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Are you ready to begin your recording career?

Volunteers are needed to read books and magazines. Click here to download the application.

The Talking Books Service of the State Library of Kansas is seeking volunteers who are interested in recording written material for the visually and physically impaired. Anyone with a clear speaking voice is encouraged to apply.

Prospective readers must audition in our recording studio. The audition is recorded, and it will include a test for pronunciation with brief excerpts from books and magazines. The test will take about 15 minutes to complete.

The audition is a "cold" reading. Although good sight-reading skills are essential, any other preparation is minimal. Your test will be evaluated for the following characteristics:

  • Correct pronunciation
  • Diction that is clear, distinct, and understandable
  • Reading with a smooth flow, free from disturbances and hesitations
  • Expressiveness without exaggeration
  • Relaxed speech; not stilted
  • Reading at a pace that is easy to follow
  • A manner that compels listeners to continue with the book/magazine

Your audition will be evaluated, and you will be notified regarding the results as soon as possible. If you do not pass the audition on your first attempt, you may re-take the test at a later date.

The Director of Talking Books determines the selection of reading material. Assignments are based on the volunteer's interests, reading skills, schedule, and by the needs of the program. You will not be asked to read anything that is personally offensive to you. Most reading material is furnished by Talking Books.

Qualified readers will be required to commit to the completion of an assignment. Recording dates are scheduled by appointment only. Most reading sessions will be limited to less than one hour at a time. You may schedule recording times as often as you like, be it once a week or daily. The Talking Books library is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on holidays.

The Talking Books Regional Library and recording studio is located on the lower level of the Memorial Union on the Emporia State University campus. Our location is accessible by stairs or elevator. You may contact Talking Books by telephone at 800-362-0699 (toll-free within Kansas) or 620-341-6280.

What are talking books?
The Talking Book Service of the State Library of Kansas is in association with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Anyone who is unable to use standard printed materials because of a visual or physical disability is eligible for the service. Disabilities may be due to blindness, partial vision, the inability to hold a book, turn a page, or any other condition that precludes reading standard printing materials.

Recorded books, magazines, and playback equipment are provided at no charge. All books and equipment remain the property of the federal government, but loaned for as long as needed to qualified patrons.

Talking Books encompass a wide variety of subjects. Recorded books in the collection included these topics:

  • Adventure stories
  • Animals, wildlife
  • Bestsellers
  • Bible, religion
  • Biographies
  • Business, economics
  • Children's fiction
  • Children's non-fiction
  • Classic novels
  • Computers
  • Cooking, homemaking
  • Drama
  • Family stories
  • Fantasy
  • Folklore
  • Gardening
  • Gothic novels
  • Government, politics
  • Health
  • Historical fiction
  • History - United States
  • History - world
  • Humor
  • Music appreciation
  • Mysteries
  • Nature
  • Occult, supernatural
  • Philosophy
  • Poetry
  • Psychology, self-help
  • Romance
  • Science
  • Science fiction
  • Short stories
  • Sports
  • Spy stories
  • Stage, screen
  • Suspense stories
  • Travel
  • War, war stories
  • Westerns

Special projects include the recording of children's literature, such as the annual nominees for the William Allen White Children's Book Award, Kansas Notable Books selections, as well as books and magazines about the history of Kansas. Talking Books also records several quarterly newsletters for various organizations.

Applications to become a reader for Talking Books, including applications for the Talking Books service, can be obtained by contacting:

State Library of Kansas
Talking Books Service
1200 Commercial Street, Box 4055
Emporia, KS  66801-5087

Telephone: 620-341-6280
Toll free: 800-362-0699

|     Last modified: Oct 23, 2013