Sightlines from Central Rappahannock Regional Library
Spring 2021
What’s New?
Central Rappahannock Regional Library resumed Library Express services starting Monday, March 1. For details on services and schedules, visit

Friday, March 5, 12:00-1:00: Access Services Librarian Babak Zarin will talk about Talking Books, BARD, and other accessibility services with Erin Creighton, Porter Branch Adult Services Department Head, as part of their Lunch & Learn series. The talk will be broadcasted over Facebook Live at A Facebook account is not required to watch.

Wednesday, March 10, 1:00-4:30: Access Services will join Talking Books Libraries throughout the state for a Virtual Resource Showcase for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Three panel sessions will discuss accessibility, life skills, and resources available from the library. Babak will be among the panelists for the session on accessibility. Access by clicking here or by calling 1-415-655-0003 and entering meeting number 180 764 0183 #

March 16-18: Babak will join his counterpart at the Virginia Beach Public Library, Disability Services Librarian Kaitlyn Hodges, to present on common inaccessibility issues in libraries at the virtual 2021 Southeast Collaborative Conference. The conference is presented through the collective efforts of the State Library of North Carolina, South Carolina State Library, Georgia Public Library Service, and Library of Virginia to offer innovative and useful online learning experiences for library staff.
At long last, CRRL’s IdeaSpace has opened! Located at 1616 Princess Anne Street Suite B in Fredericksburg, IdeaSpace features a recording studio, 3D printers, a laser cutter, and other high-tech equipment. Coming soon, CRRL card holders will be able to check out video cameras, drawing tablets, audio equipment, and lighting for one-week periods. Due to limited capacity, appointments are required. Customers can make appointments for brief tours, badging on equipment, and equipment use by badged customers.

This project was made possible due to the generous support of the Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority, the Fredericksburg Cable Commission, and the Duff McDuff Green, Jr. Fund of The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region.

At IdeaSpace, customers are able to interact with Pepper, the humanoid robot who joined CRRL in 2019 to continue the library's initiatives making technology accessible and fun.
Pepper was made possible in partnership with the Friends of the Library, and by generous donations from Platinum Level sponsors University of Mary Washington and In Memory of Farzin Sadeghi; and Gold Level sponsor Germanna Community College.
Reading Challenges
The Winter Reading Challenge runs through March 31. Talking Books members with CRRL library cards are welcome to participate, as all Talking Books read between December 21 and March 31 count as part of the challenge. If you live in CRRL’s service area or a county with which we have a reciprocal borrowing agreement and do not have a library card, you can apply at Your library card barcode will be emailed to you and your physical card will be mailed to you. Participants who read at least 5 books will receive a special Winter Reading Challenge Mug as a reward. Learn more about the challenge at

In addition, CRRL has opened a 2021 Reading Challenge! The challenge is to read 100 books over the course of a year, and can be logged through the same system as the Winter Reading Challenge. More information can be found at
Virtual Memory Cafe
CRRL’s popular Memory Cafe program for those with dementia and their caregivers, will be held Friday, March 12, 10:30-12:00. Join the webinar by visiting or by calling +1 916-318-8516‬ and entering PIN ‪905 879 496#‬
2020 National Conference of Librarians Who Serve Blind and Print Disabled Individuals
Every two years the National Library Service (NLS) of the Library of Congress holds a conference for Talking Book libraries. This year’s conference, the first to be held virtually, was themed Access, Discovery, Engagement and went into great detail about NLS’s plans for the next several years.

NLS itself is currently undergoing a modernization process. This includes restructuring to help NLS work more smoothly, as well as a large technology update that will incorporate cloud technology to make the collection easier to manage. These changes will mostly happen behind the scenes, with Talking Books readers gaining benefits as they are completed.

Perhaps of greater importance--and excitement!--is that NLS is developing a host of new Talking Books players. This includes two eBraille readers, developed with help from Zoomax and Humanware, as well as a smartphone player that will allow users to access both BARD and Talking Books wirelessly on the same device. These are expected to be available within the next 2-3 years, and will be circulated much the same as current players are. To assist in the adoption of these players, NLS is planning a host of surveys and field tests to see how current (and future) Talking Books readers might use them. There are also rumors they might offer data plans for those in areas where wireless internet access is difficult, but NLS was quick to say they don’t have any immediate plans to do that yet, while also reassuring librarians that there is no plan to stop delivery by mail anytime soon.

Finally, NLS continues to work to increase access to the collection. While the conference had updates from every NLS division on how they’re doing this, there were two big highlights. First, NLS has begun adding international titles in keeping with the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. These new books will begin with the prefix DBG, and will be worth checking out! Second, NLS is revisiting who can certify enrollees with print or reading disabilities for Talking Books, to make it easier for people to sign up.

As you can see, it was a very eventful conference, and we were really happy to be able to attend! The next conference will be held in 2022.
COVID-19 Updates
Contributed by Erin Creighton, Porter Branch Adult Services Department Head; Joy O'Toole, Howell Branch Adult Services Programmer; and Babak Zarin, Access Services and Talking Books Librarian.

COVID-19 has grown into a global pandemic, with millions suffering and dying worldwide. It took most of 2020 for doctors around the world to develop a vaccine, and many others treated those who fell sick. Yet information for people with assistive or adaptive needs remains limited, while the need to learn more about the virus and the vaccine remains high. What follows is a list of places information can be found.
Note: If you believe you may have contracted COVID-19, please call your doctor to see if you should seek medical help. If you are told to stay at home, immediately isolate yourself from others, including your household, and do not share beds, towels, cups, or kitchen utensils with anyone.
Local, State, and Federal Government
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considered the most authoritative source of information on COVID-19. They list additional precautions that those with disabilities may want to take until they are vaccinated, which can be viewed here. Those who are Deaf may also want to visit this playlist the CDC established of informational videos in American Sign Language (ASL). Topics include 10 Things You Can Do to Manage COVID-19 at Home and What Older Adults Need to Know about COVID-19.
The Virginia Department of Health is also tracking and providing information about COVID-19. Mary Washington Hospital has established information pages both about COVID-19 in general (available here) and how to be tested for it (available here). The Rappahannock Area Health Department has also provided similar information here.

Independent Agencies
The National Federation of the Blind is providing up-to-date information for subscribers to its free audio news service, NFB-Newsline. You can learn more about NFB-Newsline, including how to apply and access it via phone, email, app, AI, or portable
player, here or calling 866-504-7300. The American Foundation for the Blind is also providing a list of resources and blog postings related to COVID-19 here.

For those who are Deaf, the National Deaf Center, the Helen Keller Center for the Deaf and Blind, and the National Association of the Deaf have all posted information online about COVID-19 and how to prepare for hospital visits. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. has also set up a Facebook page with information on a hotline in ASL here.

Vaccination Information
Several of the agencies listed above provide information about the vaccine. The Rappahannock Area Health District provides information about its phases and an overall timeline of the vaccination rollout here. Mary Washington Hospital provides vaccine information, fact sheets, and registration forms here.

The Free Lance-Star publishes articles with a regional focus on COVID-19 regularly. Their coverage is available under the Coronavirus Covid-19 tag, gathered here. Some articles may require a newspaper subscription to be viewed.

For more information, including copies of specific subscription-only newspaper articles, contact the library at or by phone at 540-372-1144 during Library Express hours. Please be aware that CRRL provides general information only, not personal medical advice. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
Talking Book Group
We’ll be reading Wish You Well by David Baldacci (DB 96188).

Wish You Well follows Louisa “Lou” Mae Cardinal and her younger brother Oz, who in 1940 move from New York to southwest Virginia following the death of their father. Now living with their great-grandmother, who is herself locked in battles against corporations seeking her land, Lou and Oz find mountain life hard work, but slowly grow to love it. Drawn somewhat on reminiscences of his own family, Baldacci’s Wish You Well is a rich historical fiction from a well-known author, and has been well received by readers.

We will be meeting virtually during lunch as a Book Group for those who want to discuss the book. We will be using Google Meet, which has been recommended by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is considered an accessible platform. The Virtual Sightlines Book Group will be held on Thursday, April 15, 11:30-12:30. Join the webinar by visiting or by calling +1-512-518-5575‬ and entering PIN ‪597 056 854#‬
Best Sellers
Fiction Bestsellers
  • It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman (DB98254)
  • The Heap by Sean Adams (DB98446)
  • Devil in Tartan by Julia London (DB97874)
  • Older Brother by Mahir Guven (DB98377)
  • The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada (DB98224)
Nonfiction Bestsellers
  • The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown (DB98450)
  • Broadway to Main Street: How Show Tunes Enchanted America by Laurence Maslon (DB97400)
  • Yale Needs Women: How the First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant by Anne Gardiner Perkins (DB98445) 
  • Trooper: The Bobcat Who Came in from the Wild by Forrest Bryant Johnson (DB97704)
  • The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World by Peter Frankopan (DB97669)
Holidays and Next Sightlines
Our department will be closed on April 4 for Easter. The next Sightlines will come out mid-April 2021.
Contact Us

For book reservations, to share a review, or for more information, contact Access Services Librarian Babak Zarin at 540-372-1144 extension 7054; toll free at 1-800-628-4807, or email
Please share this information with those who you feel may benefit.

If you receive Sightlines on a cartridge, please return the cartridge after listening to Sightlines.
Inspiring lifelong learning for everyone in our community.
Serving Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland, Virginia.