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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May 28

Kansas Talking Book News Update – Summer 2021

Posted on May 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM by Michael Lang

From the Director’s Desk

It has been just over a year since the pandemic forced us to re-engineer our daily operations on the fly. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we adjusted our procedures to serve you while keeping our staff safe.

I am happy to write that at the beginning of May all staff returned to on-site work. Reader Advisors had been working from home since last April, while circulation staff came in to ensure that books continued to go out to readers. We have also eliminated our quarantine period for returned books and players. This should result in faster turnaround for you to receive new books.

All of my gratitude to the KTB staff for their flexibility, patience, creativity, and dedication to our patrons over the last year.

In other news, Summer Reading starts June 1! If you have not signed up yet, I encourage you to do so here. By registering, you will be entered in our weekly prize drawings. Complete and return your reading log to be entered in the grand prize drawing in August. Thanks to the KTB Advisory Council for their support of our summer reading program. There is more information about the program below.

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

Get outside, enjoy the warm weather, and keep reading.
–Michael Lang, Director

KTB Updates

Tails and Tales: Summer Reading 2021
June 1st marks the start of our 2021 “Tails and Tales” Summer Reading program. Register here to be automatically entered in a weekly prize drawing for a $10 Walmart gift card. Participants who return their completed reading logs (minimum requirements 5 books read for adults; 60 minutes read each week for youth) will be entered in a random selection grand prize drawing for a $50 Walmart gift card.

And, don’t forget! Each week, we’ll have themed book lists and activities posted to our website and social media so make sure to check our Facebook and Twitter .

Join in the fun and register now by calling us at 1-800-362-0699, emailing, or filling out our online form.

Phone Book Club, June 9th
Join us for a wild ride in June when we read and discuss DB 95229 Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer to tie in with our Tails and Tales Summer Reading theme.

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.

Gather to meet and discuss the book with other Kansas Talking Books’ patrons from all around the state. Discussion times are at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (noon). Call the office at 1-800-362-0699 or email to sign up and tell us which session time you would like. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mark your calendars for our remaining 2021 Book Club Dates
  • Sept. 8: DB 94175 Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Dec.  8: DB101568 Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohen & David Levithan

Free Bookshare Subscriptions

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.

Visit Bookshare or 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.

Wanted – Unused Playback Equipment
If you have a Talking Book Machine at home that you are no longer using, please return it to us so that others may use it. Machines can be returned at no cost using the Free Matter for the Blind & Print Disabled postal designation.

Kansas Talking Books
1 Kellogg Circle
Emporia, KS 66801

If you no longer have the original box, return the player in a box you have at home, or we can send you an empty box.

News from NLS

Karen Keninger, NLS Director, Retires
After nine years as NLS Director, Karen Keninger retired this May. During her tenure she has overseen the deployment of BARD Mobile, implementation of the braille eReader pilot, expansion of the library’s collection, a name change to NLS, and much more. Congratulations Karen, enjoy your well-deserved retirement.

Expanding Audio & Braille Foreign-Language Collection
NLS produces and acquires books and magazines in more than forty languages other than English. Since its 2020 ratification by the U.S., NLS obtains a significant number of foreign language books directly from other countries via the Marrakesh Treaty. Many of these materials are available as digital audio and electronic braille materials on BARD.

Services Spotlight: Currency Identifiers
The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has developed a number of free products to help people identify denominations of U.S. paper currency. 

EyeNote app for iOS uses image recognition technology and the device’s integrated camera to recognize a Federal Reserve note and communicate the note’s denomination back to the user. It recognizes and identifies all current circulating notes from 1996 forward.

IDEAL Currency Identifier app for Android devices uses text-to-speech voice and advanced image recognition technology to read a note and provides users with an audible response indicating the note’s denomination

iBill Talking Banknote Identifier is a small electronic device that is able to identify U.S. paper currency and easily fits in your pocket, purse, or on a keychain. BEP will provide one iBill to interested Talking Book subscribers. An application must be filled out completely, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility, and returned to the mailing address provided on the form.

Readers’ Advisor Recommends: Summer Reading Preview
These are just a few selections from the books featured on our summer reading weekly book lists. Check out our website or stay up-to-date via  Facebook or Twitter.

DB 71008 A Pedigree to Die For by Laurien Berenson
Annotation: After dog breeder Max dies his widow, Peg, who suspects foul play, asks their niece Melanie Travis to find their missing stud poodle. Melanie, a teacher and single mother, enters the cutthroat world of competitive dog shows and uncovers several suspects--as well as a potential romantic interest. 1995.

DB 53926 All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Annotation: An English veterinarian reminisces about his work in Yorkshire that began in 1937 when he was fresh out of school. He recalls tending to the farm and house animals and comforting people whose pets died. Followed by All Things Bright and Beautiful (DB 39611, BR 13838). Bestseller. 1972.

DB 92600 Vaquita: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez by Carl Safina
Annotation: Examination of the vaquita, a species of porpoise deemed the most endangered marine mammal in 2006. Discusses the fishing practices that have led to their near-extinction, diplomatic efforts between Mexico and the United States to save them, and efforts to create a breeding program. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.

DB 75865 Medusa’s Gaze and Vampires Bite: The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan
Annotation: Science journalist examines ancient and modern myths of monsters, from the Nemean Lion of ancient Greece to King Kong and the Terminator. Uses archaeology and other disciplines to theorize on the sources of these tales and the reasons they fascinate us. Young adult appeal. Some violence. 2012.

DB 98564 Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens
Annotation: Adventurous recounting of two young American zoologists--one, the author of Where the Crawdads Sing (DB 92245)--who come to study the wildlife in Kalahari in 1974 and stay for seven years. Authors discuss observing lions, hyenas, wild dogs, and antelopes from their home in a fossil riverbed. Some violence. 1984.

Locally Produced Talking Books
With staff back on site, our local book production activities are up and running. These four Kansas Notable Books are now available on cartridge or to download from BARD.

DBC08751 The Madman and the Assassin: The Strange Life of Boston Corbett, the Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth by Scott Martelle
Annotation: Union cavalryman Boston Corbett became a national celebrity after killing John Wilkes Booth, but as details of his odd personality became known, he also became the object of derision. Over time, he was largely forgotten to history, a minor character in the final act of Booth’s tumultuous life. And yet Corbett led a fascinating life of his own, a tragic saga that weaved through the monumental events of nineteenth-century America. The Madman and the Assassin is the first full-length biography of Boston Corbett, a man thrust into the spotlight during a national news event and into an unwelcome transformation from anonymity to fame, and back to obscurity.

DBC14926 To the Stars: Kansas Poets of the Ad Astra Poetry Project by Denise Low (ed.).
Annotation: Denise Low, 2nd poet laureate of Kansas, revives the British tradition of one-page publications, called "broadsides," as a way to present poetry. Her web-based broadsides include over forty poets with Kansas connections: Gordon Parks, William Stafford, James Tate, B.F. Fairchild, Diane Glancy, Albert Goldbarth, Jo McDougall, and Kevin Young to name a few. This book collects her Ad Astra Poetry Project broadsides in print form.

DBC15020 Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town by A. LaFaye.
Annotation: When Dede sees a notice offering land for black people in Kansas, her family decides to quit sharecropping and become homesteading pioneers. For grades K-3.

DBC17260 Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugs by Carol Murray.
Annotation: Playful poems highlight surprising facts about the world of insects - from familiar ants and exotic dragonflies to cringeworthy ticks and magnificent fireflies. Here's an enchanting and informative look at a perennial topic of interest for kids- cool bugs! For grades 2-4.

Upcoming State and Postal Holidays Reminder
May 31: Memorial Day
July 5: Independence Day (observed)
September 6: Labor Day
October 11: Columbus Day (Postal Holiday)

Contact Information for Kansas Talking Books

1 Kellogg Circle, Box 4055
Emporia, KS 66801


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