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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Aug 30

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Fall 2023

Posted on August 30, 2023 at 4:43 PM by Michael Lang

From the Director’s Desk

Summer is winding down and calendars are filling up with back-to-school events, fall sports, and community festivals!

At Kansas Talking Books, we are keeping very busy implementing our new strategic plan. Key goals of this plan include building relationships to help us reach new library patrons and creating opportunities to engage more with our current readers.

The first of these opportunities is our BARD promotional campaign, NovemBARD. If you’re a BARD user and want to share a testimonial about why you love BARD, please email it to or give us a call. Over the next year(s), you’ll be hearing about more ways to engage with and provide feedback to the talking books library.

As for reaching new patrons, endorsements from YOU (a satisfied user, grateful family member, or enthusiastic supporter) are always the best way to help pique someone’s interest in the library. We appreciate you spreading the word.  

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

Stay busy, be happy, and keep reading.  

Michael Lang, Director

KTB Updates

Wanted: Unused Talking Book Players

Do you have a talking book player at home collecting dust? Did you get a replacement player and forget to return your old one? Have you set aside your player and only use BARD? If you have any unused players in your possession, for any reason, we would like to have them back. Players can be returned at no cost using the “Free Matter For the Blind” postal designation. Find a box, drop the player in, tape it up, and address it to:

Kansas Talking Books

1 Kellogg Circle

Emporia, KS 66801


Or, we can send you an empty box for you to use. Just give us a call 1-800-362-0699 or email and we’ll get one on the way. Thank you!

All Together Now: Summer Reading 2023 Recap

Thank you for all those who participated in our All Together Now Summer Reading Program! We were so excited to have an increase in the overall number of participants. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate the enthusiastic response to the Quilt of Unity coloring blocks that were mailed out. Over half were returned. It was amazing. We’ve assembled the blocks and will display the quilt in Topeka at the State Library soon.

Congratulations to our two grand prize winners: Larry S. in Overland Park and Abigail M. in Manhattan.

Thank you to the Kansas Advisory Council for Talking Books services for their support and prize donations for summer reading.

We look forward to an awesome summer reading program next year and hope you’ll join us again!

Virtual Book Club, September 13th

Join Kansas Talking Book patrons from across the state on Wednesday, September 13th for an animated book discussion of DB 55748 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Discussion time is at 12:00 p.m. (noon). Call the office at 1-800-362-0699 or email to sign up.

Book description: The author of Isaac's Storm 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.

And mark your calendars for our final book club of 2023. On December 13 we’ll discuss DB 22240 Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffman

Changing Your Reading Preferences is Easy!

When you signed up for the talking books service, you might have elected to have the library select books for you based on your interests—specific authors such as Stephen King or Nora Roberts, or genres such as biography, science fiction, romance, or Westerns. But if you’ve found a new favorite author or want to explore a new genre, all you need to do is let one of our reader advisors know! You can ask for specific titles, too (or download them yourself from BARD). Contact us at 1-800-362-0699 or for assistance.

KTB Upcoming Events

September Events

Challenge Air. Saturday, Sept. 9th, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Charles B. Wheeler Airport, Kansas City, MO.


Quarterly Virtual Book Club. Wednesday, Sept. 13th, Noon.

Location: Online or by phone through Zoom.


Talking Books and More, Sept. 14th, 7 p.m.

Location: Iola Public Library, Iola.

Kansas Book Festival. Saturday, Sept. 16th, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Washburn University, Topeka.


Sunflower Fair. Tuesday, Sept. 19th, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Tony’s Pizza Events Center, Salina.


Manhattan Book Club (open to all patrons). Tuesday, Sept. 19th, 1 p.m.  

Location: Online or by telephone through Zoom.

Discussing DB 42074 Night by Elie Wiesel (only reading the first book)


DeafBlind Taste of Technology. Friday, Sept. 22nd, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: KU Edwards Campus, Overland Park.


Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging Fall Conference. Thursday, Sept. 28th, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Dodge City Senior Center, Dodge City


October Events

Manhattan Book Club (open to all patrons). Tuesday, Oct. 17th, 1 p.m.

Location: Online or by phone through Zoom.

Discussing DB 110801 The woman in the library by Sulari Gentill.


Flint Hills Senior Life Fair. Wednesday, Oct. 18th, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Anderson Building, Lyon County Fairgrounds, Emporia.


Wyandotte County Unified Government Health Fair. Thursday, Oct. 19th, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Location: Memorial Hall, Kansas City.


6th Annual Kansas Vision Symposium. Friday, Oct. 27th, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, Wichita.


November Events

NovemBARD. All month long. Stay tuned for more info.

Location: Online, KTB Facebook & Website.  


Kansas Library Association. Wednesday, Nov. 1st – Friday, Nov. 3rd

Location: Hyatt Regency Downtown, Wichita.


Kansas Optometric Association Fall Eyecare Conference. Saturday, Nov. 4th, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport, Wichita.


Manhattan Book Club (open to all patrons). Tuesday, Nov. 21st, 1 p.m.

Location: Online or by phone through Zoom.

Discussing DB 95581 From scratch: a memoir of love, Sicily, and finding home by Tembi Locke.

News from NLS

Accessibility Accessories from NLS

Did you know that qualified NLS patrons who are hard of hearing, as certified by an audiologist or physician, can request a high-volume digital talking-book machine (DTBM) and stereo headphones at no cost?

NLS also provides a breath switch compatible with talking book machines. It is intended for those who are unable to use the buttons on a DTBM. The USB breath switch provides control of all functions of the DTBM using sip-and-puff actions. It comes with a shirt clip, removable mouth tube, and inline moisture filter.

To request a high-volume DTBM or breath switch, or to learn more, contact Kansas Talking Books at 1-800-362-0699 or

Braille CDC Covid-19 Guides 

NLS has braille editions of five CDC publications about COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know
  • Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19: Improving Ventilation in Your Home
  • Get Treatment for COVID-19
  • Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19
  • Stay Safe from Respiratory Illnesses

They are available by request through Kansas Talking Books.

NLS Music Notes: Time Out for “Take Five”

Join NLS on Zoom on Tuesday, October 24, at 6:00 p.m. for “Time Out for ‘Take Five’,” the first quarterly NLS Music Notes meeting! Music Section Head Juliette Appold and Music Reader Services Librarian Brian McCurdy will discuss the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” and its relevance to the NLS Music collection. A Q&A will follow. 

You can read Brian’s 2020 blog post on “Take Five” on the NLS Music Notes Blog. Meeting information and zoom links can be found on the NLS website.


NLS Upcoming Events

Many Faces of BARD: Using Your Braille Display to Read Braille BARD Books on Your iPhone. Thursday, September 14 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

Patron Corner: Job Hunting: Dos, Don’ts, Whys and Why Nots. Monday, September 11 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Many Faces of BARD Thursday, October 12 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

NLS Music Notes: Time Out for Take Five. Tuesday, October 24 at 6:00 p.m.

Many Faces of BARD Thursday, November 9 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’ Advisors Recommend: Boozy Books

Explore the science and history of spirits, wine, and beer with this refreshing non-fiction list.

DB 61242 A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage

Annotation: Author of The Victorian Internet (DB 47958) explores the historical impact of six beverages. Documents the role of beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt, wine in Greece and Rome, spirits in colonial times, coffee in the Age of Reason, tea in Britain, and Coca-Cola in America. 2005.

DB 82515 The Book of Gin: A spirited world history from alchemists’ stills and colonial outposts to gin palaces, bathtub gin, and artisanal cocktails by Richard Barnett

Annotation: Historian examines the history of the distilled juniper-berry-based spirit. Discusses its development, from medical cures of ancient Roman and other European cultures, social class wars over it in the eighteenth century, and its revival in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries as an artisanal drink. Commercial audiobook. 2011.

DB 101431 The Drunken Botanist: The plants that create the world’s great drinks by Amy Stewart

Annotation: Horticulturalist examines the many plants used over the centuries and throughout the world to create intoxicating beverages. Discusses fermenting, distilling, suffusing, and growing plants for mixers and garnishes. Includes more than fifty drink recipes. Commercial audiobook. 2013.

DB 109831 Doctors and Distillers: The remarkable history of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails by Camper English

Annotation: Alcohol and Medicine have an inextricably intertwined history, with innovations in each altering the path of the other. The story stretches back to ancient times, when beer and wine were used to provide nutrition and hydration, and were employed as solvents for healing botanicals. Over time, alchemists distilled elixirs designed to cure all diseases, monastic apothecaries developed mystical botanical liqueurs, traveling physicians concocted dubious intoxicating nostrums, and the drinks we're familiar with today began to take form. In turn, scientists studied fermentation and formed the germ theory of disease, and developed an understanding of elemental gases and anesthetics. Modern cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, Gimlet, and Gin and Tonic were born as delicious remedies for diseases and discomforts. In Doctors and Distillers, cocktails and spirits expert Camper English reveals how and why the contents of our medicine and liquor cabinets were, until surprisingly recently, one and the same. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.

DB 82834 Bourbon Empire: The past and future of America’s whiskey by Reid Mitenbuler

Annotation: Examination of the history of bourbon. Discusses its emergence from a wide field of American-style whiskeys, the development and consolidation of distilleries, Prohibition, the decree of Congress making it a distinctive product of the United States, and the craft distillery movement in the twenty-first century. 2015.

DB 53826 American Vintage: The rise of American wine by Paul Lukacs

Annotation: Traces the history of the wine industry in the United States and the people instrumental in its development. Discusses why it takes so long to produce truly great wine and why America rose so quickly to prominence as a major wine-making country. 2000.

DB 87781 The Brewmaster’s Art by Charles W. Bamforth

Annotation: Chemist and brewmaster presents a series of lectures on the 8,000-year history of brewing and the modern-day beer industry. Discusses the complexity and balance of flavors considered when making beer. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2009.

Service Spotlight: Challenge Air

We are excited to be able to attend our first ever Challenge Air Fly Day as an exhibitor on September 9.

The Challenge Air Mission: Challenge Air was created to change the perception of children with special needs through the gift flight. Since 1993, we have been committed to making a difference in the lives of children with special needs. With a network of 3,500 volunteers nationwide, we continue to grow through events called Fly Days.

By eliminating the belief that they are limited, the children can grow to their full potential. They are given the opportunity to find courage within themselves and build in areas where they lack self-esteem. Challenge Air provides an unforgettable growing experience that opens the door to possibilities while allowing the children to see if they can fly a plane they can do anything!

Visit the Kansas City Fly Day event page to learn more and register.

Local Listens

KTB staff and volunteers work together to record talking books about Kansas and by Kansas authors in the Gerald Kopp recording studio. Explore this list of our newest books available for check out or download.

DBC17264 The Kansan by Mack Cretcher.

Annotation: After the death of his father, young Jim Brandon and his mother settle a farm on the outskirts of Bison City, a frontier town in the newly-minted and growing state of Kansas. Adult. Some strong language and violence.


DBC17275 When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano

Annotation: Flowers blooming in sheets of snow make way for happy frogs dancing in the rain. Summer swims move over for autumn sweaters until the snow comes back again. In Julie Fogliano's skilled hand and illustrated by Julie Morstad's charming pictures, the seasons come to life in this gorgeous and comprehensive book of poetry. For grades K-3.


DBC17315 Soldier Girl by Jacqueline McMahon Lakin.

Annotation: 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. For grades 5-8.


DBC17316 A Death at Crooked Creek: The Case of the Cowboy, the Cigarmaker, and the Love Letter by Marianne Wesson

Annotation: One winter night in 1879, at a lonely Kansas campsite near Crooked Creek, a man was shot to death. The dead man’s traveling companion identified him as John Hillmon, a cowboy from Lawrence who had been attempting to carve out a life on the blustery prairie. The case might have been soon forgotten and the apparent widow, Sallie Hillmon, left to mourn—except for the $25,000 life insurance policies Hillmon had taken out shortly before his departure. The insurance companies refused to pay on the policies, claiming that the dead man was not John Hillmon, and Sallie was forced to take them to court in a case that would reach the Supreme Court twice. The companies’ case rested on a crucial piece of evidence: a faded love letter written by a disappeared cigarmaker, declaring his intent to travel westward with a “man named Hillmon.”


DBC17319 A Vote for Susanna: The first woman mayor by Karen M. Greenwald.

Annotation: In 1887 Susanna Salter was ready to vote for the first time ever. The State of Kansas had just given women the right to vote in municipal elections. But some men in Susanna’s hometown, Argonia, didn’t think she – or any other woman – should have a say in choosing their next mayor. They put Susanna on the ballot for mayor, as a joke. They were sure she would lose, and then women like her would stay at home, where they belonged. But the joke was on them when Susanna won the race!


DBC17320 Symphony in the Flint Hills Field Journal by Symphony in the Flint Hills Inc.  

Annotation: The Symphony in the Flint Hills annual Field Journal recognizes the Flint Hills and all its uniqueness. Through art, science, word and poetry, the Journal includes original pieces from artists and authors who expand our knowledge of the Flint Hills.


DBC17321 Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State by Cheryl Unruh.

Annotation: A collection of 80 essays, celebrating various aspects of Kansas.


DBC17323 A History of Manhattan, Kansas by Lowell Jack

Annotation: A collection of nine lectures and speeches given to local clubs and organizations over the past 30 years. Get acquainted with some pioneers important to Manhattan's development and explore a few of the more modern historical landmarks.

Upcoming State and Postal Holidays Reminder

Monday, September 4: Labor Day

Monday October 9: Columbus Day (Postal Holiday)

Friday, November 10: Veterans’ Day (State Holiday)

Saturday, November 11: Veterans’ Day (Postal Holiday)

Thursday, November 23 – 24: Thanksgiving 

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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