TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A program that makes books accessible for disabled readers in Kansas is celebrating a big milestone.
Kansas Talking Books has served people for 50 years in the state. The program offers more than 100,000 free books to Kansans with physical or visual impairments, including audio books, audio magazines, and braille books.
On Monday, the Kansas State Library held an art fair to celebrate people with reading disabilities that use the program.
Becca Resner works for the Talking Books Library in Emporia. She is partially blind, so she also uses the program for some of her books.
“I have access to books, sometimes my eyes just get too tired to read,” Resner said. “I do some visual reading, but I also do a lot of audio reading too.”
The program is a part of the state library system and gets some funding from the federal government to provide a variety of books to program users.
“We offer everything from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings to the Bible,” Resner said.
Last year more than 4,700 people used their services, with even nursing homes and schools signed up to get materials.
“What I hear all the time is, I have no interest in TV anymore, I can’t read the newspaper, I can’t read a magazine, so having something that is engaging and reduces the amount of isolation for people who have a visual impairment is imperative,” said Michael Lang, director of Kansas Talking Books.
You can download an app or get audio players and audio books in the mail. The program helps a variety of people, including those with dyslexia, Parkinson’s, or macular degeneration. Lang said Talking Books provides a different way to enjoy reading.
“Especially for the patrons who lose their vision later in life, who have loved reading their entire life, to completely lose something that they’ve loved, it’s an addition that they really, really appreciate, that they come to love,” Lang said.
If you have a reading disability and believe you qualify for the program, you can download an application on the state library’s website here.