CTBL News - Winter 2024

Winter 2024 - Volume 59, No. 1

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News from CTBL’s Studio Director – Tyler Kottmann

Recording Studio Gets a Long-awaited Refresh

You may be aware that CTBL has a 3-booth recording studio that —with the help of our fantastic volunteers — gives us the ability to produce audiobooks here at the library. The studio program has existed for decades, allowing for the addition of thousands of locally produced books to the audio collection. Much has changed in the studio over the years, but these booths have been fixtures since we moved into our current location on Sheridan Boulevard in 1991, and 2 of the 3 even longer. While they’ve served us well for the past 30+ years, we were fortunate to be able to upgrade to three brand-new recording booths this past summer.

Volunteers unpack the booth components for the first new recording booth, sorting the pieces into piles before assembly.

The JourneyUnpacked components for the new recording booths are stacked against the wall and sorted into piles on the floor of the CTBL studio.

While the physical work began in June, the journey toward our new booths began a few years ago with a generous donation from the estate of a longtime studio volunteer. This gift got us thinking that this substantial project may finally be achievable. After researching and consulting with folks within the NLS Network, we landed on a good replacement option. While the initial donation was a good start, additional funding was needed to complete the project. The Friends of CTBL generously approved the funds in October of 2022.

Volunteer assembles pieces of the recording booth.With funding in place, we worked with a company called Studiobricks to design the three custom sound booths, each featuring studio-grade acoustic treatment, high-quality sound isolation, and an ultra-quiet ventilation system.

After a months-long manufacturing and shipping process, the new booths arrived in late spring, showing up on 6 large pallets weighing a combined 3900 lbs.!

Work began on removing the old enclosures, and by July we were ready to assemble the new booths.

New Space

As part of this project, we also decided to relocate the studio to a more insulated space within the building. In the old space, we often dealt with external noise seeping into recordings as trucks rumbled by or the dumpster was emptied just outside the studio walls. So, we seized on this opportunity to move to a quieter overall space. The new booths are installed and have been up and running for a few months now. We’re thrilled with the new setup, getting better results than ever in our new production environment.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our volunteers, the Friends of CTBL, and so many patrons who help make projects like this possible. Thank you!
Pictured are two of the three completed booths in the new CTBL studio showing the exterior of the booths and the desks outside them with computers and audio monitoring equipment.

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FREE Telecommunications Equipment

For Eligible Individuals with Combined Hearing and Vision Loss

iCanConnect is a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) funded program, also referred to as the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP). iCanConnect provides free modern equipment and training for distance communication purposes to people with both significant vision and hearing loss, who meet disability and income guidelines.

iCanConnect is a nationwide program with local contacts to help people stay connected with friends, family, their community, and the world. Each U.S. state and territory has a certified organization that is responsible for the program, including the Perkins School for the Blind, which administers services in twenty-three states and territories.

People eligible for iCanConnect services receive a personalized assessment to identify solutions to support their distance communication needs. Then, participants are provided with equipment and training that meets their specific situation. Examples of equipment might include smartphones, tablets, computers or laptops, large print screen magnification software, and refreshable braille devices.

In Colorado, the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind is responsible for the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. Contact JoAnne Hirsch, joanne.hirsch@state.co.us, for any questions about applying for the program, or to request an application in English regular print or large print, or in braille, or available in print in Spanish or Portuguese.

For other inquiries about the program, you may also contact The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program(iCanConnect): Toll-Free: (800) 825-4595 or visit: https://www.icanconnect.org/

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Genre Fiction: Finding the Books You Like to Read

It Happened in the Library: Books About Books, Libraries, and Librarians

The Last Chance Library
Written by Freya Sampson
Narrated by Nathalie Pownall
Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the English village where she grew up. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother. Unrated. Fiction. Audio DB104941; Large Print PR031228

The Starless Sea
Written by Erin Morgenstern
Narrated by Dion Graham
Graduate student Zachary discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks that contains stories of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, nameless acolytes, and a story about an incident from his own childhood. The book sets him on a course of adventure that leads to a hidden library. Some violence. Fiction. Audio DB097441; Large Print PR029729

The Reading List Written by Sara Nisha Adams
Narrated by Sagar Arya
Teenage library worker Aleisha discovers a list of novels that she’s never heard of. Reading the books helps transport Aleisha from the painful realities at home. When widower Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list. Unrated. Fiction. Audio DB104434

The Lions of Fifth Avenue
Written by Fiona Davis
Narrated by Lisa Flanagan
1913. Laura Lyons has made a home for her family within the august walls of the New York Public Library thanks to her husband’s job. But her world is opened when she’s accepted to journalism school. Eighty years later, her granddaughter Sadie reckons with choices made. Some descriptions of sex, some strong language, and some violence. Fiction. Audio DB099608; Large Print PR030629

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From the Colorado Collection — Audio Books:

These newly recorded audio books were produced in the CTBL studios and feature Colorado authors and local history, as well as books of general interest.

Newly Recorded Fiction

A Perfect Eye
Author: Stephanie Kane
Narrator: Laura Hatch
Lily Sparks was born with keen visual powers. When the Denver Art Museum’s billionaire benefactor is murdered, the grisly tableau stuns her: it’s the human embodiment of the museum’s prized landscape by Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. Colorado Mystery. 2019. DBC13158

Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House. Jane Austen Mystery #6
Author: Stephanie Barron
Narrator: Cathy Gloeckner
Jane employs her wit and family ties to the Royal Navy in a case of murder on the high seas. Somewhere in the British port of Southampton—among a crew of colorful, eccentric, and fiercely individual souls—a killer has come ashore. Jane must help her brother solve the murder. Historical Mystery. 2001. DBC25801

Jane and the Ghosts of Netley. Jane Austen Mystery #7
Author: Stephanie Barron
Narrator: Cathy Gloeckner
When Regency novelist and amateur sleuth Jane Austen is sent by Lord Trowbridge to Netley Abbey to retrieve a parcel hidden among the ruins, she gets more than she had bargained for when she also stumbles upon a dying man. Historical Mystery. 2003. DBC13099

Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy. Jane Austen Mystery #8
Author: Stephanie Barron
Narrator: Cathy Gloeckner
In July 1809, Jane Austen finds solace in her grief over her lost love, Lord Harold Trowbridge, in a new cottage in Chawton, Hampshire. However, her peace of mind is fleeting when the corpse of a murder victim is found in the cellar. Historical Mystery. 2005. DBC13100

King Coal
Author: Upton Sinclair
Narrator: Stephanie Briggs
A man determined to find the truth for himself about miner’s working conditions, gets a job in a mine operated by the General Fuel Company. He befriends many of the workers and learns about their misery and abhorrent exploitation. Thus begins the tale of unionization and the advocacy for workers’ rights. Political Fiction. 1917. DBC03091

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco. Book Club Mystery #1
Author: Laura A. H. DiSilverio
Narrator: Stacey Donaldson
Amy-Faye loves her idyllic town of Heaven, Colorado. Her event-planning business is thriving and her book club, the Readaholics, is great. But things feel a little less heavenly when she agrees to plan a wedding—and the groom is her ex-boyfriend. Then one of the Readaholics dies under mysterious circumstances. Colorado Mystery. 2015. DBC03252

The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle. Book Club Mystery #2
Author: Laura A. H. DiSilverio
Narrator: Margo Goodwin
As Amy-Faye is planning the grand opening of her brother Derek’s pub, his partner is murdered. To keep Derek from being a suspect, the Readaholics take a page from Poirot and investigate. But as the clues lead to unlikely places, Amy-Faye and her pals wonder if truth can be just as strange as fiction. Colorado Mystery. 2015. DBC13164

Unmentionable Murders. Ranger McIntyre Mystery #1
Author: James C. Work
Narrator: Mark Hintz
Park Ranger McIntyre’s usual duties do not include murder, but two bodies have been found wearing only underpants, and McIntyre keeps following clues until they lead him to a backcountry hut. He’s also drawn into an FBI investigation which is complicated by the fact that the agent’s secretary is the gorgeous Violet Coteau. Colorado Historical Mystery. 2018. DBC13135 (Also available in large print: PR029399)

Small Delightful Murders. Ranger McIntyre Mystery #2
Author: James C. Work
Narrator: Mark Hintz
Small Delights Lodge is under siege with shots being fired, arson, and finally murder. Park Ranger McIntyre has plenty of suspects, including the owner of another resort, a rogue ranger, and some mobsters who want Small Delights as a speakeasy. The only help McIntyre can depend on are two women and one gun. Colorado Historical Mystery. 2019. DBC13136 (Also available in large print: PR029753)

Whispering Pines. Langtry Sisters Series #1
Author: Scarlett Dunn
Narrator: Stephanie Briggs
As a young girl, Rose Langtry feared her gruff, handsome rancher neighbor, Morgan LeMasters. But when he comes to her rescue, Rose convinces him to agree to a marriage of convenience to keep her family farm from going under. Historical Romance. 2017. DBC13061 (Also available in large print: PR028245)

White Elephant
Author: Trish Harnetiaux
Narrator: Laura Hatch
A successful man and his wife race to keep secrets hidden when an object they used to commit a murder turns up as an anonymous gift at the holiday office party. Further adding to the drama is a snowstorm that closes nearby roads—preventing anyone from coming or going. Psychological Fiction. Strong language and some violence. 2019. DBC13198

Newly Recorded Nonfiction

Deafblind People and Support Service Providers in the 21st Century
Author: Paul Deeming
Narrator: Matthew Ballantine
Across the US, less than 1% of individuals who are deafblind have access to support service provider (SSP) programs; yet for those who do, a significantly improved quality of life is reported. This paper outlines how deafblind people can achieve increased self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and self-worth when they have access to these vital services. 2021. DBC25802

Polly Pry: The Woman Who Wrote the West
Author: Julia Bricklin
Narrator: Louise Lederhos
In 1900, Leonel Ross Campbell became the first female reporter to work for the Denver Post. She got her start not just writing the news—but inventing it. In spite of this, Campbell became a respected journalist and a champion for rights of the underserved: women, children, laborers, soldiers, and prisoners. 2018. DBC13111

John Fielder in Focus: Colorado Nature Photographer and Environmentalist
Author: Steve Walsh
Narrator: Visvaldis Jaunarajs
John Fielder was Colorado’s acclaimed nature photographer for 40 years. His early interest in the outdoors developed into devotion to the preservation of nature. This is a story about learning life lessons from both failures and successes, overcoming family losses, and working to make the world a better place. 2019. DBC13150

Dancing With Elephants: Mindfulness Training for Those Living With Dementia, Chronic Illness or an Aging Brain
Author: Jarem Sawatsky
Narrator: Andrea Loughry
When Sawatsky was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, he found there were no guides for those living with incurable illness. He quit his job and devoted his life to exploring how to live with chronic conditions. Includes interviews with chronic disease experts such as Patch Adams. 2017. DBC13093

Lynette’s Hope: The Witness of Lynette Katherine Hoppe’s Life and Death
Author: Luke A. Veronis
Narrator: Norine Domenico
Orthodox missionary Lynette Hoppe’s journals, newsletters, and website chronicled her struggles as she faced impending death. Close friend and fellow missionary Fr. Luke Veronis tells the story of how Lynette’s faith transformed the tragedy of a young mother’s untimely death into a powerful witness to the love of her Lord. 2008. DBC13090

The Queen of Denver: Louise Sneed Hill and the Emergence of Modern High Society
Author: Shelby Carr
Narrator: Karen Cranford
For more than four decades, Louise Sneed Hill ruled over Denver’s high society with her southern charm, societal tact, and passion for success. She used the press to sell her image, emphasize amusement, and aid in her mission to transform society from Victorian morality to unabashed fun. 2020. DBC13197

Remembering Lucile: A Virginia Family’s Rise from Slavery and a Legacy Forged a Mile High
Author: Polly E. Bugros McLean
Narrator: Lori Kinney
In 1918 Lucile Berkeley Buchanan Jones received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, becoming its first female African American graduate. McLean depicts the rise of the African American middle class through the journey of Lucile and her family from slavery in northern Virginia to life in the American West. Contains racial epithets. 2018. DBC13130

Need even more recommendations?
Talk to a CTBL Reader Advisor at 303-727-9277.

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Key to Book Numbers

Each book number is proceeded by two or three letters. These letters indicate the book’s format. Here’s a quick guide to help you get the book you want in the format that works best for you.
BR = braille book
DB = digital audio book
DBC = locally recorded digital audio book
PR = large print book

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Volunteer Service Honored

Every year the Friends of the Colorado Talking Book Library (aka the Friends) recognize volunteers for their service to the library. For the first time since 2019, the Friends held the annual volunteer brunch honoring the service of these wonderful individuals. Whether it’s for one year or twenty-five years, all CTBL volunteers make invaluable contributions to the library’s operations and mission of serving patrons who are blind and print disabled.

Bill WestTyler Kottman presenting Bill West with a diamond-shaped free-standing plaque

This year the honorees included longtime volunteer Bill West. During his 40 years of service to the library Bill has held three intertwining roles. Each role has grown stronger because of the relationship to the others. The 40-year milestone has rarely been reached by any volunteer at CTBL and is even more unique because Bill is the only person to have held all three roles: patron, board member, and volunteer.

Bill’s insight as an avid reader of talking books serves him—and the library—well. He always represents the blind patrons’ perspective in a balanced and open-minded way. For example, Bill’s willingness to give “Sighted Guide” training for CTBL staff and volunteers has allowed us to become better at providing support to the library’s patrons. He has a way of bringing out the best in others.

For 40 years, Bill has guided us with his warmth and logic to understand the needs of the visually impaired. His roles as patron, board member, and volunteer have combined to bring us a unique view of how we can serve our patrons and each other in a better way.

Other honorees at the brunch included the following volunteers all of whom have shared their time and expertise with the library.

5 Years of ServiceVolunteers, Norine and Hille, pose for camera after receiving their 15 years of service certificates
Roger Oram
Nancy Eckert
Susan Hooyenga
Glen Layfield
Pedro Bernal
Jim Ryder

10 Years of Service
Nancy Eakins
Kit Thomte
Thom Hanes

15 years of Service
Paul Fernandez
Norine Domenico
Hille Dais

20 Years of Service
Rich Urbanowski
Bill Urbanowski

Thanks to all the generous people who volunteer at CTBL!

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Contacting CTBL

Whether you need help with your account, want new books, or just moved, CTBL’s Reader Advisors can help.

Contact us by phone or email:
303-727-9277—metro Denver
1-800-685-2136—outside Denver

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Legacy Gifts

Legacy gifts to the Friends of CTBL are a vital way to ensure ongoing support for all the services the library provides to patrons. The Friends have established Eyes to the Future that honors and recognizes the generosity and vision of patrons, families and friends who have chosen to leave a legacy through their estates or other deferred gifts.

We invite you to become a member of Eyes to the Future. Enrollment in this honorary group is simply a matter of advising us about your plans to make a legacy gift, such as a bequest in a will or living trust, or designating The Friends of CTBL as beneficiary of an individual retirement plan, 401k or life insurance policy. The Friends of CTBL is a public 501(c)(3) charity and the tax ID is 23-7243950.

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Contributions to The Friends of the Colorado Talking Book Library and The Colorado Talking Book Library

An additional way to contribute to either the Friends or to CTBL is through a charitable bequest as part of a will or through life insurance. You do not have to rewrite your current document but can add a written amendment called a codicil. Such a bequest only becomes irrevocable at your death. Giving to the library helps support the programs and service we provide to our patrons and helps to secure the future.

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How to Reach Us:

Colorado Talking Book Library
180 Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, CO 80226

  • Susana Córdova, Commissioner of Education
  • Nicolle Davies, State Librarian
  • Nicolle Steffen, CTBL Director

Social Media: Facebook Logo

Logo for the Colorado State Library Logo for the Friends of CTBLLogo for the Institute for Museum and Library Services


The Colorado Department of Education does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age, in access to, employment in, or provision of any of CDE’s programs, benefits, or activities.

This newsletter was published with funding from the Friends of CTBL and was made possible in part by the institute of Museum and Library Services.

Design services provided by State of Colorado/Integrated Document Solutions

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CTBL will be closed on the following days in 2024:

  • February 15th
  • May 27th
  • June 19th

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