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  • 2023 Julie Klauber Award Finalists

    The text "Congrats 2023 Julie Klauber Award Finalists!" is written on a green background surrounded by gold star confetti.

    Congratulations to Kimberly Tomlinson, Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library, and Maggie Witte, Kansas State Library, Talking Books Service, our two finalists for the 2023 Julie Klauber Award!The text "Congrats 2023 Julie Klauber Award Finalists!" is written on a green background surrounded by gold star confetti.

    You have each made a significant impact on your library, patrons, and your community! We hope sharing selections from the nomination submitted for you lets both you and others see just how much work you have done and how your efforts inspire others.

    The selected recipient of this year's award will be honored during a ceremony held on Monday, July 17 in Nashville, TN as part of the 2023 KLAS Users' Conference.

    Nominee: Kimberly Tomlinson, Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library

    Nominated by: Zarina Mohd Shah, Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library

    What service(s) has the nominee done in the spirit of Julie Klauber?

    Kim's work with the Audio & Braille Literacy Enhancement (ABLE) is one of her outstanding achievements. ABLE is a nonprofit organization that works with WTBBL by brailling and recording Wisconsin authors, our "Bulletin Board" quarterly newsletter, DVD catalogs, Milwaukee Magazine, and more. ABLE also provides essential services to the visually impaired and print disabled in local communities, schools, and other institutions and individuals nationwide, including braille transcriptions, tactile representations of graphs, diagrams, pictures, and audio recordings, at an affordable cost.

    ABLE relies on donations and grants to offer services for the print-disabled. In writing local grant proposals, ABLE needs, for instance, KLAS Readership and Circulation statistics to add support for their services. Kim performs the crucial role of diligently gathering and delivering valuable data to ABLE, including the number of WTBBL patrons in each county, circulation numbers of a recorded local author from a specific county, and other interesting facts from the KLAS data (and NLS BARD) ABLE could work with.

    The number of local grants received with help from data compiled by Kim from KLAS makes it possible for ABLE to offer their services. ABLE appreciates Kim's important role in supporting their organization and mission that has a lasting impact on our print-disabled communities.

    How do they affect your library / community and / or the KLAS Users’ Community?

    Kim's knowledge and understanding of KLAS were invaluable in assisting WTBBL's successful migration to the new DOD system at the end of 2021. In hindsight, our work seemed seamless during that busy period. Kim's efforts were instrumental in helping WTBBL staff complete the migration smoothly. For example, Kim trained staff to modify and update patron's records in preparation for DOD and for patrons to pick up their books in the new format. Kim's guidance helped us complete the migration smoothly. WTBBL staff appreciated the new system and shared the knowledge of the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the new DOD system with patrons. For instance, there are no longer due dates for digital audiobooks. WTBBL did our best with Kim's guidance and sealed our expectations of her as our KLAS Guru.

    Nominee: Maggie Witte, Kansas State Library Talking Books Service

    Nominated by: Michael Lang, Kansas State Library Talking Books Service 

    What service(s) has the nominee done in the spirit of Julie Klauber?

    Recently, Maggie has coordinated and led the network LBPD summer library reading program working group. The group allows library staff to share ideas for accessible summer reading programs. I don’t know if others agree, but I feel that NLS’s new commitment to providing resources to support summer reading is a direct result of this working group. Maggie is also an active member of the NLS summer reading committee.

    This year she created a circulating braille awareness kit. The kit, filled with braille books, games, and activities, will introduce sighted children to the braille alphabet and teach them the importance of braille for readers.

    Last year Maggie partnered with the Wamego Public library to provide braille overlay labels for their StoryWalk. Since then she has provided braille for four more Storywalks and plans to continue this project with WPL and hopefully expand to other libraries. She continues to lead virtual monthly and a quarterly book discussion groups and provides excellent individual service to our users.

    How do they affect your library / community and / or the KLAS Users’ Community?

    The summer reading resources shared from the working group and the increased support of NLS promise to create a much more robust and accessible summer reading program for talking book users nationwide and allow for libraries with fewer resources to provide a wonderful program.

    With her programs, she creates a community of patrons across Kansas, who share many commonalities, but due to distance may never had met if not for Maggie.

    She continues to advocate for and raise awareness of the accessibility needs of print disabled through activities like the StoryWalk, braille kit, and presentations at professional conferences.

    Overall, she provides empathetic friendly service to our patrons, working hard to find solutions that fit their needs.

  • 2023 Julie Klauber Award Info

    Screenshot of the Julie Klabuer Award winners page from klas.com.

    The Julie Klauber Award is one way we at Keystone Systems recognize the invaluable support that volunteers and staff provide to their organizations and their patrons. Each organization may nominate one staff member or volunteer using the Julie Klauber Award Nomination form. The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 5.

    Who was Julie Klauber?

    Julie Klauber was a national expert and leader on disability issues and was instrumental in helping develop Keystone's growing national presence. In 2012, Julie received the ASCLA Francis Joseph Campbell Award recognizing her work advancing library services for patrons who are blind and print disabled. Julie served as the director of the Talking Books Plus Library in Suffolk, County, NY and authored several articles on library resources and services for people with disabilities. Additionally, she created and maintained the newsletter Disability Resources Monthly and the corresponding website www.disabilityresources.org. Julie passed away on September 3, 2002 after a long, brave struggle with cancer.

    A word about Julie Klauber from her former coworker:

    Valerie Lewis sent the below email to the KLASUsers listserv on January 24, 2011:

    It has been more than eight years since Julie passed away. Her name comes up every day.....truly, it does. I work with 5 other people who worked with Julie for many years. I sit in the office that was once hers. Her husband and sons are often in my home. I work with her husband Avery, to continue the important work that she and he started many years before I was lucky enough to meet them.

    Julie was a librarian, but more she was the truest advocate for access to library programs, services and materials for all, particularly people with disabilities.

    In addition to being the librarian for the sub-regional library that served Long Island, NY, Julie and her husband established a non-profit organization that provided information and referral resources for librarians, service providers and individuals living with disabilities.......long before and into the earlier days....of the internet.

    Julie spent truly all of her time making sure that people with disabilities had access to information.....all information. She created partnerships with local and national corporations that brought assistive technology to local libraries. She created library resources in alternative formats and worked with libraries and librarians across the country, to promote accessible library services.

    It has been my honor to be a member of the Julie Klauber Award Committee. It has given me the opportunity to read about lbph staff and volunteers who create new and innovative ways of making library materials, services and programs accessible to their patrons. Something still so difficult to do, even in these technologically advanced times.

    You may think that the daily practices and procedures of operating a library for the blind and physically disabled are hum-drum and nothing out of the ordinary, but think again. It is through the work and creativity of each and every member or your organization, that people with disabilities have access to information....something we treasure so dearly and take so for granted.

    On that note, we encourage you to think about how the wheels of your organization turn and who are the people turning it.

    With warm regards,

    Valerie Lewis, Director
    Long Island Talking Book Library

    Who can be nominated for the Julie Klauber Award?

    Each KLAS library or organization may nominate one staff member or volunteer who: 

    • Works with KLAS in their daily job functions.
    • Has demonstrated outstanding service to their organization and / or their community in the spirit of Julie Klauber during their time with the library.
    • Will appreciate and benefit from attending the KLAS Users' Conference.

    Please use the Julie Klauber Award Nomination Form to submit your nominee's info before the Friday, May 5 nomination deadline.

    What does the award recipient receive and how are they selected?

    The selected Julie Klauber Award Recipient receives a trip1 to the 2023 KLAS Users' Conference to be held in Nashville, TN July 17-20 and will be honored as part of an award ceremony held Monday, July 17 including receiving a personalized plaque to commemorate their achievement.

    Award finalists will be selected from all nominated individuals by the Julie Klauber Award committee2. James Burts, CEO of Keystone Systems, will then determine the 2023 recipient after consulting with all the finalists' supervisors.

    Biographies of previous Julie Klauber Award Recipients are available at the Julie Klauber Award Winners page.

    2 2023 Julie Klauber Award Committee Members include:

    • Chandra Thornton, Palm Beach County Library System, 2016 Julie Klauber Award Recipient
    • Teresa Kalber, Colorado Talking Book Library, 2011 Julie Klauber Award Recipient
    • Lisa Nelson, Utah State Library Program for the Blind and Disabled
    • Kimberly Tomlinson, Wisconsin Talking Book and Braille Library
    • Pepper Watson, Oklahoma Library for the Blind, Accessible Instructional Materials Center
    • Erin Pawlus, Arizona Talking Book Library
    • Andrea Ewing Callicutt, Keystone Systems, Inc.
  • From the Desk of the President

    A gold and black "President" title placard sits on a cherry wood desk in front of a telephone and computer.

    When I began my job at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) in March of 2022, I understood that being Managing Librarian would include, among other things, being the KLAS Administrator. I had been an ILS administrator in the past, but this was for systems where being the "administrator" really just meant you were the one with the most knowledge about the system (which meant, well, not a lot), the one to make the helpdesk calls, and the one to be the vendor's point of contact for the annual payment and the up-sells. For KLAS, being an administrator means taking on a much more active role in understanding and promoting the ILS’s functionality, reporting, and finding solutions for staff and patrons.

    As a member of the KLAS Users' Group Officers, I've gained significant insight into how things work, and can work, and am truly excited about attending the KLAS Users' Conference 2023: A Perfect Tenn next week—where I know I'll learn even more. And, as you’ve likely seen from the conference schedule, you don’t have to be an administrator to find lots of sessions that will help you in your particular job. I’m looking forward to an in-person conference (my second since 2019) and to see KLAS folks face-to-face who I bother an inordinate number of times each week (you know who you are!)

    In the next few days, you’ll have a number of opportunities to engage with Keystone, other NLS Network and IRC Library staff. I hope you’ll take these opportunities!

    Attend the Conference (July 17-20, 2023):

    There’s still time to sign up, especially if you plan to attend virtually: https://klasusers.com/klas-uc2023

    Attend Thursday's KLAS Users' Group Business Meeting & General Sessions via Zoom (free to all):

    Thursday, July 20 Agenda(All times are Central Standard Time):

    • 11:15 AM - KLAS Users' Group Business Meeting
    • 12:00 PM - Answering Your Parking Lot Questions
    • 12:40 PM - Reconsidering Circulation - Based on circulation statistics gathered from a number of libraries, Keystone's Mitake Burts will present a birds-eye-view of changes to circulation patterns across the network of NLS libraries and open a discussion on where the circulation may be heading next
    • 1:25 PM - Conference Closing Remarks

    Thursday, July 20 Zoom Meeting Info:

    Read the proposed changes to the KLAS Users’ Group Bylaws:

    We’ll be voting whether to accept these changes at the Business Meeting:

    Become a KLAS Users’ Group Officer:

    We will be seeking nominations for Secretary during our annual business meeting on Thursday, July 20. The Secretary’s role is defined and the election process outlined in KLAS Users’ Group Bylaws, Article VI. Officers. Come join the Users’ Group Officers!

    I look forward to seeing you next week in person or virtually. Thanks so much for being such an engaged group!

    Traci Timmons, President, KLAS Users’ Group

  • KLAS Conference: A Perfect Tenn!

    A fried bologna sandwich with a bag of Lay’s potato chips, a PBR, & a Moon Pie strongly recommended by Michael Lang. Available at Robert’s Western World for the low price of six bucks.

    A guest blog post by Lee Anne Hooley, Worcester Talking Book Library

    July 17th-20th brought the opportunity for me to attend the KLAS conference that was held at the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville. This is my second in person conference since my career in the Talking Book world began back in 2018. The hybrid option is a fantastic option as well, but to me, there is nothing quite like coming together and learning.

    Many of the sessions employed a hands-on approach to it. For instance, “Care and Feeding of your Scribe.” I learned quite a bit on how to take things apart as needed, as well as the general anatomy of them. In addition to learning how to swap out parts, I was able to get some feedback and ideas from other colleagues on how to better utilize the barcode scanners.

    Two other sessions “Defining, Saving, and Sharing Queries” and “Exploring the WebOPAC,” featured worksheets. As much as I thought my school days were long over, it was really fun and challenging to not only have an assignment to help me improve me queries, but also it was great to be able to demo and add feedback to the new patron facing end of the WebOPAC. Having Katy and Nancy there and in person to answer questions when I got stuck or just to offer feedback and ideas was priceless.

    Of course, my favorite part of coming together was the sense of community we get from coming together. We’re in the process of starting up our recording studio program, and sitting at the bar every night (for a truly great happy hour, by the way) gave me ideas and lots of folks to contact when I have questions. Sometimes it can feel isolating being a talking book librarian as most of the folks who can relate are scattered around the country. Being able to sit at a table and casually ask questions or trade stories in a casual environment is so valuable.

    Last but not least, the amount of hilarity and inside jokes. Librarians are great people, and this group is no exception. From the Recession Special to Chandra’s future Grammy winning career to banana pudding everywhere to wayward goose alerts and parting shopping tips on how to get good deals on designer handbags, I laughed a lot with some fantastic folks and Maureen has all the selfies to prove it. Many thanks to the fine folks at Keystone for bringing us together. Can’t wait for to take on Indianapolis.

  • KLAS UC 2023 Pre-conference Planning Survey

    Screen shot of KLAS UC 2023 Pre-Conference Survey description.

  • KLAS UC2023 Conference Info

    Image simulating a green chalkboard, with KLAS UC 2023 in large text beside a venn diagram showing the intersections between Users, KLAS, and Keystone. An arrow points from the diagram to the words A Perfect Tenn. In the corners are drawings of a globe, book, notebook, and laptop.

    Greetings, KLAS Users!

    The 2023 KLAS Users' Conference will be a hybrid event held July 17-20 at the Tennessee School for the Blind and on the Zoom Events Platform. On this page you will find all the details you need to plan your attendance including online platform links, agenda, hotel, and in-person session locations, and more!

    Zoom Events Details:

    1. KLAS UC2023 on Zoom Events
    2. Each conference attendee must have their own Zoom account AND log into the conference lobby with your Zoom account credentials. 
    3. For info on navigating the online conference lobby, check out our Video Tour of 2023 KLAS Users' Conference on Zoom Events.
    4. As conference presentations are being finalized, we're linking PDFs of each into Zoom Events.
    5. All sessions prior to 12:30 PM Central Time are in-person only,

    Resources for Online & In-Person Attendees:

    Conference Agenda:

    Below is the latest version of the 2023 KLAS Users' Conference Agenda which includes planned presenter names as well as session titles and descriptions.

    Conference Presentations & Handouts:

    Thursday General Sessions

    Any and all KLAS Users are invited to attend Thursday's KLAS Users' Group Business Meeting & General Sessions via Zoom (free to all):
    Thursday, July 20 Agenda (All times are Central Standard Time):

    • 11:30 AM - KLAS Users' Group Business Meeting
    • 12:00 PM - Answering Your Parking Lot Questions
    • 12:40 PM - Reconsidering Circulation 
    • 1:25 PM - Conference Closing Remarks

    KLAS Users' Group Meeting Resources:

    Thursday General Sessions Recording:

    In-Person Conference Resources:

    Conference Hotel:

    Nashville Element Airport
    Address: 2825 Elm Hill Pike, Nashville, TN 37214
    Phone: (615) 894-9791

    There is a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Upon arrival at the airport, please call the hotel to arrange to be picked up. Also, Monday's 3:30-5:30 PM General Session will be in the hotel's meeting room.

    Monday Evening's Reception Location:

    Monell's at the Manor
    Address: 1400 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37217
    Phone: (615) 365-1414

    Tuesday-Wednesday Sessions Location:

    Tennessee School for the Blind
    Address: 115 Stewarts Ferry Pike, Nashville, TN 37214
    Phone: (615) 231-7300

    Upon arrival each morning, you will need to sign-in with security at the front desk of the school.

    Thursday Afternoon Country Music Hall of Fame Excursion:

    For those who plan to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame, we've pre-purchased tickets for a 3:00 PM admission time on Thursday. Please bring a check or cash in the amount of $27.95 to the conference to cover the cost of your individual ticket.

    KLAS UC2023 Google Map

    The below map lists places of import, businesses nearby the conference hotel that might be useful to attendees, restaurant near the hotel, and restaurants recommended by staff of the Tennessee Resource Center for the Visually Impaired.


  • KLAS UC2023: Top 5 Reasons to Attend In-Person

    Artwork of the Nashville skyline with a stamp-type border and labeling. Greetings From Tennesse is written large over the buildings, and a guitar leans against the side of the image.
    Guest Blog post by Michael Lang, Kansas Talking Books, KLAS Users' Group Past President, KLAS Programming Committee Member

    It’s happening; the first in-person KLAS conference since 2019! I am looking forward to traveling to Nashville this summer for A Perfect Tenn: KLAS UC2023 and I hope to see many of you there. We know not everyone can travel and are happy to be able to offer an online option for those who can’t. But if you’re sitting on the fence about which one to choose, I’m here to offer a gentle nudge toward the face-to-face option with my top five reasons to attend the UC2023 in person.

    1. Hands On Sessions: Have you checked out the proposed schedule for this conference yet? Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each start with a two-hour hands-on training block that is only available on site. I’ve been to an in-person training with Keystone staff and can guarantee you’ll walk away with something new.
    2. Meet Keystone Staff: Speaking of staff, getting to know the Keystone staff and drilling down into the nitty gritty of KLAS with them is a fantastic learning opportunity.
    3. Spark New Ideas: I always come back from a conference ready to implement big changes. From my recent experience, that list hasn’t been as long with online conferences. The conversational nature of an in-person conference seems to inspire more ideas than the online format, where I find myself drawn away from my computer screen to take care of day-to-day tasks.
    4. Networking: Meet your peers from across the country. Learn how they do things. Find new ways to use KLAS. Get recruited for a committee. Enjoy the opening reception with great food and entertainment! I’m really excited to tour the Tennessee School for the Blind and learn about the services they provide to their students.
    5. Share Your Expertise: This one is a cheat. You can share your knowledge with the KLAS Users’ Group in either format. Whichever you choose, we want to hear from you. You can help make this an extraordinary learning experience by sharing your expertise and creativity with colleagues from other organizations and libraries! Submit your proposals on the KLAS Users’ website.

    Whether attending in person or online, early-bird registration closes on April 30. Make your plans soon to save some money. Visit the registration page for details.

  • Tour of the Virtual Conference Venue

    Screenshot of a video player. The initial frame is the KLAS UC2023 promo image.

    Are you excited for the 2023 KLAS Users' Conference? We sure are!

    While we're grateful that we get to hang out with some of you in-person, we also want our online attendees to have a great conference experience. To help get you oriented, here's a short video tour of the Zoom Events platform:

    While we hope this platform will be easy-to-use for everyone, please do let us know if you have any questions or issues. Ready to try it out? Log in any time to start building your personal agenda, filling in your profile, and making connections!


  • Upcoming Training & Networking Opportunities

    Colorful game board pieces stand on a map of lines connecting them.

    Hoping to learn something new or touch base with Keystone staff? We've got some great training and networking opportunities on the calendar, with more in the works! Let's take a look at what we have coming up:Colorful game board pieces stand on a map of lines connecting them.

    Online KLAS LBPD Administrator Training - March 27-30

    The next online session of KLAS Administrator training for staff of Libraries for the Blind and Print Disabled will be held the afternoons of March 27-30. If you act as the KLAS Admin for your library and have never taken (or it's been a long while since you've attended) KLAS Admin Training, we encourage you to join us!

    This training is done via Zoom, sessions are recorded and provided to attendees for later review, and allows you to get down and dirty in parts of KLAS aimed to help you improve service for your patrons and give you the knowledge to better support your staff and library as they use KLAS. Cost is $600 / attendee and each must have the authority to change records and policies for their KLAS system.

    Find out more and then register for a session via these articles:

    E-Braille Circulation Roundtable - Date TBD

    During the year of a KLAS Users' Conference, the Program Committee focuses their efforts on eliciting sessions for and building the agenda for the conference, instead of offering an online program every month. However, we still aim to host one webinar each quarter (other than the one in which the conference takes place) to address more timely concerns and help keep everyone in-touch and up-to-date. 

    For our first quarter offering this year, we're seeking panelists for a Roundtable discussing the best ways to prepare for the NLS refreshable braille devices and manage E-Braille circulation. The session will be scheduled based on panelist availability.

    If you want to participate, please contact our session organizers, James Gleason at Perkins Library and Katy Patrick at Keystone Systems. We'd also love to hear what questions you might have, topics you want to see discussed, or tips you have to share!

    National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Regional Conferences

    We're excited to have the opportunity to again attend NLS conferences in person to see and connect with you. Keystone will send two staff members to each of the three regional conferences this year. In addition to hosting the KLAS Users' Meetings, we hope to attend conference sessions, be available for informal discussions, and learn about your challenges, new initiatives, and more!

    Dates / times of each KLAS User meeting:

    • WesternRegional NLS Conference - Wednesday, April 26, at 5 PM
    • Northern / SouthernRegional NLS Conference - Wednesday, May 3, at 11:30 AM
    • Midlands Regional NLS Conference - Tuesday, May 16, at 2 PM (tentative; final schedule pending)

    2023 KLAS Users' Conference - July 17-20

    This one's a no-brainer, but you know we can't help it. This is the biggest opportunity we've had for in-person training and networking since our 2019 conference and it will offer even more ways to connect with other KLAS Users' since it's our first HYBRID conference! The KLAS Users' Program Committee and Keystone staff are working hard to plan learning experiences for all types and levels of KLAS Users.

    We hope you will help us make it excellent by joining us in-person or online, submitting an in-person or virtual session proposal, or sharing a session topic suggestion! 

    More conference info:

    We hope to see you soon at one of these training & networking opportunities! 

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