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Celebrating Kansas Talking Books Week 2021

TOPEKA – The State Library of Kansas Talking Books Division is celebrating its annual Talking Books Week, March 1-5.

The Talking Books Service connects eligible Kansans to free, accessible library services for the blind and print disabled.

As part of the weeklong celebration, Kansas Talking Books invites Talking Books library patrons to connect with staff to ask questions and provide feedback in an open forum. The conversation will take place via Zoom and participants can connect online or by telephone.  To receive login information, patrons should email or call 800-362-0699 ext. 7.

The Kansas Talking Books Service was established in 1970. Today this division of the State Library of Kansas, located in Emporia, serves nearly 4,000 print disabled readers across the state with the assistance of outreach centers in Norton, Dodge City, Great Bend, and Iola.

“As we celebrate more than 50 years of service to Kansans with visual and physical impairments,” State Librarian Eric Norris said, “we are looking forward to new and exciting developments in delivery methods for accessible digital materials.  It’s critical that the print-impaired community have access to the same technological, educational, and entertainment opportunities as their sighted friends.”

When the Pratt-Smoot Act became law on March 3, 1931, the Library of Congress was authorized to make arrangements with other libraries to circulate books for blind adults. By 1933, sound recordings were perfected enough to record a book of up to 60,000 words on eight or nine discs to be distributed to the blind. Among the first titles chosen were the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Today, people with print impairments have the option of downloading accessible books and magazines directly to their phones and tablets using the BARD Mobile app.

To ensure “That All May Read,” the Kansas Talking Books Library Service provides resources in specialized formats free-of-charge to Kansans unable to use standard print. To learn more about services from the State Library’s Talking Books division, call toll-free 1-800-362-0699 or visit

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