March 1-7 was a fabulous week for Kansans who utilize Talking Books services. Special displays at local libraries, proclamations signed by mayors, and celebrity readers marked the 78th anniversary of the Talking Books Program nationally.
Celebrity readers helped us recognize Talking Books Week. Lieutenant Governor Mark Parkinson read the Gettysburg Address made famous when delivered by President Abraham Lincoln. Secretary on Aging Kathy Greenlee shared Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. District Court Judge Nancy Parrish read a piece from a Kansas suffragette’s biography. KSU Football Coach Bill Snyder shared a piece on mentoring and State Treasurer Dennis McKinney read an inauguration speech given by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933.
In 1931, the U.S. Congress established free library services for blind adults, to be administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
This legislation opened the doors to free recordings of books distributed nationwide through regional libraries and the U.S. Postal Service. Talking books for children were added in 1952 and juveniles in 1962. Today, thousands of book titles are available to users, as well as magazines and newspapers.
In 2009, the Talking Books Program will fast-forward from cassettes to digital service offering new technological, educational and entertainment opportunities for the hearing and visually impaired.