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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Feb 13

Staff Spotlight - Richard Brookman, Jr.

Posted on February 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM by Michael Lang

Bearded man wearing sunglasses, a white shirt, black jacket and bow tie.

Name:  Richard Brookman Jr.

Job title: Consultant; Southwest Kansas Library System

Southwest Kansas is a circular point for me. I was born in Elkhart, down in the very southwest tip of the state, but my upbringing was primarily in El Reno, Oklahoma. I attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University where I graduated with a degree in History and a minor in Pre-Law. After a couple years break I went back to obtain my Masters in Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduating in 1998, I was hired as the director of Kearny County Library. In June 2018, I became the Consultant for Southwest Kansas Library System.

Job duties:
As the Southwest Kansas Library System’s Consultant I am tasked with answering any questions that come in that pertain to law, regulations, continuing education, library management, programing (youth – adult), help coordinating workshops, training for librarians and boards, and of course being the representative for this region’s Talking Books.

First book you remember reading:
As a child I wasn’t interested in reading. I would spend all of my time outside. During my fifth grade year my Mother started purchasing me Batman and Aquaman comic books to spur an interest in reading. When I entered into the seventh grade I began reading "actual books”.  

The title that I started my “book” reading with was The Executioner Book 1: War Against the Mafia, by Don Pendleton. From that singular book I read over 100 similar books and by the eighth grade I was placed in an advanced reading class where we had to read two books for the year. Mine were Paradise Lost by John Milton and Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk.

From that point on I have been reading consistently, which still to this day includes comic books. Comic books started me on this journey and I made it my specialty within my chosen career. I have presented at several state and national conferences, local libraries, workshops, and at one university, where I did a three hour presentation on comic books. I have also incorporated manga and anime (Japanese comic books and animation) into my specialty.

Have you ever faked reading a book?
I have never faked reading a book. In fact, I used to believe that if I started a book I had to finish it, no matter how hard it was to get through. Then I made myself a system that if a book didn’t catch my interest after 100 pages I would stop reading that book and find a new one.

Favorite genre?
The genres I enjoy reading today are superhero, science fiction, horror, thrillers, military action, some fantasy, and some mystery. I have become interested in independent publishers because of the podcast I created and operate called ComicPop Library. I started the podcast in 2011 and it is still going strong today with over 390 episodes released. We review books, comic books/manga, animation, movies, music, gaming cards, and we have been fortunate to have done several interviews over the years.

What is the farthest you’ve ever been from Kansas?
With the podcast I have virtually been to Great Britain, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand. The farthest I have been in person was visiting my brother-in-law in southern Germany and we did a day trip down to Zurich, Switzerland.

What do you find most rewarding about working at Talking Books?
Because I am still so new I haven’t done much with the program. So special moments are few. One I do have already is a visit with one of the local users. We had a very pleasant chat and I look forward to visiting with her more in the future.

If you could have any famous person narrate any book, who would it be, which book & why?
I haven’t listened to many audio books, but as a dream narrator I would love to listen to James Arnold Taylor. He is a voice actor that has many voices that he can bring to a reading, from the serious to the comical.

That’s it. That’s me. When you’ve been on this planet a few many a years, your story isn’t short anymore. What I’ll leave with is this…I’m happy to be here and able to provide a service to the many readers that wouldn’t have an avenue to continue their singular voyage that each of us enjoy, in the pages and/or audio of so many wonderful stories.