Kansas Talking Books Week highlights Braille, specialized library services

TOPEKA –Each spring, the Kansas Talking Books Service dedicates a week to highlighting the program’s progress and innovation in its mission of ensuring that all may read. The service, a division of the State Library of Kansas, operates with the support of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, providing services and support to qualified Kansans with a print disability.

For 2023, Kansas Talking Books Week will be held March 6th through 10th. Activities for the week include a webinar, highlighting the many Braille resources and services offered to eligible patrons including downloadable books, book clubs, reading challenges, and more.

“Our readers’ advisors assist patrons in personalizing their library services by maintaining and adjusting their author, series, and subject reading preferences and exclusions so patrons get the books and magazines they want or need,” said Maggie Witte, Outreach Librarian and Lead Reader’s Advisor said. “Patrons can request the reading materials they want and make the decisions on what and how they receive them so that it is a custom, personalized experience in library services.”

Far more than a repository for accessible materials, the Talking Books program is housed on the campus of Emporia State University. Kansas Talking Books has an on-site recording studio that allows volunteers and staff to record books and magazines of local interest and make them available in accessible formats for our readers.

More than 1,000 books, many about Kansas and by Kansas authors, have been produced by Kansas Talking Books and more than 500 are available for talking book patrons across the country via the BARD download service.

“Since 2005, through the support of an anonymous donor, we have been able to make the stories of Kansans available and accessible to print-disabled Kansas residents in the Gerald Kopp Studio. Many of these books aren’t considered for production on the national level, so it’s really important that we record as many as possible for our readers,” Director Michael Lang said.

Kansas Talking Books free library services are available to all Kansas residents with a qualifying print disability: blindness, low vision, physical impairment, or reading disability. Patrons can access over 120,000 books and subscribe to over 80 magazines.

Patrons, caregivers, and community members can find more information and the application for services online at kslib.info/talking. Those in the Emporia area can call 620-341-6280. Other regions in Kansas can call toll-free at 800-362-0699.

Talking Book Week programming and events, including registration, will be posted online at kslib.info/talking and on social media at https://www.facebook.com/kansas.talking.books.service.

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional