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Talking Books helps people with visual or physical impairment

Sure, you’ve heard of audiobooks, but have you heard of Talking Books? These might sound like enchanted fairy tale objects, but in reality this is a service that is much more practical and just as impressive. Talking Books Kansas ensures everyone in the state can access reading materials regardless of visual or physical impairment or reading disability.

Each state coordinates Talking Books services for their residents and the Library of Congress administers the overall program. The State Library of Kansas coordinates Kansas Talking Books. To qualify, readers complete an application with a certifying authority like a physician, social worker or a librarian (yes, a librarian at your favorite library) and submit it to their state. When approved, a new Talking Books reader will receive specialized equipment and an extensive library of accessible materials at no cost.

How the magic works

blue textured case for talking books cartidge printed with seal of the Library of CongressTo say the Talking Books library is extensive isn’t an understatement. The Library of Congress ensures a wide variety of titles in every genre are available in accessible formats. The books are encoded so only participants of the Talking Books program can use them. New titles may become available upon request. They also partner with Audible, the audiobook company.

This means even new releases can be enjoyed via the app or device. Titles are accessed through a digital catalog via BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download. (In case you were wondering, many Shakespeare titles are available in Talking Book format, so yes—you can read the Bard with BARD!)

A black device with braille cells, colorful textured buttons and a speaker that plays audiobooksWhile many using the service listen to audiobooks through a specialized mobile app, others find a digital talking books player better suits their needs. The player is a sturdy device that plays audiobooks from customized cartridges. Textured buttons, braille cells and audio cues allow the user to navigate the machine and control their reading experience.

Since Talking Books is a state program our library does not directly provide the equipment or books to our customers. However, our Red Carpet Senior Services are here to help! If you would like to get connected with Kansas Talking Books, reach out to a librarian.

Learn more about Red Carpet Senior Services and Kansas Talking Books.

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