Friday, August 9, 2019

Marylandia Collection Update

Marylandia Collection: Update

Contributed by Mary Ramos, Collection Development Librarian

Marylandia Boiler Plate

The Marylandia Collection is produced by the LBPH Recording Studio. This collection includes books by Maryland authors and select regional authors and books of particular interest to Marylanders.  The Marylandia Collection is available for download through Braille & Audio Reading Download (BARD).  

Mystery & Detective
DBC05267 – Full Mortality: Nikki Latrelle, Book 1, by Sasscer Hill
Narrated by Diane Brandt Stillman

Jockey Nikki Latrelle gets the chance of a lifetime – to ride the favorite in a stakes race – only to have her dream destroyed when a mysterious intruder kills her mount the night before the race. Evil is at work at Maryland's Laurel Park race track, and when Nikki stumbles over the body of a gunshot victim, she quickly becomes the prime suspect in a murder case.

You can search BARD for this and other great titles by visiting: or via the Mobile App.

Tech Tips: TapTapSee

Tech Tips: TapTapSee

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

tap tap see logo
TapTapSee is a free iOS and Android application that allows visually impaired users to identify objects, money, and surroundings by using their smartphone. Using CloudSign Image Resolution, TapTapSee utilizes the smart device's camera and voice-over functions to take a picture or video and have that image or video described to the user.

To use this application, users do have to have to agree to a "terms of service," which grants the application access to the phone's settings, camera, and photo gallery. Once installed and activated, users will be able to launch the application. Inside TapTapSee, users will find the camera button in the middle of the screen. Best practices indicate that users should hold the smart device between 4 and 6 inches away from the object they are photographing. By double-tapping with one finger on the camera button, a photograph will be taken. Because the image is being processed via Cloud technology, it may take a minute or two to complete considering the picture.

If users do not get a satisfactory description, retaking the image at a different angle may be warranted.

To learn more about this application, visit:

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Tech Tips: Alexa

Tech Tips: Alexa

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

amazon alexa logo

Alexa now reads emails with ease!

Amazon Echo, Dot, and Fire Tablets now allow you to use Alexa with your email. Once connected, Alexa will allow you to read your email, reply, forward, and delete messages as needed. If you are a novice tech user, you may need assistance to enable this feature.

To enable this feature:
  • Launch the Amazon Alexa app on your phone.
  • Double-tap on the Menu button.
  • Swipe to find the Settings options and then double-tap.
  • Swipe to find the Calendar/Email functions, then double-tap.
  • At this point, follow the steps to add either an Email account, calendar, or both.

Interested in Assistive Technology?

Interested in Assistive Technology? 

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

TUG boiler plate

What do you think of when you hear the term "Assistive Technology?"

For our purposes, it refers to any device which can be used by blind or low vision individuals. This term applies even if the device itself was not designed initially with blind or low vision users in mind. An example of this technology would be an air fryer with dials rather than digital menus, or perhaps using Alexa at home or in the office.

These devices are often the discussion of the Technology User Group or TUG meetings. TUG meetings are monthly get-togethers of individuals who want to explore assistive technology, share and learn new technology skills, and discuss the latest happenings in the tech world.

TUG meetings are typically held once per month between March and November. While many are in Baltimore, the meetings are also held across the state; upcoming locations include Leisure World in Silver Spring and cities like Annapolis and Columbia.

LBPH will be hosting it's annual Assistive Technology Gifts for the Holidays event, which acts as a capstone for the TUG meetings. This event, which has been a favorite among library patrons for years, will be held on November 9. More details will be released as they become available.

Library Card Sign-up Month @ Your Library!

Library Card Sign-up Month @ Your Library!

Contributed by LaShawn Myles, Youth Services Librarian

Woody and Bo Peep hold a library card as they race down a slide on an adventure. Text reads: September is Library Card Sign-up month! A library card brings stories to life. Image has the following logos: Libraries Transform, American Library Association, Overdrive, Library Champions, Disney

This September is Library Card Sign- Up Month. 

Guess who is joining us to promote the value of obtaining a library card? 

Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” characters Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep and friends are urging you to join your local public library.  The Toy Story crew knows library cards help bring great stories to life. 

With your public library card, there is no end to what you can borrow! Libraries have so much more than books to offer. You can borrow movies, museum passes, musical instruments, and technology. Libraries have dynamic programs and events like storytimes, group play hours, computer classes, crafting activities, and more! Libraries offer the resources and services that help people pursue their passions and give you the tools to succeed in school and beyond.  

Go to: to find your local library and sign up for your FREE library card today! 

What You Need to Know About iOS 13

What you need to know about iOS 13

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

Apple iOS logo

iOS is the operating system for Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. Each year in September, Apple launches an updated version of its software, which can have many surprising results. 

As the iOS software becomes more sophisticated, many older devices are not eligible for or able to be upgraded. In the case of this year's update, iPhones 6 and older will not be able to be updated with iOS 13.

Additionally, the 2013 edition of the iPad Air, the second and third generation of the iPad Mini, and all versions of the iPod Touch (barring the most recent production) are unable to be upgraded with iOS 13.

The 2013 iPad Air, 2 nd and third generation of the IPad Mini, and all versions of the iPod Touch except the newest one will have a similar fate.

The software update is currently under Beta review (testing). Some of the proposed changes in the software include the use of punctuation in Voiceover. The proposed amendment will allow Voiceover users to set their punctuation levels to reflect read all punctuation, most punction, some punction, or no punctuation. An additional update in iOS 13 would allow Voiceover to provide better and more accurate feedback when taking photographs. Not only will the device tell a user if there are faces in the shot, but how many faces and where they are in the frame. It will also indicate if the user is tilting the phone when taking a photograph. 

Another significant update currently under review is the ability for Voiceover to skip reading Emojis. Currently, there is no way to turn off the reading of Emojis, and the update will allow users to skip having this item read to them. 

The iOS 13 upgrade is still over a month away, and many of the proposed feature enhancements are subject to change. There is also time for Apple to include additional features not yet mentioned here. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Welcome to the MD-LBPH Blog

Welcome to our new blog!

Contributed by Ashley Biggs, Outreach Librarian


In an effort to bring timely and relevant information about library services and community happenings to our patrons, the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has launched a blog.

Here, you will find posts written by our amazing staff highlighting new collection achievements, long-term projects, events, technology reviews, and more. You will also find articles shared with us from partner organizations like the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, the Maryland Chapter of the American Diabetes Association, and public libraries across Maryland.

We welcome comments and discussion on this blog, too!

Have a post idea? Share it with us: