Home>Newsletters>Fall, 2008

Logo of The Friends of The New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped: Within a circle is a family with their pets. Around the circle is our organization name, The Friends of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped. THE FRIENDS OF THE NEW JERSEY LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND AND HANDICAPPED



The fall meeting of the Friends of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped (NJLBH) will be held on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The meeting will take place at the NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped which is located at 2300 Stuyvesant Avenue, Trenton, NJ. Please join us and learn about new developments both at the Library and in the Friends organization. We need your input and support and urge you to attend. Lunch will be served after the meeting and anyone wishing to stay will be asked to contribute $5.00 towards the cost of the food.


Since the last meeting new and exciting things have been happening at the Library. We are approaching a new digital age. It is an exciting time. I can remember the hard records, the flexible discs, the open reel tapes, and last the cassettes. We have had advances and setbacks with the conversion from analog to digital; for instance, Audio Vision is in the process of finding various solutions for this change. We no longer will accept new patrons for the Talking Picture program. The DVDs are expensive and the company we were dealing with no longer provides descriptive video services. The Library is looking into different venues to continue this program for the future. In the meantime the present participants will continue to be able to borrow the VHS videos.

The holiday season is upon us which means patrons are reading books and magazines with subjects focusing on the holiday season. For instance, cookbooks on holiday recipes, holiday stories, and holiday decorating. The Friends know how important the Library is for enriching the lives of its patrons.

At the last meeting the Executive Board was voted in. Mary Jo Partyka is our new Vice-President and publicity person. She will be a great asset to the board and library. The following are the entire executive board:
President - Elisabeth Dougherty; Vice-President -Mary Jo Partyka; Treasurer - Joyce Sowa, and Secretary - Ottilie Lucas. Both Doug Heine and John Vernon will remain board members at large.

We hope to have our newsletters, brochure, application, calendar of events, and the current Executive Board Members list and contact information on our website. We would welcome our members to contact the Friends if you have additional items you wish to have posted on the website. I am looking forward to seeing you at the meeting with bells on. I wish to thank all of you who voted for me and entrusted me with the future of the Friends.

We have new fund raising ideas. Remember all of you are part of the fund raising process and contributing suggestions to the advancement of the library's programs are always appreciated.


The Friends of the NJLBH would like to extend congratulations to Adam Stephen Szczepaniak Jr. who has been appointed Director of the NJLBH. In July 2008, Adam was named Associate State Librarian and Director of the NJLBH. Adam had been serving as the Library's Assistant Director since April, 2007.

Prior to this appointment, Adam served as librarian for the Maryland State Department of Education for seven years at the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Handicapped. He has held the positions of Associate Director at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and Associate Professor and Head of the Science and Engineering Library at the University of Alabama. He has held professional positions with the State University of New York at Brooklyn, The Johns Hopkins University, and the United States Army's Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense. He also served as Director of the Medical Library for the Maryland State Medical Society in Baltimore. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a member of the American Library Association and the Library Administration and Management Association.

Szczepaniak is optimistic concerning technological opportunities for New Jersey's blind citizens. "Advances in technology continue to level the playing field for the blind and for individuals with special needs; allowing everyone equal access to information."
We look forward to working with Adam because his vast experience with library organizations will serve as an asset to the Friends.


Maria Baratta has been named Assistant Director of the New Jersey State Library for the Blind and Handicapped, bringing her extensive experience in library administration to the position. She has worked in a variety of library settings, including the State Library's branch at the Department of Environmental Protection, and comes to NJLBH from the NJ Attorney General's Office, where she was Library Director. Her vast knowledge of library operations and of library networks in New Jersey will be a definite asset in overseeing the day-to-day activities of NJLBH. "I love the mission of the New Jersey Library for the Blind and Handicapped," she stated. "It's exciting to see all the new technologies that will permit us to provide better library services to all our customers."

The Friends would like to extend congratulations and are looking forward to working with her.


The Library of Congress awarded a contract for the manufacture of standard and advanced digital talking book players to Shinano Kenshi Co. Ltd (Japan) and Shinano Kenshi Corporation-Plextor LLC (SKC-North America). It was awarded on behalf of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and some 700,000 of its patrons. The first players will be manufactured for the NLS in late 2008.
A similar contract was awarded to LC Industries in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, to produce mailing containers for the USB flash memory cartridges that will have the audio books recorded on them.

Northstar Systems Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, California, was awarded a contract to manufacture USB flash memory cartridges for use in distributing recorded audiobooks to NLS patrons. The cartridges purchased under this contract will permit all NLS recorded books to be issued on either 512 MB or 1 GB cartridges.

Library patrons interested in more information or to register for the new NLS player can call the Library at (800)792-8322 . The first group of players will be given to veterans in New Jersey and the second group will be given to those New Jersey patrons over 100 years of age. Additional players will be provided to eligible patrons on a first-come-first-served basis.


A membership form is attached to this newsletter for those who wish to join the Friends or pay dues. Please note that the dues for a Single person are $15.00 and $30.00 for a family. These dues cover an 18 month period from January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009.
The Friends fund a variety of programs including Audio vision, the Children's Summer Reading Program, The Fall Festival, The American Sign Language Story Hour, The Sensory Garden, Foreign Language Books and Large-print Books for Adults and Children. Donations will be accepted on behalf of the Friends for the organization or for a specific program.


Name: __________________________________________________
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Telephone (with area code):_________________________________
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Preferred Media Format: LP_______ Tape_______ or E-mail______­_
I am eligible for NJLBH Services: Yes ___ No ___
Individual Member $15.00 ___
Family Membership $30.00 ___
Donation $ _________
Donation in Memory or Honor of:
Name: _______________________________________________
Send acknowledgment for memorial gift to:
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Please return this form together with your membership check payable to:
The Friends of the NJLBH
PO Box 434, Woodbridge, NJ 07095