking books using a computer, smartphone, tablet or accessible device. Our members also have free access to Bookshare, a library of over a million titles which you can read on the web or your smartphone or tablet using magnification, text-to-speech or Braille. Need the daily paper? NFB-Newsline is also free and brings you access to local and national publications from your computer, smartphone, tablet or even a land-line phone. To get started, just call or email our tech team. 


Tech and Culture Workshops 

Join our vibrant community for free, interactive workshops every week covering tech topics for beginners and seasoned users, book discussions, a Braille study group and more. Below, you’ll find our offerings for June: just use the link within each listing to register. To receive a reminder about each upcoming workshop or find out about additional pop-up offerings, email or contact our tech team to join our announcement list. 


Using Gmail with Screen Readers

Saturday June 5, 1:30- 3:00 PM Eastern 

Learn how to navigate the Gmail web app using your screen reader’s features and Gmail’s time-saving keyboard shortcuts.

Using Add-ons with NVDA

Wednesday June 9, 2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern 

Discover third-party additions to NVDA that are easy to install, free of charge and extend the power of this popular Windows screen reader.


Blind Entrepreneurship Showcase

Monday June 21, 6:00 - 7:30 PM Eastern

Hear from a range of blind people in business and find out what community supports and resources they accessed  to get started, how they create accessible practices at work and what high- and low-tech access strategies they use.


Accessible Gaming for iOS

Saturday June 26, 2 - 3:30 PM Eastern

Join a roundtable discussion about accessible gaming. Hear from other patrons about their favorite new and classic games, and feel free to share your own!


New Talking Books from the Andrew Heiskell Library Audiobook Studio

  • Wilderness of Mirrors by David C Martin, DBC 16629 (Adult, Non-fiction) This non-fiction book, written before the fall of the Berlin Wall, presents a penetrating critique and a detailed description of Cold War intrigue between the CIA and their Soviet adversaries. Some strong language.

  • Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars: The Story of America's Most Unlikely Abolitionist by Catherine Clinton, DBC 16637 (Adult, Non-fiction) An entertaining biography of the British stage star who married a wealthy American plantation owner in 1834 and poured out observations on slavery, American life, and the position of women in her time, becoming perhaps America's most unlikely abolitionist.

  • Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos, DBC 16638 (Adult, Non-fiction) A dark, wild, powerful memoir about a young woman's transformation from college student to professional dominatrix. Adult. Explicit descriptions of sex. Some violence. Strong language.

  • Howl & Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg, DBC 16640 (Adult, Poetry) "Howl and Other Poems" contains two of the most well-known poems from the Beat Generation, "Howl" and "A Supermarket in California". Descriptions of sex. Strong language.

  • Light From Other Stars: A Novel by Erika Swyler, DBC 16644 (Adult, Fiction) From the bestselling author of "The Book of Speculation", a novel about fathers and daughters, about time, loss, and the wonders of the universe. Some descriptions of sex. Some strong language.

  • The Skipper's Dog's Called Stalin (Harry Gilmour Book 2) by David Black, DBC 16666 (Adult, Fiction) The second in an exciting series of novels telling the personal story of a young British submariner in World War Two. In this book, Harry Gilmour finds himself the liaison officer aboard the Free French submarine ‘Radegonde’ on a mission to Martinique. Some violence.


The Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library Podcast


Join host James Langton for a biweekly podcast from the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. Each episode includes a guest from library staff, volunteers and patrons for lively and light-hearted conversation about the National Library Service program for the Blind and Print Disabled with Talking Book recommendations and excerpts. Listen to episodes at this link:

New episodes include guests from the Andrew Heiskell library staff including senior librarian John Fahs, ex-managing librarian Lyman Clayborn and chief librarian Jill Rothstein.


NYPL’s Story Line

Story Line is The New York Public Library’s new dial-a-story service for children in five languages, created during the pandemic lockdown. All the stories have been recorded through the Andrew Heiskell library’s audiobook studio. You can call 917-ASK-NYPL (917-275-6975) and select option 6# to hear a children’s book performed by one of NYPL’s talented librarians. A new story is made available every week in English, SpanishMandarinRussian, and Japanese. The stories can also be accessed online at