Arizona Secretary of State - Ken Bennett

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For Immediate Release
August 17, 2009
For more information, contact Jim Drake at (602) 542-0681

Veterans to Receive Arizona 's First Digital Talking Books

PHOENIX -- On September 11, 2009, Phoenix-area veterans will receive some of the first digital talking book players to be distributed by the Arizona State Braille and Talking Book Library, a division of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

A special presentation ceremony for veterans, elected officials, and invited guests, and emceed by Secretary of State Bennett, will be held on September 11 at 1:00 p.m. in the Restored Senate Chambers on the 3 rd Floor of the Historic Capitol Building (1700 W Washington, Phoenix ). Several new digital players will be distributed to a small group of veterans who represent the state's veteran population. Representatives from the Veterans' Administration and the Blinded Veterans' Association will also be at the ceremony.

The new digital player is only the third audio technology to be used by the Talking Book program that began recording books in 1934 for individuals who were blind or visually impaired. Most of the audio books and specialized playback equipment are produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS). The Arizona State Library makes these and locally produced audio books available at no cost through the mail to anyone in Arizona who finds it difficult to read standard print because of vision loss or a physical impairment that makes it hard to hold a book.

Veterans will be the first of the more than 9,000 Talking Book Library patrons in Arizona to receive the new digital players. By federal law veterans have always received first preference in talking book services provided by NLS.

Linda Montgomery, Director of the Arizona Talking Book Library, said, “The library staff is very excited about the transition to a digital format because it will be easier to use, will have better sound quality and will be much more durable than the current cassette books provided.”

Cassettes will be replaced by digital flash cartridges. Use of the player will be easy to learn because just by touching a button the player announces the button's function. Just as with the cassette books, the new digital books and players will be sent to patrons by free matter mail and just as with any public library there are no charges for use of the materials.

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records serves the Arizona Legislature and Arizonans, providing public access to public information, fostering historical/cultural collaborative research, providing information projects, and ensuring that Arizona's history is documented and preserved. These services are provided through the divisions of the agency: History and Archives, Braille and Talking Book Library, Library Development Division, Law and Research Library, Arizona Capitol Museum , and Records Management.

For more information, contact Linda Montgomery, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, 602-255-5578, and for more information about the Arizona Talking Book Library, visit .