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.

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May 31

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Summer 2023

Posted on May 31, 2023 at 9:50 AM by Michael Lang

From the Director’s Desk

School’s out and summer is here! 

Our staff are hard at work creating themed reading lists and weekly activities for our Summer Reading Program. We are very excited for the addition of NLS programs to this year’s lineup of activities (keep reading for those details). 

I want to commend Maggie Witte, Lead Reader Advisor and Outreach Librarian, for her work on this annual program. In addition to organizing our local program, Maggie coordinates a summer library reading program working group of talking book and braille librarians from across the country and is the Midlands Region representative on the NLS Summer Reading Committee.  

As a result of her hard work, Maggie is a finalist for the 2023 KLAS Users’ Julie Klauber award. KLAS is our library software that contains our patron, equipment, and catalog records. The award recognizes a staff member or volunteer at a KLAS library who works with KLAS in their daily job functions, has demonstrated outstanding service to their organization and / or their community during their time with the library, and will appreciate and benefit from attending the KLAS Users' Conference. Congratulations to Maggie! 

Enjoy the warm weather, sign up for summer reading, and read on!

Michael Lang, Director


Kansas Talking Books Updates

All Together Now: Summer Reading 2023

Unite over our shared love of reading with our All Together Now Summer Reading program beginning May 29. All registered patrons are automatically entered in a weekly drawing for a $10 Walmart gift card. Participants who return their reading logs showing that 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 for a $50 Walmart gift card.

Unite in a love of reading, grab a book, and get ready for wonderful and exciting summer reading program with book recommendations each week and fun activities designed for patrons to build relationships with family, friends, and community so they can “All Together Now” spread a little kindness this summer and beyond.

Book lists and activities will be posted to our websiteFacebook, and Twitter feeds. Check them out each week for summer reading updates!

Register now by calling us at 1-800-362-0699, emailing, or filling out our online form at and join the fun!

Virtual Book Club, June 8th 

Unite with other Kansas Talking Books patrons in reading DB 107924 Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. It’s a book about friendship, making it a great addition to book club and summer reading. Additionally, as part of their summer reading program, NLS is hosting a virtual event with the author Shelby Van Pelt. Learn more about the book in advance by participating in our virtual book club.

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. 

For more information about our quarterly virtual book club, visit our book club webpage.


2023 Phone Book Club Dates & Books

September 13, 2023: DB 55748 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Annotation: The author of Isaac's Storm (DB 48811) traces the crimes of Dr. H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who preyed on young women during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair in the amazing landscape that architect Daniel H. Burnham created in a mere two years. Bestseller.

December 13, 2023: DB 22240 Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman

Annotation: A vigorous translation of the original story that inspired Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet. The story combines elements of fantasy and mysticism with overtones of Gothic horror. This new translation was an outgrowth of artist Maurice Sendak's design of sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's acclaimed 1981 production of "The Nutcracker."

New Braille Awareness Kit

KTB is excited to offer residents of Kansas an opportunity to check out our new Braille Awareness Kit. This kit is designed to raise children’s’ awareness of braille through hands-on experiences. Available for interlibrary loan for librarians or individuals to borrow for programs about braille, it contains slates and styluses, braille children’s books, activities, and more. Ask your local librarian about how to request the Braille Awareness Kit from the State Library of Kansas. Let’s get this braille kit out and spread awareness about braille and the important role it plays in communication and education for people who are blind and visually impaired.

Currency Readers

The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) partners with Talking Book libraries to distribute iBill® currency readers to residents that are blind or visually impaired. The iBill® is a small electronic device that can identify US paper currency and easily fits in your pocket, purse, or on a keychain. Kansas Talking Books subscribers can request a reader by contacting the library at 1-800-362-0699 or by email. More info can be found on the BEP website.


News from NLS

NLS All Together Now Summer Reading Program

NLS is launching their inaugural summer reading program for 2023. Through collaboration with talking book librarians, NLS is hosting a series of special virtual events for talking books library patrons of all ages nationwide. Events include a kickoff event, author talks, and a story time with music. These events will only be available live and will not be recorded. Registration is required. Check KTB’s summer reading webpage for more information about registering for NLS summer reading events.

Production Delays

NLS continues to experience book and magazine production delays that impact the timely upload of materials to BARD and the physical distribution of materials to patrons. The delays have been caused by ongoing problems with the new production and inventory control system that NLS began using last year. Producers are diligently working through the resulting backlog, with priority being given to new books added to the collection and bestsellers. We apologize for the impact these production delays are having on patrons, and assure you that NLS is working with all parties to reduce the backlog as quickly as possible.

Braille Calendars

NLS will soon have free braille calendars in both wall-sized and pocket-sized formats available for patrons. We expect the first calendars to be available in July. In future years, calendars will be released by January. Please reach out to Amanda, 620-341-6282, if you would like to subscribe to receive a calendar annually.

International Language Quarterly

Looking for the latest non-English language books? The publication formerly known as Foreign Language Quarterly is now International Language Quarterly. This reflects a broader change, as NLS has shifted its terminology to better represent its non-English language materials. “International” embraces the fact that languages other than English are not only spoken abroad, but also right here in the United States. In fact, the NLS collection includes books in Native American languages that predate the arrival of English. The latest issue of ILQ, available at, includes recently digitized books in Algonquian and Cherokee, as well as a wide selection of books in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and other languages.

NLS Upcoming Events

Many Faces of BARD: Advanced Search Tips from an Expert. Thursday, June 8 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Patron Corner. Monday, June 12 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

NLS Summer Reading Kickoff Monday, June 26 at 3:00 pm. Reserve your spot online.

Author Talk: Shelby Van Pelt, Remarkably Bright Creatures Thursday, June 29 at 6:00 pm. Reserve your spot online.

Story time and music: Turtle Dance Music (K-3rd grade): Thursday, July 6, at 6:00 pm. Reserve your spot online.

Author Talk: Celia Perez, The First Rule of Punk (middle grades): Tuesday, July 11, at 6:00 pm

Many Faces of BARD Thursday, July 13 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Author Talk: Annette Bay Pimentel and Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, All the Way to the Top: How One Girl's Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything (K-5th grade): Saturday, July 22, at 12:00 pm.

Author Talk: Kwame Alexander, The Crossover (YA and middle grades): Thursday, July 27, at 6:00 pm 

Author Talk: Jenny Torres Sanchez, We Are Not from Here (YA): Thursday, August 3, at 6:00 pm

Many Faces of BARD Thursday, August 10 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

To get the latest NLS news and programs updates directly to your inbox, 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’ Advisor Recommends: Dark Academia Fantasy

School’s out for the summer but these books will drag you back into worlds where students deal with magic and danger while focusing on their pursuit of knowledge. All these books are available on cartridge or with just a few clicks/taps on the BARD website or BARD Mobile app.

DB 100898 A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

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. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.

DB 93337 Vita Nostra by Julia Meitov Hersey

When teenager Sasha meets Farit, he convinces her to apply to the mysterious Institute of Special Technologies. The school has a strange curriculum and uses coercion to keep students in line, but it also unlocks special talents in students like Sasha. Translated from the original 2013 Russian. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

DB 97047 Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

After waking up in the hospital, Galaxy "Alex" Stern, sole survivor of a multiple homicide, is surprised to receive an acceptance to Yale University. The offer is contingent on her joining the Lethe secret society, which wants Alex for her ability to see ghosts. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

DB 107408 The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Every year, six uniquely talented magicians are selected to compete for initiation into the secretive Alexandrian Society. Libby, Nico, Reina, Parisa, Callum, and Tristan make up the latest group. The six must fight to survive and prove themselves the best to avoid elimination. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2022.

DB 92229 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

On Harry Potter's eleventh birthday, he learns that he is more than an unwanted orphan. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry recruits him because he has inherent magical abilities. As he purchases his school supplies--robes, wand, and messenger owl--Harry looks forward to attending his new boarding school. Commercial audiobook. For grades 4-7. 1997.

DB 110624 Babel by R. F. Kuang

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he'll enroll in Oxford University's prestigious Royal Institute of Translation-also known as Babel. Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working-the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars-has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire's quest for colonization. For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide. Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? -- Provided by publisher.  --  Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller.

DB 78312 Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Roommates Victor and Eli discover ways to generate superpowers within themselves as college seniors--and find their friendship fractured. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison. With his assistant Sydney, Victor hunts down Eli, who has decided to eliminate anyone else with extraordinary abilities. Violence and some strong language. 2013.

DB 95390 Magic for Liars by Sarah Galley

A gruesome murder is discovered at the Osthorne Academy for Young Mages, where private investigator Ivy Gamble's estranged twin sister teaches. Although she has no magic herself, Ivy is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. Contains some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

DB 72629 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

After scholar and witch Diana Bishop requests an alchemical manuscript from the depths of Oxford's Bodleian Library, she finds the magical power within the leather cover disturbing and hastily sends it back. But the book's reemergence causes a chain reaction through the paranormal community. Descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2011.

DB 97441 The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Graduate student Zachary discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks that contains stories of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, nameless acolytes, and a story about an incident from his own childhood. The book sets him on a course of adventure that leads to a hidden library. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

DB 69579 The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Bored with life, Quentin Coldwater spends his time reading fantasy and dreaming of the mythical realm of Fillory. But after being transported off the street to the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, Quentin realizes that real sorcery isn't easy. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller.  2009.


Expanded Audio Described Movie Collection

We have added several new descriptive audio DVDs to our collection. Descriptive audio is a form of narration used to provide information surrounding key visual elements in a movie. To order movies call Nataly at 620-341-6283.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - DVD00203 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - DVD00211

7 Days in Entebbe - DVD00215

The Incredible Hulk - DVD00217

Public Enemies - DVD00218



Harriet - DVD00205

Cinderella Man - DVD00209

The Passion of the Christ - DVD00212

Bombshell - DVD00219

Eat Pray Love - DVD00222



Evan Almighty – DVD00229



Armageddon Time – DVD00228


Kids & Family 

Shrek - DVD00206

The Addams Family 2 - DVD00213 

Puss In Boots - DVD00216

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish - DVD00223 

Coco - DVD00224 



All My Life - DVD00210

Emma - DVD00221

West Side Story - DVD00226 

I Feel Pretty - DVD00227



Dreamland - DVD00204

Beirut - DVD00208 

Marlowe - DVD00220

Infidel - DVD00225 



A Private War - DVD00207 

Devotion - DVD00214 


A full list of movies can be found in our online catalog.


Upcoming State and Postal Holidays

Monday, July 4: Independence Day

Monday, September 5: Labor Day


Contact Information for Kansas Talking Books 

1 Kellogg Circle, Box 4055 

Emporia, KS 66801 

Toll-Free phone: 1-800-362-0699 




Monday – Friday 

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m



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