- Talking Books
How to Help
The State Library of Kansas, Talking Books Service is seeking volunteers who are interested in making written material accessible for the visually and physically impaired. Volunteers are needed to narrate books or magazines, monitor narrators during recording sessions, and edit recorded audio. Anyone with a clear speaking voice, audio editing experience, or familiarity with computers and a willingness to learn is encouraged to apply.
Volunteer positions descriptions (PDF)
Volunteer application (PDF)
Prospective narrators must audition in our recording studio. The audition is recorded, and it will include a test for pronunciation with brief excerpts from books and magazines. The test will take about 30 minutes to complete.
The audition is a "cold" reading. Although good sight-reading skills are essential, any other preparation is minimal. Your test will be evaluated for the following characteristics:
- Correct pronunciation
- Diction that is clear, distinct, and understandable
- Reading with a smooth flow, free from disturbances and hesitations
- Expressiveness without exaggeration
- Relaxed speech; not stilted
- Reading at a pace that is easy to follow
- A manner that compels listeners to continue with the book / magazine
Your audition will be evaluated, and you will be notified regarding the results as soon as possible. If you do not pass the audition on your first attempt, you may re-take the test at a later date.
Project Assignments & Scheduling
The director of Talking Books determines the selection of reading material. Assignments are based on volunteer interests, reading/computer skills, schedule, and by the needs of the program. Volunteers will not be asked to read anything that they find personally offensive. Most reading material is furnished by Talking Books.
Approved volunteers will be required to commit to the completion of at least one assignment. Dates and times are scheduled by appointment only. Most reading sessions will be limited to one hour at a time. The Talking Books library is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and closed on holidays.
The Talking Books Regional Library and recording studio is located on the lower level of the Memorial Union on the Emporia State University campus. Our location is accessible by stairs or elevator. You may contact Talking Books by telephone at 800-362-0699 or 620-341-6280.