Talking Books Talk

Talking Books Talk provides news and updates about the Kansas Talking Books Service (KTBS). Talking Books staff will highlight relevant announcements from KTBS and the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Questions: or 800-362-0699

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Mar 01

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Spring 2023

Posted on March 1, 2023 at 8:43 AM by Michael Lang

From the Director’s Desk

Braille is literacy. It’s a phrase that I often hear in workshops and at conferences; and it bears repeating. Braille is literacy.

The ability to read, write, and comprehend what is read is an essential skill for school and career success. With braille, individuals learn the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s a tool for greater independence. 

Through the NLS Braille Modernization initiative, our patrons now have access to more braille materials than ever before. The braille eReader, expanded ebraille collection, and braille on demand programs encourage braille usage among patrons to increase reading and literacy. 

For all these reasons, we are dedicating our 2023 Kansas Talking Books Week to braille! Check out the KTB Updates for all the details of our Braille at Your Fingertips celebration March 6-10.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at 620-341-6287 or email me to discuss them. 

Keep reading!

Michael Lang, Director

KTB Updates

Kansas Talking Books Week: Braille at Your Fingertips March 6-10

Join us next week for Kansas Talking Books Week and celebrate the amazing services available to KTB patrons that put Braille at Your Fingertips. 

We are hosting a webinar on Tuesday and book club on Wednesday; details on those below. Log on to our Facebook,  Twitter, or website for additional information and announcements throughout the week. 

Braille at Your Fingertips: Accessing braille with your KTB account– Webinar: Tuesday, March 7 at 10:00 am

During this webinar, Maggie and Michael will introduce participants to the many braille resources offered to eligible patrons including books, magazines, and electronic braille. It will be recorded and archived for later viewing. 

Join the webinar online:

Join by Phone: 1-253-205-0468
Meeting ID: 922 1485 1694

Virtual Book Club: March 8th BYOB

Bring Your Own Book to our upcoming Quarterly Virtual Book Club on Wednesday, March 8. Maggie and KTB readers from across the state would love to hear from you about the book(s) you’ve been reading. We welcome all KTB patrons to participate, regardless of whether you read something recently. This is a great opportunity to find new books.

Join our discussion at 12:00 p.m. If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please call Maggie at 620-341-6281 or email our office at

All Together Now: Summer Reading 2023

Unite in our love of reading with the All Together Now: Todos Juntos Ahora Summer Reading program beginning May 29th. Become friends with the characters, people, or books from each week’s themed recommended book lists and unite in spreading friendship and kindness by completing any of the weekly activities posted to our website, Facebook, and Twitter feeds.

Registrants are automatically entered in a weekly prize drawing. Participants who return their reading logs showing they met the minimum requirements (5 books for adults; 60 minutes read each week for youth) will be entered in a random selection grand prize drawing.

As part of summer reading, our virtual book club will tie in to the concepts of friendship and kindness as we read DB 107924 Remarkably bright creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Annotation: After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift cleaning at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

We’re very excited as, for the first time, NLS is developing summer reading programs for talking book and braille patrons nationwide. For more information or to register call us at 1-800-362-0699, email, or sign up online.

News from NLS

Spanish Language Website

El Servicio Nacional de Bibliotecas (National Library Service, NLS) ha creado una página web en español para que la gente de habla hispana tenga acceso a la gran y creciente colección de libros y revistas en español. Lectores con baja visión, ceguera, o discapacidad que prevenga el uso de materiales impresos regulares pueden encontrar información sobre NLS y aplicar para el servicio. La página también incluye varios recursos y materiales bibliotecarios en español fáciles de encontrar. Visítenos y compartan con sus lectores de habla hispana favoritos.

The National Library Service has launched a Spanish-language website to help connect Spanish speakers to a large and growing collection of Spanish books and magazines. Readers with low vision or blindness, or a disability that prevents them from using regular print materials can find information about NLS, apply for service, as well as find various resources and library materials in Spanish with ease. Take a look and share with your favorite Spanish-language readers.


New NLS Catalog

Finding your next great read is easier than ever with the new NLS Catalog search features! NLS Catalog boasts a new, clean design and advanced search functionality, direct links to BARD from catalog listings for quick downloads, and for the first time, patrons can directly request books to add to our collection! Patrons will also find links to contact a librarian and other resources to get the most out of NLS. Start exploring the catalog here:

Talking about Music: The NLS Music Notes Meeting

Want more music in your new year? In 2023, the NLS Music Section will start hosting a quarterly virtual event where patrons can learn in depth about selected music topics. The quarterly Music Notes Meeting will occur at 6:00 p.m. on April 25, July 25, and October 24.

Each hour-long Music Notes Meeting will begin with a pre-recorded conversation about a topic covered in the NLS Music Notes blog between the blog author and the Music Section Head. A live question-and-answer session with the blog author will follow.

The topic for April 25 is “Time Out for ‘Take Five.’” Music Section Head Juliette Appold will talk with Music Reader Services Librarian Brian McCurdy about this famous piece of music and its relevance to the NLS Music Collection. Read the original blog here. A link to the virtual platform will be announced closer to the event.

New Audio Magazines

Twenty-one new audio magazines are being added to the NLS collection this spring. Each of these magazines will be available on BARD or to subscribe to on cartridge by mail. Visit our blog for titles, descriptions, and subscription information. 

New Braille Magazine

NLS has added Better Homes and Gardens to its braille magazine collection. Available in hardcopy braille subscription and to download from BARD.

Description: A resource for home ideas, food and recipes for everyday and special occasions, and garden know-how.

NLS Upcoming Events

To get the latest news and updates from NLS directly to your inbox, including information on NLS programs and services, sign up for the NLS Patron Announce email list.  Send your name and email address to the Patron Engagement Section at You can unsubscribe yourself from the list at any time.


Readers’ Advisors Recommend: Braille Staff Picks

As we highlight braille services during Kansas Talking Books Week, we’ve gone back through the past year of staff picks to find books available either in digital braille via BARD or in hard copy or digital braille through Utah. Each title is marked whether it’s available on BARD or through Utah.

BR 22377 The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (digital braille)

Jude, seventeen and mortal, finds herself tangled in palace intrigues while trying to win a place in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, where she and her sisters have lived for a decade. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

BR 22610 The Wicked King by Holly Black (digital braille)

As seneschal to High King Cardan, Jude must fight to keep control of the Faerie throne while her younger brother, Oak, enjoys the childhood she never knew. Sequel to The Cruel Prince (BR 22377). Descriptions of sex and some violence. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

BR 22943 The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black (digital braille)

As the exiled Queen of Faerie, Jude travels back to Elfhame to help her twin sister, Taryn, break a dark curse that threatens the whole Faerie world. Sequel to The Wicked King (BR 22610). Descriptions of sex and some violence. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

BR 24103 Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Utah hardcopy)

Ryland Grace awakens on a spaceship far from Earth with no memory and two dead crewmates. As he begins to remember the details of his impossible mission to try to save humanity from an extinction-level threat, he encounters an unexpected ally. Some strong language. 2021.

BR 14247 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (Utah hardcopy)

In the year 2021 Rick Deckard is employed on a dying Earth as a bounty hunter. He seeks androids that look like humans and destroys them. Basis for the 1982 movie Blade Runner. 1968.

BR 13277 The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (digital braille)

Sequel to The Golden Compass (BR 13276). Lyra and her daemon are joined in Ci'gazze by twelve-year-old Will, who is searching for his long-lost explorer father. Will proves his mettle--losing two fingers in a fight--and now bears the magical Subtle Knife. Some violence. For junior and senior high readers. 1997.

BR 23937 My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones (digital braille)

In a quickly gentrifying rural town, tourists begin to die, and the tension between the community and the celebrity newcomers heads to a tipping point. Protected by her encyclopedic knowledge of horror films, Jade, of Blackfoot descent, hopes it is enough to help her survive. Violence and strong language. 2021.

BR 23320 The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (digital braille and Utah hardcopy)

As a case worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, Linus Baker spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. He is unexpectedly given a highly classified assignment: travel to a remote island orphanage where six dangerous children reside. Some strong language. 2020.

BR 21140 The Soul of an Octopus: A surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness by Sy Montgomery (Utah hardcopy)

Naturalist and documentary writer explores the world, intelligence, and consciousness of octopuses. Describes her interactions with captive giant Pacific octopuses named Athena, Octavia, Kali, and Karma at the New England Aquarium in Boston, and her field investigations in French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico. 2015

BR 24131 A Deadly Education: Lesson one of the Scholomance by Naomi Novik (digital braille)

Galadriel is a dark sorceress in training at the Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted. An outcast among the students, El must survive the dangerous institution, face hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, and deal with the insufferably heroic Orion Lake. Violence and some strong language. 2020.

BR 24116 A Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers (digital braille and Utah hardcopy)

Centuries ago, the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and disappeared into the wilderness. When Sibling Dex, a tea monk, meets Splendid Speckled Mosscap, a robot, they are the first person to encounter a robot in years. Dex and Mosscap travel through the woods together, engaging in philosophical conversation. Some strong language. 2021.

New Locally Produced Books

Check out our newly produced books recorded or converted by KTB.

DBC17294 Raising the Dead: A True Story of Death and Survival by Phillip Finch

On New Year's Day, 2005, David Shaw traveled halfway around the world on a journey that took him to a steep crater in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa, a site known as Bushman's Hole. His destination was nearly 900 feet below the water's surface. On January 8th he descended into the water. Don Shirley, Shaw's friend, was one of the few people in the world qualified to follow where Shaw was about to go. Twenty-five minutes later, one of the men was dead. The other was in mortal peril, and would spend the next 10 hours struggling to survive, existing literally from breath to breath. What happened that day is the stuff of nightmarish drama, but is also a compelling human story of friendship, heroism, ambition, and of coming to terms with loss and tragedy. Adult.


DBC17301 The Door in the Forest by Rod Townley

While trying to outwit the soldiers who are occupying their small town, fourteen-year-old Daniel, who cannot lie, and Emily, who discovers she has magical powers, are inexplicably drawn to a mysterious island in the heart of the forest where townsfolk have been warned never to go. For grades 4-7.


DBC17313 The Other Side of Silence by Bill Pronzini

On his third day in Death Valley, Rick Fallon comes upon a deserted Toyota Camry, and soon thereafter, the almost-dead body of Casey Dunbar. Having rescued her, Fallon soon learns what had driven her to give up on life--and, his own life on hold, he resolves to unravel the twisted and dangerous strands of hers, a quest that leads him to the glitter-dome of Las Vegas. Contains some violence and strong language.


DBC17314 Indians of Kansas: The Euro-American Invasion and Conquest of Indian Kansas by William E. Unrau

A concise and illustrated history of the state's first inhabitants, from prehistoric times through the 20th century. This book has been converted from Analog to Digital.


DBC17315 Soldier Girl by Lakin J. McMahon

Soldier Girl is the story of Lindy Harrison who at the age of five along with her mother leaves the McLeod family farm in Osawatomie, Kansas to join her father who is a white officer with the Buffalo Soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry Regiment. The story follows the character development of Lindy as she learns about fort life as the daughter of a white officer serving with Buffalo Soldiers in Kansas and Oklahoma at the beginning of the Indian Wars (1867-1875). Many of the officers including Colonel Benjamin Grierson founded the Ninth and Tenth regiments to prove African Americans were good soldiers in peacetime after the War Between the States. Lindy's support as she adjusts to becoming a soldier is her Grandpa McLeod who corresponds regularly with her and Sergeant Pick, a Buffalo Soldier assigned to the Tenth.


DBC17317 Ax by Donald Westlake

Burke Devore is a middle-aged manager at a paper company when the cost-cutting ax falls, and he is laid off. Eighteen months later and still unemployed, he puts a new spin on his job search -- with agonizing care, Devore finds the seven men in the surrounding area who could take the job that rightfully should be his, and systematically kills them. Transforming himself from mild-mannered middle manager to ruthless murderer, he discovers skills he never knew he had -- and that come to him far too easily.


Upcoming State and Postal Holidays Reminder

Monday, May 29th – Talking Books Closed, Postal Holiday (Memorial Day)

Tuesday, July 4th – Talking Books Closed, Postal Holiday (Independence Day)

Contact Information for Kansas Talking Books 

1 Kellogg Circle, Box 4055 

Emporia, KS 66801 


Toll free: 1-800-362-0699 




Monday – Friday 

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m


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