Four Track Cassette Tapes Out, Digital Flash Drives In

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October 1, 2010 marked the end of the production of four track cassettes for the State Library's Talking Book Services (TBS) patrons. Diminishing guaranteed availability of supplies has forced this cessation of audiobook production on cassette. Now first-time produced National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) audiobooks will be available only on flash memory cartridges and online. The inventory of over 57,000 NLS titles on cassette will continue to be available. Cassette production of NLS magazines will continue until further notice.

This past April, the NLS, a division of the Library of Congress, entered the first phase of its transition to a digital playback system, as well as releasing an upgraded version of its pilot download website. The State Library's Talking Books Services has been working with patrons statewide on this transition from cassette to digital players with great success.

Students from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind have dedicated a piece of artwork to the Library of Congress titled Rest in Pieces. The artwork consists of decommissioned cassettes and mailing containers on a background of Braille paper. The vividly colored canvass hangs proudly as a permanent piece of art in the State Library's Talking Book Services Student Art Gallery.

The gallery will have its third installation unveiling on October 27, 2010 at 11:30 am -- 1:00 pm. Attendees can view this and other new pieces of art from blind and visually impaired students from all over the state of South Carolina.

For more information about the State Library's Talking Book Services, visit www.statelibrary.sc.gov/Talking-Book-Services or contact Pamela Davenport at 803-734-8650 or pdavenport@statelibrary.sc.gov.