Sightlines from Central Rappahannock Regional Library
Winter 2021
What’s New at the Talking Books Library
After the eventfulness of summer, fall was a tad quieter for us at the Talking Books library. Babak is happy to report that the presentations he gave in October were well received. Having said that, there are still a few happenings!
Mail Delivery and Alternatives
The U.S. Postmaster announced that the Postal Service has made changes to their delivery schedule. First class mail can now take up to five days to be delivered instead of three. For those receiving Talking Book cartridges by mail, this shift also means it will probably take longer for you to receive the cartridges. 

We encourage you to call your local post office and speak with your mail carrier if you have questions or problems with your mail delivery. Those of you who have difficulties getting your mail from a mailbox on the street may also qualify for Hardship status, a Postal Service designation that instructs your deliverer to bring your mail to your door instead.

While we cannot change the Postal Service’s delivery timeframe, you do have options for getting your Talking Books more quickly, including:
  • Adjusting the number of books you get on a cartridge. You can receive up to eight books at one time and have fewer cartridges working their way through the mail to you.
  • Letting us know when you have mailed back a cartridge so that we can make and mail you fresh books more quickly
  • Scheduling a curbside appointment, where you can come and pick up your cartridges at 125 Olde Greenwich Drive, Suite 155, in Fredericksburg, VA
  • Asking us to send your Talking Book cartridges to the nearest CRRL branch for pick-up 
  • Asking us to send your Talking Book cartridges to the nearest Lobby Stop for pick-up, and
  • Enrolling in and using the BARD app to get your books delivered directly to your computer or smartphone

You can do all of these by emailing us at or calling Access Services Librarian Babak Zarin at (540) 372-1144, ext. 7054. Please let us know if you want the change to continue so that we can note it for your records. Unfortunately, we cannot make a direct delivery to your home due to concerns about staff safety and limited personnel.
You Can Dial Us Directly
We’ve heard that some of you have appreciated being able to call Babak directly at 1-800-628-4807! Babak promises to return any messages—which are saved to his phone and emailed to him—within a working day, during the Talking Books library’s hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
News From Our Partners: DBVI Celebrates 100th Anniversary
The Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired in Richmond, VA—which is also the location of the regional Talking Books library—recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. We’ve worked a lot with DBVI over the years, and we wish them all the best. Here’s to another excellent century!

And, here’s to a nice wind-up of 2021 and an excellent start to 2022!
News from Central Rappahannock Regional Library
The Virginia Deaf Culture Digital Library Has Launched
After a two-year collaboration with the Library of Virginia, CRRL is happy to announce the launch of the Virginia Deaf Culture Digital Library. You can check out the library at and feel free to let us know what you think of it! We hope that this resource will grow in popularity and help meet the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, both in our area and throughout the state.
Winter Reading
CRRL will once again be holding a Winter Reading Challenge from January 1 through March 31. Talking Books members with CRRL library cards are welcome to participate, and all Talking Books count for the challenge. If you don’t have a CRRL library card and live in CRRL’s service area or a county with which we have reciprocal borrowing, you can apply at Participants who read at least 5 books will receive a special Winter Reading Challenge mug as a reward. Pre-register for the challenge starting December 21 at

CRRL also runs an annual Reading Challenge where the goal is to read 100 books over the course of a year. Books read for the Winter Reading Challenge will also count for the 2022 Reading Challenge. More information can be found at Learn about the challenges’ accessibility features in this blog post.
Memory Café
The Talking Books staff join CRRL staff in offering a quarterly Memory Café for those with early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. This quarter, the Memory Café will be focused on the winter season and will be held virtually Friday, December 17 from 10:30 to 12:00. Get the connection information here.
Lunch and Learn
CRRL has developed a free, virtual class series called “Lunch and Learn,” where people can explore new ideas and interests during their lunch breaks. Classes are held Fridays, 12:00-1:00. You can join at No Facebook account needed. See the complete class list here.
Sightlines Book Group (was Talking Book Group)
The Sightlines Book Group will meet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month, from 5:30-6:30, starting in January of 2022. The meetings will continue to be hosted through Google Meets.

In January, we will be reading Anxious People, by New York Times Bestseller Frederik Backman (DB 100531). Viewing an apartment normally doesn't turn into a life-or-death situation, but this open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As police surround the premises and television channels start broadcasting, the eight strangers begin opening up. Before long, the robber must decide which is more terrifying: facing the police or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

We will be discussing this book virtually on Wednesday, January 19, from 5:30-6:30, using Google Meet, which has been recommended by the Commonwealth of Virginia and is considered an accessible platform. Click here to get connection information for the discussion.
In February, we will be reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson (DB 70760). Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother's death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more, but will their relationship survive in a society that considers Mrs. Ali a foreigner?

We will be discussing this book virtually on Wednesday, February 16, from 5:30-6:30, using Google Meet. Click here for connection information.
In March, we will be reading the New York Times bestseller, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, by Fannie Flagg (DB 7782). Mrs. Sookie Poole has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Then one day, Sookie discovers a shocking secret about her mother's past that calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

We will be discussing this book virtually on Wednesday, March 16, from 5:30-6:30, using Google Meet. Click here for connection information.
More Popular Talking Book Titles
Fiction Bestsellers
  • The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (DB 100856)
  • Royal by Danielle Steel (DB 100481)
  • Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (DB 100979)
  • The Return by Nicholas Sparks (DB 100846)
  • All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny (DB 100484)
Nonfiction Bestsellers
  • Everything Beautiful in Its Time by Jenna Bush Hager (DB 100952)
  • Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (DB 100452)
  • The House of Kennedy by James Patterson and Cynthia Fagen (DB 100060)
  • Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman (DB 100404)
  • Butch Cassidy: The True Story of an American Outlaw (DB 100403)
Annual Reminders
All Talking Book libraries run on an October-September calendar, so now that we’re in our new year, here are four things you can do to keep your Talking Books account in good shape:
  • Send back any old cartridges you have. This tells us you’re ready for new books and will keep your account active. Customers need to check out a book at least once a year to keep their accounts open. We promise to send you fresh books quickly after receiving your returned books.
  • If you have or use BARD but haven’t used it for a while, please log into your account. You need to log in at least once a year to keep that account active.
  • We keep records of your preferred authors and topics. You can update your preferences by calling Access Services Librarian Babak Zarin at (540) 372-1144, extension 7054, or by emailing
  • If you’ve changed addresses, want to switch to BARD only, or just want to put a temporary hold on books being sent to you, please tell us. We can do all of that and more!
Upcoming Holidays and Your Next Issue of Sightlines
Access Services will be closed November 25-26, December 24-25 and 31, and January 1. Our hours may vary around Thanksgiving and in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so please hold onto anything you want to read during that time!
The next Sightlines will come out mid-January 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.

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Inspiring lifelong learning for everyone in our community.
Serving Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland, Virginia.