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 18

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Spring 2020

Posted on March 18, 2020 at 8:45 AM by Michael Lang

From the Director’s Desk
In the interest of public health and safety, Kansas Talking Books will close at 5:00 p.m. Friday, March 20. We will reopen on Monday, April 6th, as per Gov. Laura Kelly’s instructions.

These measures will cause major delays in services. Please contact us before 3:00 p.m. on Friday to get any book orders placed and in the mail to you, your loved ones, and residents. Our staff will be working hard to get every last book in the mail by the end of Friday.

If you do not yet download books and magazines through BARD, now is the time to try it out. We will be approving BARD applications through the end of the day Friday. If you prefer to cease delivery of digital books beyond this two week period, please contact us at 1-800-362-0699. Staff can halt book delivery until you feel comfortable receiving materials again.

I encourage you to pursue the following accessible information resources in our absence: Audio-Reader Network (785-864-4600) and NFB Newsline (866-504-7300). Both resources off multiple ways to access newspapers and magazines.

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

Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep reading.
–Michael Lang, Director

KTB Updates

50th Anniversary Open House and Reception
Join us on Wednesday, July 15th from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for our golden anniversary
open house and reception. We will be providing tours, refreshments, a short program, and displaying art by talking book patrons.

To ensure that we have enough room and refreshments we are asking that you RSVP online or by phone so we can estimate attendance.

Download on Demand Webinar
Learn how the entire NLS audiobook collection can be unlocked with the Download on Demand circulation model. Watch the archived version of our Download on Demand webinar online. 

Phone Book Club & Author Talk
Join us by phone on Wednesday, June 10th to discuss DBC06565 Of Grave Concern by Max McCoy. To sign up call 1-800-362-0699 or email and let us know which session you would like to join, 10:00 a.m. or noon. On the 10th we will call you; all you have to do is answer the phone.

On July 1st Kansas Talking Books will be hosting author Max McCoy for an online author talk. More information about the author talk will be shared in our summer newsletter as details are finalized.

Annotation: The Civil War is over, and many a young widow has turned to spiritualism to contact their husbands on 'the other side.' But Ophelia Wylde won't be fooled twice. After wasting her money on a phoney psychic, she decides if she can't beat 'em, join 'em. She leaves New Orleans and heads West, selling her services as a spiritual medium who speaks to the dead. By the time she reaches Dodge City, business is booming. Except for a handsome but skeptical bounty hunter named Jack Calder, no one suspects Ophelia of running a con game--until an unfortunate 'reading' of a girl who's still living exposes her to a town full of angry customers. As punishment, the mob drags Ophelia to Boot Hill and buries her alive in a fresh grave overnight. That's when the dead start speaking. To her. For real. And for dead people, they've got lots to say. Contains some descriptions of sex, some strong language, and some violence.

Imagine Your Story: Summer Reading 2020
Patrons of all ages are invited to “Imagine Your Story” and join us for the 2020 Summer Reading program between June 1st and August 1st.
Sign up and your name will be placed in our weekly prize drawings. There will also be a grand prize winner from each age group at the end of the summer. To be entered in the grand prize drawing, simply track the books you read on the reading log, and return the log at the end of the program! A name will be randomly selected from those patrons who submit a reading log.

We’ll have fun summer reading activities and book recommendations posted to our Facebook page and blog throughout the summer.

Summer reading sign up information will be sent out in April.

Talking Books Week a Success
Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed March 3-6 Talking Books Week. We celebrated with a great art show on display at the State Library of Kansas.

We had amazing contributions from the following talking book patrons, Lauren Bush of Wichita, Kathleen McGee of Lawrence, Ann Byington of Topeka, Sherry Worth of Wichita, Dana Smith of Wichita, and Becca Resner of Emporia. Thank you for sharing your work with us. Images of the items and artist bios are available online.

Additionally, we would like to thank the staff at the State Library who helped make the show a success. Donna, Holly, Cindy, & Eric, thank you for your support and hard work.

News from NLS
Changes to Audio Magazines
The NLS audio magazine program has undergone several recent modifications due to changes in the magazine industry.
Money magazine discontinued print publication after its June/July 2019 issue. NLS identified Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as a comparable alternative.

NLS had been receiving an abridged audio version of the New Yorker from a third-party producer, but audio production was discontinued. In January 2020, NLS contracted with a new producer to narrate the New Yorker. The forthcoming editions will include content that had not previously been available to NLS patrons.
Both magazines are now available on BARD.

BARD Mobile for iOS Update

A new version of the BARD Mobile app for iOS has been released. Version 1.3 includes a number of new features, including:

• Simultaneous downloads
• Braille autoscroll
• Book and magazine subscription support
• Quick switch between titles
• AirPlay support
• And more

An updated the user guide is available in the app and can also be found here.  NLS recommends that users update the app. However, the current version will continue to work.

BARD Express Updates
Updates to BARD Express, the system that allows you to download materials to a Windows-based computer for replay on the NLS digital talking-book machine, were released in January. These updates provide new ways to discover even more of the national collection of books and magazines.

You are now able to search for, download, and copy braille books and magazines to an external storage device for reading on the go. You can also specify your preferred format, only audio, only braille, or both formats to see all available options.

Here are some of the other new features, along with the associated key commands:
  • Manage External Storage Devices View: Control N
  • Download Status View: Control T.
  • Filter by material type: Alt I
  • Access Previous Downloads: Alt V, P, P, Enter
  • Subscribe to a book series or magazine: Alt S
  • Unsubscribe to a book series or magazine: Alt U

Readers’ Advisor Recommends: Futuristic/Time Travel Reads
To celebrate our 50th anniversary, Kansas Talking Books reader advisors are looking toward the future and sharing their favorite sci-fi & time travel novels.

DB 36888 Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

A young history student in mid-21st century Oxford, England, elects to travel back to the Middle Ages as part of her research, and is accidentally sent to the time of the Black Death pandemic. She is stranded in the past as an influenza epidemic erupts in the future Oxford, and her supervising instructor tries to find her and bring her back.

I recommend this book because the story is well-written and it’s a rare opportunity to see a female as the main character in a time travel novel. It also shows some of the dangers of making assumptions about history, about the capabilities of science, and about our own level of knowledge in general.

DB 70029 Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

After nearly everyone on Earth loses consciousness, at the same time, and experiences a vision of the same future, two CERN physicists try to deal with the weight of decisions that haven't been made yet. Lloyd investigates the cause of "the Blackout" as way of avoiding the inevitable breakup of his marriage while Theo, who saw nothing, attempts to find the person who will eventually murder him.

I really enjoyed this book because it's one big puzzle and nearly everything that is hinted at in the past happens in this book's future. Its a really cool mystery novel as much as it is a science fiction book. Recommend for adult readers, since a few characters have visions of themselves in flagrante delicto, but it's never very detailed. Also fun because it was written in 1999, set in 2009, and has scenes in 2030, and the author didn't get very much right about 2009.

DB 75061 Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Richard K Morgan opens up a strange yet familiar world in which death is no longer permanent. In this future a UN Envoy Corps member, think “world police”, who had been killed in the line of duty, is brought back to life by the government to help solve the murder of an industrialist while trying to find his own killers.

This book is a mystery at its core, but is dressed up with a lot of science fiction glam and futuristic technology, perfect for fans of characters like Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne, mysteries, or as a bridge between the mystery and science fiction genres. As a warning, while this book does contain some explicit content, it is not essential to the plot.
If you like Altered Carbon, there’s more for you to enjoy with the rest of the trilogy, available on digital talking books.

DB 93298 Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

It’s about a desolate planet far in the future where Spensa dreams of becoming a pilot to combat the aliens attacking her planet, but her family’s past actions jeopardize that chance. Then, she makes a discovery that could change her future and that of her home.

Spensa, the main character, piques my interest from the very beginning due to her independent nature, love of the stars, and tragic past. All of the characters have their own presence and voice in this novel, building a world you can immerse yourself in. Skyward is a fast-paced, action-filled book that combines the emotions of the characters’ sacrifices and courage with sarcastic wit and banter to create a soaring narrative.

A bonus is the neurotic, mushroom cataloging, right-wing spaceship, M-Bot, that truly makes the novel incredibly enjoyable. This high-flying read is perfect for readers 14 and older.

Services Spotlight: Census Day is April 1st
Beginning in March, every household in Kansas will receive instructions to complete the 2020 Census. You can answer the census online, by phone, by mail, or by responding to a census enumerator. The census only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Census forms will be available in 13 languages and the census guide will be available in braille, large print, American Sign Language, and non-English languages.

Census numbers are used to distribute over $6 billion dollars in federal funds to the state of Kansas every year and every uncounted person costs the state of Kansas around $2,000 annually for at least 10-years.

Those dollars help provide essential programs in our state such as WIC, School Breakfast programs, Head Start, Pell Grants, Vocational Rehabilitation services, foster care programs, and Section 8 Housing Assistance, just to name a few.

For more information about the 2020 Census, visit

Recent Locally Produced Books
DBC02500 Firebrand by Aaron Barnhart.
In 1848 Vienna, fifteen-year-old August Bondi is forced to emigrate to America, leaving behind his comrades in the revolution. In his new country he is confronted by the evil of slavery, and sets out for Bleeding Kansas to join forces with the notorious John Brown. Grades 6-9 and Young Adult.

DBC08673 Gunpowder Girls: The True Stories of Three Civil War Tragedies by Tanya Anderson.
With thousands of men off fighting in the Civil War, the government hired women and girls--some as young as ten--to make millions of rounds of ammunition. Poor immigrant girls and widows paid the price for carelessness at three major arsenals. Many of these workers were killed, blown up and burned beyond recognition. For grades 6-9.

To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.
"Renga" is a collaborative poem based on the Japanese haiku form, often about nature. In this book, poets in the chain take readers across the mythological as well as physical landscape of Kansas. Each poet begins with the seed of an idea from the poem before, writes, and leads the way for the next poet, all the way to the end. The group includes poets laureate of the state, professional writers, and newcomers. The poets follow images and questions threading through the unfolding form of the renga, creating together one winding poem, a river of words on what place can and does mean. Some strong language.

DBC17268 The Loudest, Fastest, Best Drummer in Kansas by Marguerite W. Davol.
Maggie saves the town of Serena, Kansas with her loud, fast drumming. For grades 2-4.

Upcoming State and Postal Holidays Reminder
Monday, May 25: Memorial Day. KTB Closed & Postal Holiday
Friday, July 3: Independence Day (observed). KTB Closed
Saturday, July 4: Independence Day. Postal Holiday
Monday, September 7: Labor Day. KTB Closed & Postal Holiday

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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