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Mar 19

[ARCHIVED] Kansas Talking Book News Update – Spring 2021

The original item was published from March 19, 2021 4:03 PM to April 2, 2021 11:06 AM

From the Director’s Desk
Happy Spring! It’s only March but we’ve already had an exciting year and there’s more fun to come.

We are thrilled that Kansans with reading disabilities can more easily register for Kansas Talking Books and connect to thousands of audio books and magazines, with the certifying authority changes recently announced by NLS.

Up to now, a doctor of medicine or osteopathy was required to certify an applicant’s reading disability. Now reading specialists, educators, librarians, and school psychologists will be able to certify the eligibility of applicants with reading disabilities. Our updated application is available online. Good-bye barriers, hello books!

Keep reading for information on how you could get a free Bookshare subscription, summer reading and book club announcements, NLS updates, reading recommendations, and more.

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
Bookshare Subscriptions for KTB Users
A limited number of annual Bookshare subscriptions are now available to KTB users through a new pilot program. Bookshare is an online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Their library includes textbooks, career resources, and leisure reading in a variety of formats. See the services spotlight section for more information.

Email KTB staff for information on how to sign up. An internet connection is required to access Bookshare. This is another great resource for KTB users to get accessible reading materials.

Customized Cartridges with Download on Demand
Kansas Talking Books patrons can now receive audio books on customized multi-book cartridges. With this new service, all of our books are available to readers at all times. No more waiting on books to be returned or new books to be processed and added to the shelf. Make the switch today, your request list will thank you!

Phone Book Club, June 8th
Do you love books? Do you like talking about books? If so, we invite you to participate in our quarterly book club to meet and discuss books with other Kansas Talking Books’ patrons from around the state.

Our next book club will be held Wednesday, June 8, tying into our summer reading theme Tails and Tales. We will be reading DB 95229 Rough magic: Riding the world’s loneliest horse race by Lara Prior-Palmer.
Annotation: At nineteen, the author entered an annual endurance event where dozens of riders race wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of the Mongolian steppes. She describes the grueling days that she rode through heat and storms in her bid to become the race's first female winner. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

If you are interested in joining the discussion, please contact us at or 1-800-362-0699. There are two sessions, one at 10:00 a.m. and the other at 12:00 p.m. (noon). When you contact us, please indicate which session you prefer. We look forward to your participation!

Tails and Tales: Summer Reading 2021
Calling all Kansas Talking Books patrons! Trying to find something to do this summer? Join our Tails and Tales Summer Reading program. We’ll have awesome specially curated book lists and activities for patrons of all ages. Plus, every participant will be entered in weekly prize drawings for a $10 Walmart gift card. Patrons that turn in their completed reading logs will be entered in the grand prize drawing at the end of the program.

The program starts June 1st and ends August 1st. We hope you’ll join us for a summer of fun and reading. For more information or to sign up, email us at, call 1-800-362-0699, or register online.

Talking Books Week a Success
Governor Laura Kelly issued a proclamation recognizing March 1-5, 2021 as Talking Books Week. During Talking Books Week, staff spread the word to current patrons and eligible Kansans with print disabilities about our many programs and available resources, connecting Kansans to each other, to library services, and to reading.

Highlights of the week included
  • A new webpage listing resources of interest to KTB patrons 
  • An open patron Q&A session
  • Video tour of our new download on demand circulation system. 
  • "Connected through Stories” book recommendations from KTB staff on our blog.
Thanks to everyone who made our 2021 Kansas Talking Books Week a success.

News from NLS
NLS 90th Anniversary
Happy Birthday NLS! This year, NLS will mark their 90th anniversary with programming that will include online events, recognitions, and digital content, which will be shared across various channels. Keep an eye out for updates on the NLS website and Facebook page.

A kick-off virtual concert with acclaimed jazz pianist and NLS patron Matthew Whitaker was streamed live on the Library of Congress YouTube page on March 3. View the recording of the concert.

Change of Certifying Authorities for Reading Disabilities
NLS has implemented a long-awaited change to make it easier for people with reading disabilities to enroll for our services. Now reading specialists, educators, librarians, and school psychologists will be able to certify the eligibility of applicants with reading disabilities.

NLS has long made its services available to people with reading disabilities. Up to now, however, a doctor of medicine or osteopathy was required to certify that an applicant’s reading disability was “the result of organic dysfunction.” This requirement was a high bar for potential patrons to hurdle, and network libraries had urged NLS to relax it.

This change in no way means NLS is turning its attention away from serving people who are blind. NLS remains committed to serving all blind and print-disabled individuals.

Magazine Changes
NLS has added Essence to its audio magazine lineup. Essence is a monthly lifestyle, beauty, and fashion magazine for African-American women. Subscribers to Ebony, which ceased print publication in 2019, will automatically be switched over to an Essence magazine subscription.

Reader’s Digest is available now in braille and soon as ebraille on BARD.

The braille magazine Boys Life has changed its name to Scout Life. Subscribers to Boys Life will automatically be switched over to a Scout Life subscription.

You can subscribe to these and many other magazines through BARD or by contacting Kansas Talking Books.

Braille 2021 NBA second-half schedule
Due to continuous delays caused by the pandemic, the 2021 NBA season schedule is being published in three parts. Part one was published and produced in ebraille on BARD and in hard-copy braille.

Part two was published by the NBA in late February for the second half of the season. Due to the staggered start dates and last-minute publication by the NBA, part two of the schedule will be made available on BARD only. The release of part three by the NBA is yet to be determined.

Services Spotlight: Bookshare
Bookshare is excited to partner with Kansas Talking Books to provide access to the world’s largest accessible online library! If you experience barriers to reading printed materials, you can use Bookshare to listen to books, follow along with highlighted text, read in braille and large font, and customize your reading experience.

What’s in the library? 
Over 960,000 bestsellers, fiction and nonfiction titles, books for upskilling and career building, newspapers, magazines, and more.

How can I read? 
Download books 24/7 and read them on any device you like, including smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, computers, and assistive technology devices.

Who can join? 
People who cannot read printed text due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and other reading barriers. All Kansas Talking Book patrons qualify.

As you’re getting started with Bookshare you can explore the blog for great stories like Tom Perez’s or join the Bookshare March Madness Book Club to engage with other readers!

Visit the Bookshare website to learn more.

Readers’ Advisor Recommends: Connected Through Stories
Each of these books is a representation of connecting for our readers’ advisors staff; connections to other readers, authors, genres, or resonant literary themes. We hope you’ll find your own connections through these stories.

DB 96190 Binti, Book 1 by Nnedi Okorafor
Annotation: Binti is the first of the Himba people ever offered a place at the elite Oomza University. She must leave her family and travel to a world at war with the nightmarish, alien Meduse people, where she will need all her assets to survive. Contains some strong language and some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

DB 47486 The Fellowship of the Ring, being the first part of Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Annotation: As the Ring cycle begins, Frodo, a home-loving hobbit, inherits the magic ring that his Uncle Bilbo brought back from his adventures in The Hobbit (DB 48978). To protect the ring from the powers of darkness, Frodo must make a long, dangerous journey. Prequel to The Two Towers (DB 47487). 1954.

DB 16982 The lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (or DB 50083 The complete Chronicles of Narnia)
Annotation: Four English children find their way through a huge wardrobe in an old house to the mysterious land of Narnia, which is suffering under the spell of the White Witch. First title in "The Chronicles of Narnia." For grades 4-7 and older readers.

DB 48501 Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Annotation: Daine, thirteen, alone in the world except for her horse, is rescued by Onua Chamtong, horsemistress for Queen Thayet, when Onua realizes Daine has a gift for dealing with animals. Daine is then enlisted by Onua and the mage Numair to help save the queen's kingdom. Prequel to Wolf-Speaker (DB 48502). For grades 5-8.

DB 63213 Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Annotation: Perennial nice girl Annabel is ostracized after vicious Sophie catches Annabel with Sophie's boyfriend. Music-obsessed Owen befriends Annabel and encourages her to be true to herself. But Annabel's family problems prevent her from telling the truth until a crisis occurs. Some strong language. For senior high readers. 2006.

DB 62431 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Annotation: Death narrates the tale of nine-year-old Liesel from 1939 to 1943 in Nazi Germany. Liesel copes with a foster family, air raids, her friend Rudy, and a hidden Jew, sustained by the books she steals. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2006.

DB 81122 Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Annotation: Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift shapes to a coyote thanks to her Native American heritage, but she is outmatched when she gets tangled in the business of the local werewolf pack. Alpha Adam Hauptman's daughter is kidnapped, and Mercy agrees to help get her back. Commercial audiobook. 2009.

DB 72629 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness
Annotation: 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 87767 Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI by David Grann
Annotation: An examination of the 1920s murders of wealthy Osage Indian Nation members in Oklahoma. When the newly-formed FBI bungled the investigation, Director Hoover turned to ex-Texas Ranger Tom White, who put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the Bureau. Contains some strong language and some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

DB 74083 Leviathan Wakes: The Expanse, Book 1 by James S. A. Corey
Annotation: When Jim Holden and the crew of his ice miner stumble upon the derelict ship Scopuli, they uncover a dangerous secret. Meanwhile, Detective Miller's search for a missing girl leads him to the same ship and interplanetary civil war threatens. Violence and some strong language. 2011.

DB 78978 The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zavin
Annotation: When his most prized possession, a rare volume of poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, is stolen, bookstore owner A.J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family, and associates. Then he receives a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life. Strong language. Bestseller. 2014

Upcoming State and Postal Holidays
  • Monday, May 31: Memorial Day
  • Monday, July 5: Independence Day
  • Monday, September 6: Labor Day
  • Monday, October 11: Columbus Day, postal holiday only
Contact Information for Kansas Talking Books
Kansas Talking Books
1 Kellogg Circle, Box 4055
Emporia, KS 66801

1-800-362-0699 (toll-free)

Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m


On Twitter: @KSTalkingBooks