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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Dec 19

Kansas Talking Books News Update – Winter 2018

Posted on December 19, 2018 at 8:53 AM by Michael Lang

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Winter 2018

From the Director’s Desk
Happy December (emphasis on the brrrr)! Winter sure came fast, didn’t it? Fall is always a busy time of year for us with lots of conferences, health fairs, and meetings. I looked at my calendar and all of the sudden it was Thanksgiving. On that note, I want to thank the Kansas Talking Books staff and outreach consultants for another year of hard work. Keep it up.

If you aren’t already using BARD I encourage you to look into it. It’s a great way to supplement the service you’re already receiving and provides access to books on the days when the mail doesn’t come. The BARD Mobile App is especially convenient for those with smartphones or tablets/iPads. Visit to learn more or give us a call if you have questions.

Keep an eye on our Talking Books Talk blog and social media accounts for announcements regarding this year’s Kansas Talking Books Week, March 4-8.

Read on for KTB news, NLS Updates, book recommendations, and more. As always, if you have any praise or concerns about the service please let me know, 1-800-362-0699 or

Keep safe, keep warm, keep reading. –Michael Lang, Director

Online Catalog Update
Our online library catalog will be receiving a facelift in 2019. The new catalog has an updated search engine that returns results much more quickly and adds Browse lists which allows us to create easy to find lists of interest, such as Popular Titles, Kansas Notable Books, and Staff Picks.

The new version is currently live and ready to use. Find it at Starting in January 2019, anyone using the old web address will be redirected to the new site. Your User ID and Password will remain the same.

Return Machines & Books When Finished
Remember to send back books you have read and/or old talking book machines you are no longer using. Other people are often waiting on those items.

KTB Cassette Tapes
KTB will phase out our cassette collection (the old cassette tapes in green cases) at the end of June 2019. This does not affect your digital books; the cartridges in blue/grey/maroon cases with one large hole on the end that slide into your talking books machine.

News From NLS

Multi-Book Cartridges? No Problem!
NLS recently released an important revision to the software that controls the Digital Talking Book Machine (DTBM) or player. This much-anticipated update enables users to play multiple books sequentially on a cartridge without having to use the Bookshelf feature. With the update installed, when you hear the player announce “End of book,” tap the play button to go to the next book or magazine.

The updated software is included on all NLS cartridges that contain multiple magazines and installs itself automatically when a cartridge is inserted into the DTBM. No action is required on the part of the user. If you want to install the latest firmware yourself you can download it from

For those who want more flexibility, standard Bookshelf mode will still work as before, allowing users to play multiple books in any order they wish.

--adapted from Talking Book Topics “In Brief” November-December 2018

A Big Next Step for the NLS eReader Program
Just as it has provided audio playback equipment since the 1930s, NLS has long been interested in providing an affordable, easy-to-use braille eReader to its patrons. In the summer of 2017, NLS took the first step toward achieving that goal when it partnered with Perkins Library to test the effectiveness of distributing digital braille files for use on eReaders. Now we are ready for the next step.

NLS will soon have a contract to purchase eReaders designed specifically to read NLS materials. Initially, NLS will purchase enough devices to conduct a pilot project with a few network libraries. The pilot will cover all aspects of acquisition, quality assurance, distribution, cleaning and maintenance, technical support, training, media distribution, and other relevant topics. We expect the pilot to last two years.

--Adapted from NLS On the Move -- September 27, 2018

Readers’ Advisor Recommends: Read Your Resolution
With 2019 knocking on the door, we’re here to offer you some companion reading to popular New Year’s resolutions.

Eat Healthier
DB 88519 – The plant paradox: The hidden dangers in “healthy” goods that cause disease and weight gain by Steven R. Gundry.
Former cardiothoracic surgeon now focuses on curing disease through diet. He explains how gluten is only one of many plant lectins that can cause inflammatory reactions. Suggests ways to limit lectins, including peeling vegetables, eating fruit in season, and avoiding whole grains. Includes detox instructions, meal plans, and recipes. 2017.

DB 86423 – Nutrition: A very short introduction by David A. Bender. Professor of nutritional biochemistry presents a concise guide to the principles of a healthy diet. Explores the basic elements of food, the balance between energy intake and exercise, useful vitamins and minerals, and questions of safety in nutritional supplements. Discusses problems of obesity, eating disorders, and malnutrition. 2014.

Get more exercise
DB 70650 – Exercise and physical activity: Your everyday guide from the National Institute on Aging by Karen McCrory Pocinki.
Government document discusses the benefits of exercise and physical activity for seniors. Includes tips to improve endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Offers examples of different types of movement that can fit into one's lifestyle. Discusses nutritious eating habits that will also help maintain health into old age. 2009.

Save money
Kiplinger’s Retirement Report Magazine – General-interest articles on practical strategies to grow retirement savings, make money last during retirement, maximize Social Security and Medicare benefits, and other retirement-related topics.

Focus on Self-care
DB 75972 – Super brain: Unleashing the explosive power of your mind to maximize health, happiness, and spiritual well-being by Rudolph E. Tanzi and Deepak Chopra.
Endocrinologist Chopra and neurologist Tanzi combine brain research and spiritual insight to examine the mind-body connection to wellness. They explain ways to retrain the brain to focus on positive thinking and to achieve health, happiness, and spiritual growth. 2012.

Read More
DB 83222 – Browsings: A year of reading, collecting, and living with books by Michael Dirda.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Washington Post and author of Classics for Pleasure (DB 66597) presents the fifty-two columns he wrote for The American Scholar between February 2012 and February 2013. Explores the world of book culture with ruminations on language, sales, authors, publishers, and collecting. 2015.

DB 85037 – The books that changed my life: Reflections by 100 authors, actors, musicians, and other remarkable people by Bethanne Kelly Patrick. One hundred short essays examining books of personal influence. Contributors include authors Margaret Atwood, Deborah Blum, Sarah MacLean, John Scalzi, and Vu Tran; chefs Cat Cora and Carla Hall; actors Keith Carradine, Eric Idle, Kate Mulgrew, and Liev Schreiber; director Sofia Coppola; and politician Tom Davis, among many others. 2016.

Learn a new skill/Take up a new hobby
DB 53868 – Knitting in plain English by Maggie Righetti.
A practical guide for beginning and intermediate knitters. Using a good-humored, common sense approach, provides patterns and easy-to-follow lessons to complete projects. Offers simple tips to facilitate the process and solutions to frequently asked questions. 1986.

DB 78078 – Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting by Ann Hood.
Twenty-seven essays on the craft of knitting by authors including Elizabeth Berg, Andre Dubus III, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, Elinor Lipman, Joyce Maynard, Ann Patchett, and Anita Shreve. Berg discusses the pleasures of visiting yarn stores when one is not a knitter. Includes six knitting patterns by Helen Bingham. 2014.

I don't plan on making New Year's Resolutions
DB 86326 – Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by F.E. Close.
Oxford physics professor explores the science and history of thinking about nothing, from the pre-Socratic philosophers and Aristotle--who held that no place could be completely empty ("nature abhors a vacuum")--through theories of Newton and Einstein, to modern particle physics and prospective answers to fundamental questions about the cosmos.

Check out our online catalog for even more books related to your New Year’s resolutions.

Services Spotlight:
Support groups for persons with visual impairments abound across the state. Here’s a list of Low Vision Support Groups (LVSG) of which we are aware. If you know of similar groups that aren’t listed below, we would love to know about them.

Dodge City -- Southwestern Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI). Second Saturday of the month in Dodge City, KS.

Fort Scott –LVSG meets at 2:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of February, April, June, August, October, and December. Working on a new permanent location.

Great Bend – Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (CKAVI), meets at 1:00 pm on the fourth Monday of each month at the Great Bend Senior Center, 2005 Kansas Ave.

Hutchinson -- LVSG meets monthly at 1:30 pm on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Delos V Smith Senior Center, 101 W 1st Ave. They do not usually hold a meeting in December.

Hays – Northwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (NKAVI) meets at 11:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month at Thirsty's, 2704 Vine Street #B, Hays.

Independence – LVSG meets at 2:00 p.m. on the second Monday of February, April, June, August, October, and December at Penn Terrace Apartments, 401 S Pennsylvania Ave.

Iola -- LVSG meets at 2:00 p.m. on the third Monday of February, April, June, August, October, & December at Townhouse in Iola.

Manhattan – VIP Book Club & Support Group. Meets on the third Tuesday of the month; Book Club from 1-2, Support Group from 2-3 at the Riley County Senior Services Center, 301 N 4th St.

Ottawa – LVSG meets at 1:00 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every other month. Meeting held at East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging conference room, 117 S. Main, Ottawa.

Pittsburg -- LVSG meets at 2:00 p.m. on the third Thursday of February, April, June, August, October, & December at Via Christi Village, 1502 E Centennial Dr.

Yates Center -- LVSG meets at 2:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of February, April, June, August, October, & December at Ambulance Mtg Room.

Recent Locally Produced Books
DBC05147 – Cinder Rabbit by Lynn E. Hazen. Zoe is chosen for the role of Cinder Rabbit in her school play and is also supposed to lead the class in the Bunny Hop at the end, but ever since wicked Winifred laughed at her for landing in a mud puddle, Zoe has forgotten how to hop, For grades K-3.

DBC06582 – Millie in the Snow by Alexander Steffensmeier. Millie the cow gets lost in the snow on the way home from helping the postman deliver mail on Christmas Eve, but she and the gifts she is bringing finally make it back to the farm. For preschool to grade 2.

DBC06628 – Milly and the Macy's Parade by Shana Corey. Concerned that the immigrant employees of New York City's Macy's department store are homesick at Christmas, a young girl inspires the store's head to hold the first Macy's Parade. Based on a true story; includes historical note. For grades K-3.

DBC08707 – Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. A biography of a self-taught scientist who photographed thousands of individual snowflakes in order to study their unique formations. For grades K-3.

DBC14961 – What Lies Beyond: The Chronicles of Salacir, Book 1 by Hannah Jeffers-Huser. Salacir had no need of a Peace Bringer for more than a century, yet two babies were born with the diamond-shaped birthmark of the prophecy on the same day. One the spoiled prince of a high king, the other a studious daughter of a warrior tribe -- would they prove the old seer correct? Some strong language and violence. For high school and adult.

DBC14974 – The School Nurse from the Black Lagoon. The School from the Black Lagoon Series by Mike Thaler. It's another scary day at the Black Lagoon... For preschool-grade 2.

DBC14975 – The School Bus Driver from the Black Lagoon. The School from the Black Lagoon Series by Mike Thaler. Rex Fenderbender is the new school bus driver, and rumor has it that he drives like he's racing the Indy 500 and makes the kids rebuild the engine when it breaks down. Are the rumors true? The students will soon find out. For preschool-grade 2.

DBC14976 – The Librarian from the Black Lagoon. The School From the Black Lagoon Series by Mike Thaler. Despite her status as the school librarian, Mrs. Beamster is known by all the kids as "The Laminator" because she is said to laminate anyone who is caught whispering. By the author of The Principal from the Black Lagoon. For preschool-grade 2.

DBC14990 – Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure by Derek Anderson. One pig looks to take a relaxing bath in private, but he is soon joined by another pig, then another, until there are ten pigs and number one has to come up with a plan so he can actually enjoy his bath. For preschool-grade 2.

DBC14993 – The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter. Alia Muhammed Baker is the librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now Alia fears that the library and the 30,000 books within it will be destroyed forever. For preschool-grade 2.

Upcoming State and Postal Holidays Reminder
Monday, December 24th – Talking Books Office Closed (Christmas Eve)
Tuesday, December 25th – Talking Books Office Closed & Postal Holiday (Christmas)
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 – Talking Books Office Closed & Postal Holiday (New Year’s Day)
Monday, January 21st, 2019 – Talking Books Office Closed & Postal Holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
Monday, February 18th, 2019 – Postal Holiday (Washington’s Birthday)

Contact Information for Kansas Talking Books

1 Kellogg Circle, Box 4055
Emporia, KS 66801


Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

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