Talking Books Week, March 1-6, is a perfect time to try out this free service or inquire about it for a loved one. Staff can even personalize selections and customize due dates based on a customer’s reading preferences.
“We have John Grisham, James Patterson, and Stieg Larsson of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. What Talking Books patrons read is not much different from what the general public picks up. They just need it in a different format, so they turn to us,” said Trish Reuter, Public Services Specialist.
Customers enjoy their favorite titles and magazines via digital cassette (similar to a USB stick) and the new digital player. They can also download books from their computer to their own USB stick that will play in the machine. If words like “download” and “digital” makes you wary, don’t worry; the system is easy to use.
“Customers love listening to our Digital Books,” Trish said. “With the old way, customers would lose their place, they had to change tapes and they had to use headphones, which some don’t need anymore when they switch to the digital player.”
The sound quality of digital Talking Books is excellent; customers have also raved about the ability to store more than one book on a cassette and easily shuffle through titles. They also like the long battery life, Trish said.
Talking Books customers receive their players and books through the mail. No postage is necessary to mail materials to and from the library. Once a customer is done reading their book they put it back in the mailbox and it gets sent back to the library.
Currently, the library serves approximately 7,000 Talking Books customers in Kansas, with approximately 1,600 of those in Northeast Kansas. Our Talking Book collection contains a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children, including best-sellers, mysteries, romance, biographies, Christian fiction, science fiction, poetry, humor, westerns and suspense.
2011 marks the 40th anniversary of Talking Books in Kansas.
For information on taking a Talking Book home, call Stephanie at 785-580-4546. Individuals must fill out an application to be part of this federally supported program. Applications can be found online here or stop by the Red Carpet area right off the library’s circulation lobby.