Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Youth Winter Reading Challenge!


Youth Winter Reading Challenge!

Teens jumping; youth services; book, events, and more...

Contributed by LaShawn Myles, Youth Services Librarian

From January 1st to January 31st, The Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled will participate in Beanstack’s Fourth Annual Winter Reading Challenge, “Books Like Us,” sponsored by Simon and Schuster (S&S). We challenge you, our patrons, to help us reach our *community goal* of at least *100,000* *minutes* during the month and keep track of your reading on our Beanstack site at Thousands of libraries and schools across the nation will encourage their communities to read a target number of minutes and books.

The “Books Like Us” collection encourages readers to share the moment when
they were able to connect with a character that reflected their own personal narrative. Seeing themselves reflected in a book had a powerful impact on their sense of self. Throughout the month of January, we encourage you to tell us about a book or character in a book that reflected your own personal narrative.

You can share and post your favorite books, or drop-in and read about how literature has connected with others. Share your experience by posting on our LBPD Padlet <> or tag us on your social

media channels @MDLBPD using the following hashtags: #WinterRead2021 and
#BooksLikeUs. We can do this! <>

Monday, December 28, 2020

FREE teleconference events at LBPD!

 FREE teleconference events at LBPD!

man holding a smart phone, speaking

Contributed by Ashley Biggs, Marketing and Outreach Librarian

LBPD is super excited to announce that UME and LBPD have again partnered to produce a year-long teleconference series! Here are some upcoming teleconferences! Register here:

January 12 - Saving for When 'Life Happens'

We all know 'life happens' and presents challenges along the way. Join Patricia Maynard and Crystal Terhune for a discussion about ways to prepare financially for the unexpected!

 February 9 - Health Insurance Smart Actions

I have health insurance, but am I getting the best value out of it? Health insurance is designed to protect both health and financial wellbeing. Join Dorothy Nuckols and Carrie Sorenson for 8 smart actions to get the most out of your health insurance.

 March 9 - Clarifying the Confusion about Different Cooking Oils

Coconut, olive, vegetable, sunflower oil--oh my! Confused about which type of oil to buy? Join Lisa McCoy to learn about the different types of cooking oils and how to select one that is healthy.

 April 13 - Freezing Foods for Freshness

Freezing is the easiest and quickest method to preserve fresh produce from your garden or local farmer’s market so you ‘savor their flavors’ year-round. Learn some quick tips with Jeanette Jeffrey to freeze fruits, vegetables, and proteins without the (freezer) burn!​

 May 11 - Know-How's of Anxiety

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Join Dhruti Patel and dive deeper into the physiology of anxiety. Discover why and how anxiety behavior is cultivated, and learn small steps you can take to manage your everyday anxiety. Remember, anxiety is not something your mind makes up. It happens in our physiological bodies too.​

June 8 - Food Recalls: What's Going on in the Food System?

Have you heard about the latest food recall in the news? If you have, do not panic. Join Dr. Shauna Henley to breakdown WHY a food is recalled and WHAT you can do if you have the food in your home. Not all food recalls are the same. Learn how to be safe, and get a refund for your product.​

 July 13 - OMG, GMOs!

GMOs or Genetically Modified Foods can quickly bring up many emotions for a person. Join the discussion with Dr. Shauna Henley about GMOs and their safety, how they are regulated, and what foods are GMOs or bioengineered foods. Come learn more about GMOs to help you make informed food decisions for you and your household.​

 August 10 - Sleep: the Third Pillar of Health

Not enough sleep has been linked to a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Learn some tips with Beverly Jackey that will help you 'count those sheep' and get some sleep!​

 September 14th  - That Takes Guts!

Did you know you have trillions of live bacteria in your gut? Join Dr. Mona Habibi and discover how to stand up against the bad bacteria by feeding the good bacteria with what you eat. Now that takes guts!​

 October 12 - Get Hooked on How Seafood Helps Your Heart

October is National Seafood Month. Take the plunge with Erin Jewell as she dives into how seafood plays a role in a healthy diet, particularly for your heart!​

 November 9 - "Un-Sugarcoating" the Truth about Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Awareness month, which reminds everyone to get their blood sugar and blood pressure tested, make an appointment for diabetes-related tests such as a dilated eye exam, dental check-up, and more! Join Cheryl Bush to discuss the best ways of preventing and managing diabetes for you or your loved ones.

 ​December 14 - An Apple a Day Keeps the Worries Away 

Diet changes cannot cure anxiety or stress; however, they may make a difference in your general mood which may help you handle stress and anxiety better. Join Beverly Jackey to learn what healthy strategies to follow and foods to watch to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress.​

University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected class.

If you need reasonable accommodations, please contact either of the following educators at least two weeks prior to the event. 

Erin Jewell:, 301-475-4485

​Beverly Jackey:, 410-996-8133​

It's going to be a great year! And a huge thank you to Erin and Beverly at the Office of Family and Consumer Sciences! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Books on Demand Update


Books on Demand Update

Contributed by Mary Ramos, Assistant Director

Digital Cartridge Cases with text overlay: Books on Deman


So what are customized cartridges? A customized cartridge is a digital book cartridge containing multiple books made especially for a specific patron. Imagine not having to wait until a copy of a book you wish to read becomes available at the Library. And wouldn’t it be lovely to read a series of books … in order! Each customized cartridge is downloaded based on a patron’s individual book requests and preferences.

Over the next year and a half, the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD) will gradually be moving all patrons to a new circulation system called Books on Demand (BOD). With Books on Demand, all of our patrons will receive customized, multi-book cartridges. We are very excited about this upcoming change as it means that we will be better able to serve our patrons with the books they want to read.

As the National Library Service (NLS) continues to look for new and improved ways of providing library service, all network libraries across the country will be converting to this new circulation system. The Maryland LBPD is currently conducting a patron pilot with close to 50 patrons to test and fine-tune our processes for downloading and circulating books through Books on Demand. The good news is that our patrons seem to be delighted with their customized cartridges. We think you will be, too!

If you wish to be among the first of our patrons to change to Books on Demand after our pilot project has concluded, please send an email to

Friday, December 4, 2020

Marylandia Update


Marylandia Collection: Update

Contributed by Jordan Farinelli, Collection Development Librarian

Marylandia Blog Post blog header

Friendship Fiction

DBC 05355 – The Journey Back, by Priscilla Cummings

Narrated by Janet Sanford

After breaking out of juvenile detention, fourteen-year-old Digger stops his trek across Maryland at a campground where he recovers from injuries, cares for little Luke, works with smart and pretty Nora, and begins to understand how his behavior and choices shape his life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Great Cookie Challenge is Now Open!

The Great Cookie Challenge is Now Open!

Text: The Great Cookie Challenge is Now Open. Vote Now. Image: Chocolate Chip cookie

Contributed by LaShawn Myles, Youth Services Librarian

Cookies are made and enjoyed all around the world.   Chunky, sweet, gooey, or just plain jane, there is a cookie for everyone.  

Join The Maryland Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD)  throughout the month of December to vote on the 2020 top cookie. 

Who can participate?  All ages are invited to participate in all challenges.

Ways to Participate  There will be several ways to participate.

Cookie Bracket Challenge

Starting today a cookie bracket will be released to vote for your favorite cookie.  

We are starting with 8 strong contenders that will battle it out until one is crowned the "Favorite". 

Simply cast your vote and follow The Great Cookie Challenge Bracket.   

Voting begins on December 1st.  Each week be sure to cast your vote within each oven to move your cookie to the #1 slot.  

The voting will take place as follows:
  • Round 1:    December 1- 7th
  • Semi-Finals:   December 8th -  14th
  • Finals:  December 15th - 21st 

"The Great Cookie" winner will be crowned on December 22nd. 

Social Media Challenge
Post and share your favorite cookie recipes, videos of you being "Martha Stewart" in the kitchen, or just fantastic pics of your favorite indulgence.  Then challenge your friends, family, coworkers, businesses, or even your worst enemy to post their favorite cookies too.    Be sure to tag us using the following social media handles. Use the following hashtag:  #LBPD2020Cookie

Instagram:  @MDLBPD

Twitter: @MDLBPD

Facebook: @MDLBPD

Check Out Books       
Throughout the month, check out some great reads all about... Cookies!   All age levels are included. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Tech Tips: Jaws and Audible Sync Now Compatible


Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

With the release of Jaws 2021, the nation’s most popular screen reader can now effectively interact with

Audible Sync. Audible Sync is a utility program used by Audible to download books to third-party

players, such as the Victor Reader Stream. Issues arose when Audible, an Amazon audiobook company,

switched its device manager software and left new customers scrambling to find useful solutions to

enable the application.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Guest Post: Meals on Wheels Grocery Assistance Program

Guest Post: Meals on Wheels Grocery Assistance Program

Meals on Wheels Logo

Contributed by: Jill Prevatt, Director, Marketing + Events at MOW, Central Maryland

The Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM) started 20 years ago to provide additional shopping assistance to homebound individuals who cannot shop for themselves. Participants are matched with a dedicated volunteer, and together they agree on a shopping schedule. The volunteer shops and delivers the needed items from the participant’s list. Strong bonds are often formed through months or years of the shopping partnership. 

Eric J. began volunteering with MOWCM as a meal packer in 2015. On his way out one day, he learned about the GAP program from a staff member and knew immediately he wanted to sign up as a volunteer! Since then, Eric has worked with several clients, including Sylvia B., a 66-year-old Home-Delivered Meal Program (HDMP), and GAP client that is currently living in Randallstown. Eric has come to know Sylvia well through the years, learning about each other’s families, stories, and preferences. In fact, Eric has her weekly shopping list memorized including cleaning supplies, sherbet, ginger ale, and no salt potato chips. 

On one occasion, Eric noticed that Sylvia was always buying new plastic tablecloths. In response, Eric decided to sew her a home-made fabric tablecloth that would last much longer. Another time, Eric worked with the HDMP team to surprise Sylvia by delivering her meals as well as groceries. It is these little More than a meal™ touches that mean so much to clients and volunteers alike and have truly solidified Eric and Sylvia’s bond. 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to increased demand for both HDMP and GAP services. Many individuals who were able to go to the grocery store in the past have now found themselves unexpectedly vulnerable and prefer to stay safe at home. Some older adults may now be isolated from family and friends who are no longer able to help with shopping. From January to August 2020, the program has served 471 total clients- an increase of more than 30% from all of 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GAP volunteers and clients have also made adjustments to their delivery routines, including quick drop-offs and social distancing. Prior to the onset of the virus, Sylvia enjoyed going to her local library. While she is currently not able to engage in the social activities that she loves, she “trusts that everything will be okay, especially with the support of my volunteer, Eric.”

Readers can learn more by visiting and following us on social media @mealsonwheelsmd.

Mark Jacobson grocery shopping.
Eric Jacobson shopping for the GAP program. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Podcast Review

Contributed by Taryn Tranby, Patron Services

Microphone on black blackground text says podcast review

If you’re a big goofball, married to a goofball, are dating a goofball, or are friends with a goofball, I’ve got another podcast for you! Even if you’re not a goofball or don’t know one nearby, you’ll probably enjoy the podcast: Wonderful! 

If you remember my podcast reviews of The Adventure Zone, you’ll recognize the name, Griffin McElroy! Wonderful! is a podcast where Griffin and his wife, Rachel McElroy, talk about things that they find truly wonderful! Sometimes the topics are little things, like tiny syrup bottles from Cracker Barrel. Some topics are larger, like the Society for Creative Anachronism. 

They start each episode with “small wonders” and things they’ve thought about recently for a short discussion. As they discuss, they move on to bigger wonders that they go more in-depth with, sometimes talking about the topic's history or how the said topic came to be. Another lovely detail of Wonderful! is Rachel’s “Poetry Corner” when she brings up a poem that resonated with her and reads it to listeners. The episodes are about an hour long and so fun to listen to while cooking or cleaning throughout the day. With shutdowns resuming, it’s nice to have some charming voices to keep you company while gushing about fun silly things that make them happy.

I’ve listed various wonders mentioned in Wonderful! and a few poets that Rachel reads works from below! 

Some recent episode small wonders:

  • Rachel ordering their Thanksgiving meals ahead of time.

  • Griffin’s adventures in discovering ASMR to help his sleep issues. 

  • Heating pads for aches and pains

  • Sea glass

  • Language development in children

  • Backgammon

Some recent larger wonders and topics discussed:

  • Flash mobs

  • Snake reproduction

  • Seafood boils

  • Fencing

  • LARP-ing (Live Action Roleplaying)

Poets Rachel has read from:

  • Jacqueline Woodson

  • Rita Dove

  • Louise Gl├╝ck

  • Michael Palmer

Wonderful! can be found on the Maximum Fun Network or wherever you get your podcasts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Marylandia Collection: Update for November


Marylandia Collection: Update

Contributed by Jordan Farinelli, Collection Development Librarian

Marylandia Blog Post blog header

However you choose to spend this Thanksgiving, be sure to incorporate some traditional Maryland recipes into the usual menu. Check out this title and discover that Maryland food is more than just crab cakes.


DBC 05306 – Dishing up Maryland: 150 Recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay, by Lucie L. Snodgrass

Narrated by Beth Bugnaski

From the Chesapeake to the Alleghenies, Maryland offers a rich diversity of native foods and traditions. Lucy L. Snodgrass’s compilation of 150 delicious recipes from the Old Line State’s most celebrated chefs will have you feasting on Corn and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Mint Dressing, Smith Island Cake, and – of course – crab cooked every which way. Add Southern favorites to your repertoire with recipes for fried chicken, boiled dressing, corn fritters, and strawberry shortcake with biscuits. Savor seasonal produce in fresh recipes for soups, salads, and side dishes, and learn how to clean and fry a soft-shell crab. It’s all here for your dining pleasure!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Tech Tips: Audio Text Messages Now Available with iOS 14



Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

How many times have you asked Siri (the voice assistant with iOS devices) to send a text message to someone and the text turns out to be flawed?  Now, instead of a written text message, you can ask Siri to send an audio text message.  Siri will record about 90 seconds of speech.  Pausing for two seconds will prompt Siri to ask you if you wish to send the message.  Siri will even play back audio text messages that are sent to you.  If the “Hey Siri” functionality is employed, the process can be done hands free.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Podcast Review: Rusty Quill


Podcast Review

Contributed by Taryn Tranby, Patron Services

Microphone on black blackground text says podcast review

There really is nothing like settling in to do some work and turning on a podcast to keep you company, especially when you’re teleworking during a pandemic. One of the things I miss most about the office is being able to spin around in my swivel chair and crack a truly terrible pun at my coworker behind me. Unfortunately, times have changed considerably and as an at-risk asthmatic, I’m only able to slightly turn at my dining table and test my jokes out on my cats.  Compare some sleepy kitten eyes slowly blinking at me to the raucous laughter of a well-timed joke. Definitely not the same response.

Enter: Rusty Quill Gaming, a podcast where five friends sit around a table and play a Pathfinder campaign. Much like another podcast review of “The Adventure Zone,” it’s a fun excuse for friends to be silly, roleplay various characters, and act out a story together. However, unlike The Adventure Zone, this podcast is clean and kid-friendly! Also unlike the Zone, these folks are English, so you can expect plenty of jokes about Brexit and Tory Britain that might soar over your little ones’ heads, yet can still provide you with some sensible chuckles! 

Join Ben Meredith, Bryn Monroe, Alexander J Newell, Lydia Nicholas, and James Ross for the prologue and first season of Rusty Quill Gaming where they adventure around 19th century London, Paris, and Prague. While I won’t spoil anything, there are certainly more places they’ll visit together!
Ben Meredith plays an aggressive, no-nonsense, trident-wielding Dwarven Cleric that has hinted at the experience with piracy on the high seas. Bryn Monroe plays a reserved and personable Egyptian halfling sorcerer and son of a wealthy banking family based in Cairo. Lydia Nicholas plays a socially awkward human rogue named Sasha Rackett with a pessimistic outlook that can be traced to her rougher upbringing. James Ross plays Sir Bertrand (Bertie) MacGuffingham, a boisterous, pompous, wealthy human fighter that might be struggling under a mountain of magical debt. Alexander Newell is the dungeon master of this particular game, and he has no qualms about causing more problems for the players or killing off characters. 

Rusty Quill Gaming can be found on Itunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Marylandia Collection: Update


Marylandia Collection: Update

Contributed by Jordan Farinelli, Collection Development Librarian

Marylandia Blog Post blog header

October brings chilly temperatures and sinister stories. Check out this title and settle in for a cozy mystery that will have you guessing, “What next?”

Mystery and Detective Stories

DBC 05354 – Killing Thyme, by Peter Abresch

Narrated by Barbara Anderson

Senior citizen James P. Dandy and his friend, Dodee Swisher, do not expect their second trip to a Baltimore, Maryland, Elderhostel cooking class to be filled with the murder and mayhem of their previous bonsai class, but they find they are quite wrong when chefs start dying all around them.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Director's Corner: Our New Name!


Director's Corner: Library Update, Our New Name

Talking book player with book on a table

To all of our patrons, caregivers, and stakeholders,

Today is the official day that our library becomes the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD).  We have put aside the phrase "physically handicapped" so that we can better reflect the people and communities we serve in a more inclusive way.   Our new name aligns with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled ( and with the Marrakesh Treaty's language (  Our commitment to excellent and creative customer service continues. 

You will notice that the address of this email is different: (the old email address will no longer be used)

Also, direct access to our library catalog is now at  If you have our catalog directly bookmarked, please update your bookmarks.  You can also access it from the Library Catalog link on our website.

If you had this page bookmarked, you'll need to update the bookmark.  You can still get to this website by typing the shorter into your browser.  It is the old URL for now and continues to redirect.

Here's a reminder of our other communication tools:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing


Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

No need to panic, but the Alexa app from Amazon is going through some modifications.  First of all, the app now has a “hands-free” mode so that your personal assistant can assist you at all times.  You will also find the Alexa button at the top of the screen rather than at the bottom.  Secondly, the app itself is easier to navigate and places your favorite activities at the top.

These alterations will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, so if your device has not upgraded yet, it will.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Tech Tips: Sports on Alexa and the Computer

 Tech Tips: Sports on Alexa and the Computer

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

This article will take a look at the four major professional sports:  MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.  Rather than look at the TV side of things, I will focus on radio play-by-play.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has an audio subscription by the month or season.  Once you go to and subscribe to Game Day Audio, you will have access via your smartphone (if you download the app) and your computer.  You can even connect the service to your Alexa device by using the Amazon Alexa app.  Monthly cost is $2.99; season cost is $19.99.

National Basketball Association (NBA) has an app as well; however, I find it much easier to sign up through the web ( rather than through the app.  Once you sign up for the Audio League Pass, then you can sign in on the app, stream on your computer, or connect to your Alexa device through the dedicated app.  Cost is $9.99 for the season.

National Football League (NFL) has an app and the price is $99.  The service known as Game Pass can also be streamed on your computer.  At the present time, the NFL is not available on Alexa.

National Hockey League (NHL) games stream free through the NHL app.  Games are also available through the TuneIn Live service (see NFL) or the TuneIn Premium service.  If you try to stream games by going to, you will be directed to TuneIn Premium.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Tech Tips: Dictation


 Tech Tips: Dictation

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist



Dictation is a convenient way to input your speech as text in an iOS device.  In order to use this utility, you must be certain that the feature is turned on.  If Siri is enabled, Dictation should be available for use.  If you do not use Siri, Dictation may be activated by going to Settings, General, Keyboard, and then making sure the switch for Dictation is turned on.


To use Dictation, you can go to any edit field.  Double-tap with one finger to activate the edit/virtual keyboard.  Double-tap with two fingers to start Dictation.  When finished with your soliloquy, double-tap again with two fingers.  If you are using Voiceover, your entered text will be read back to you.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Director's Corner: Our New Name!


Director's Corner: Library Update, Mail

Talking book player with book on a table

Contributed by John Owen, Director

Hello to all of our patrons, families, and partners,

On October 1, 2020, our library will change its name to the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD).  The name change is the result of legislation passed in the General Assembly earlier this year to help us better reflect the patrons we serve.  We'll be sharing more information about the name change in the month of October, but we wanted to let you know some of the changes that are in effect even now or over the next week.  

Facebook:  You can access our page at and use the handle @MDLBPD when referring to us.  This change has been made.

Twitter:  You can access our page at  and use the handle  @MDLBPD when referring to us.  This change has been made.

Blog:  You can access our blog at .  This change has been made. 

Listserv:  After October 1, messages from this listserv will be sent from

Website:  Continue to use to get the library's website.  While the main page URL for the website will change on or around October 1, the shorter URL will continue to redirect to that main page.

Contacting us by phone or email remains the same:
Phone at 410-230-2443

Our name is changing but our mission is still excellent customer service and creative services to our patrons. 

Thank you.
John Owen