Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center Operations Policies
The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center is a unit of special service under the administration of the Athens Regional Library System. Funding for the service derives from local, state and federal sources. In terms of administration, this program is a specialized branch library serving a larger geographic area (21 counties) than the fivecounty Athens Regional Library System. All staff are considered Athens Regional Library System employees and subject to the same requirements and benefits of Athens Regional Library System staff.
The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center is also affiliated with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and most service policies are determined by that organization, including eligibility for service, machine lending policies, and so on. Some of the following policies are local and some are national.
- Registering new readers
- Canceling patrons
- Large Type Books
- Collection Development
Patrons are contacted and materials (talking books, players, catalogs, magazine list and welcoming letter) are mailed by the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center to new readers within 3 days of receipt of the completed application form. If the person comes into the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center to register and the application form is complete, he is signed up immediately so that he can take the materials out with him.
Patrons are cancelled upon their request or if they are unable to be reached due to an incorrect address and phone number. Checking the list of readers is an ongoing process. During each year the entire reader file is checked to identify patrons who are inactive. Every effort is made to assist them in becoming active readers again.
New readers are first loaned five books unless they request more or fewer; this number is increased or decreased according to the patron’s needs. The suggested loan period is one month, however, there are no fines for materials returned late or lost. When a patron returns a book he is loaned another one.
Patrons are loaned a cassette player and/or a record player, as they wish. A combination player may be substituted for the two players. An E-Z machine may be substituted for the cassette player if the patron finds the regular cassette player too complicated. Patrons return malfunctioning players to the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center for repair, at which time they are loaned another player. When patrons cancel their Talking Books service they must return the players, which actually belong to the Federal Government. There are no charges for lost or damaged players.
Headphones are loaned to patrons who need them in order to use the service and who cannot procure them for themselves, i.e. people in nursing homes whose roommates don’t want to hear the books, school children when headphones are not available from the school, and so on.
Remote control devices, pillow speakers and amplifiers are available for those who need them. The amplifiers for the hearing impaired require a separate application form signed by an M.C., preferably an audiologist, as they are very powerful.
People may be signed up a large-type-only readers if they are print handicapped. They then borrow books through the extension service or their regular libraries. Patrons do not have to be signed up for Talking Books in order to borrow large print books but it is encouraged as it benefits both the patron and Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center. The patron is put in touch with the Talking Book Center and knows of its existence in case they eventually need talking books service, and the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center benefits by having another patron sign up.
The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center rotates large type books throughout all branches in the Athens Regional Library System on a tri-annual basis.
The National Library Service provides the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center with recorded books at no charge. That agency selects the books with the assistance of a Collection Development Committee. The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center selects the quantity of each books desired through a monthly online copy allotment process. Extra copies of popular books are duplicated or obtained through interlibrary loan from the Multi-State Center in Cincinnati or through the national XESS-Excess and Redistribution-program. Lost books that are of value(still desired by patrons) are replaced through one of the above methods.
The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center maintains a comprehensive collection of classics and other books used in school literature classes, to help satisfy the need of public and private school and university students.
All recently produced books are kept until such time as the ones of no merit or interest may be weeded through the XESS program, as determined by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Damaged books are discarded. Tapes are reused if they are in good condition.
Locally produced materials or materials about local subjects that are requested by a patron may be recorded if not already available in recorded form from NLS or the Georgia Regional Library for the Blind. Only books that have some merit will be of lasting value will be recorded. Brief materials desired by individual patrons may also be recorded, i.e., pamphlets, brochures, or booklets needed for a course or test, etc. Occasionally a local author who has received funds from a grant may wish to record a work so it will be available to print-handicapped people. In that case, we assist in recording the work and make it available to our patrons.
Local newspapers are recorded by volunteers and staff on a weekly basis in an effort to offer local news. Articles and newspapers are selected based on patron preference and staff discretion.
The Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center locally provides a collection of Descriptive Video Cassettes to be loaned out free of charge to visually impaired patrons. This collection is developed based on patron interest and staff recommendations, and videos are purchased through gifts and donations to the Northeast Georgia Talking Book Center given by individuals or organizations. Patrons may check out no more than two videos at a time for a 14 days loan period. If a patron consistently loses or damages videos, their privilege of borrowing videos may be revoked.