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Indiana State Library program expands literature access

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana State Library is looking for volunteer narrators and monitors for it’s “Talking Book” program in an effort to expand access to literature.

A Talking Book representative says it’s so important to expand access to literature and your ability levels should have no impact on that. While it is a great commitment to narrate, it’s impact is even greater.

It’s not always easy to get lost in a book for people with vision loss, physical, or learning disabilities, but volunteers with the Indiana State Library Talking Book program are making it a little easier thanks to technology.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this work. I love books myself. Many people who work in a library do. Being able to help others who cannot read a traditional printed book have access to books is very important to me,” said Hannah Arnold, Indiana State Library Talking Book volunteer coordinator.

She says volunteers don’t need to attempt different voices, but instead keep a steady tone and relay the message. After volunteers hit the booth, she makes the final edits. Preparing the books for download and prepping the audio to be shipped off.

“Once you’re in the recording studio we spend about an hour reading the book and you can take from 10 to 15 sessions or even more to read an average adult book,” Arnold said.

It’s a commitment, but one that Arnold and regional librarian Judy Gray says is worthwhile. The book recorded here is shared to Talking Book and braille libraries across the country.

“With a lot of people listening to the book is the only way they are able to read. They still get the same fun, excitement, and learning from a book you would get if you were sitting down and reading it,” said Gray.

Since 1905, the Indiana State Library has offered books in braille. In 2008, the library started Indiana Voices: Audio books of Indiana history by Indiana authors, with other audio books available across all genres.

“Not everyone has the ability to sit down and read a book, but everyone should be able to have books,” Gray said.

While it’s easy to take for granted the ability to dive into a book. This hidden gem rising to the surface.

Talking Book representatives say they are nearing the end of recruitment for narrators, but they desperately need monitors to follow along and double check for errors.