June 3, 2004

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Contact: Lori Kesinger, Audio-Reader, (785) 864-4624; Janet Campbell, Audio-Reader, (785) 864-4603; Toni Harrell, Kansas Talking Books, (620) 343-7124.

Audio-Reader teams with Talking Books to provide more regional publications

LAWRENCE -- A new collaboration between the University of Kansas Audio-Reader Network and Kansas Talking Books will make more books, especially regional publications, accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

During the past several months, Audio-Reader has provided 17 books recorded by Audio-Reader volunteers for Talking Books, including "My Times, My Town" by Walt Bodine and "The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson" by Thomas Fox Averill.

Audio-Reader Program Manager Lori Kesinger and Kansas Talking Books Director Toni Harrell coordinated the collaboration.

Audio-Reader volunteers record books that are not available through the Talking Books program, including those by Kansas authors. Advances in technology have made it possible to convert Audio-Reader's book recordings, broadcast on closed-circuit radio, into special cassette format used by Talking Books clients.

Harrell said the joint venture already was a success.

"Kansas Talking Books could not be more excited about the joint project and the possibilities it offers our patrons," she said. "Our partnership with Audio-Reader Network is a great opportunity to provide resources that might not otherwise be available to persons who use the Kansas Talking Book Library Services. We believe our patrons will greatly appreciate these additional titles and are grateful to Audio-Reader for their support in making this program enhancement possible."

Kesinger said she was pleased with recent progress and hoped to continue expanding a library for blind and visually impaired readers.

"I am excited about the possibilities advances in technology are opening up, and we look forward to more cooperation with Talking Books and other agencies in the future," she said. "We are especially excited to play a role in making more William Allen White Award-winning books available to the visually impaired."

Offered as a public service by KU, Audio-Reader is a reading and information service for blind and print-disabled individuals in Kansas and western Missouri.

For more information about Audio-Reader, call (800) 772-8898. To find out more about Kansas Talking Books, call (800) 362-0699.

Both agencies offer services free of charge.

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