Austin, TX – April 18, 2021, marked the start of National Volunteer Week in the United States. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission recognized its Talking Book Program (TBP) and the TBP Recording Studio volunteers who have been resilient and dedicated, continuing to provide thousands of Texans with reading materials in digital audio format.
Stephen Lewis, manager for the TBP Recording Studio said, “Our volunteers are the best! Without them our patrons, whether statewide or nationally, would have significantly less material to read.”
Throughout a year of unprecedented challenges, the studio and its volunteers have seized new opportunities, developing new ways to narrate, monitor and review books by developing remote recording team processes. All volunteers work together, under the guidance of studio staff, to produce digital audio books and magazines for qualifying patrons with visual, physical or reading disabilities statewide.
Studio volunteers produce more than 60 books and magazines of regional interest each year, including some in Spanish, and gain valuable experience that is not only interesting and rewarding but appreciated by patrons. Carl Johnson, TBP patron for 17 years said, “During the pandemic, I have been unable to leave my house, if it were not for talking books, I would have lost my mind. They have helped me through it.”
Recording studio volunteer teams are comprised of a reviewer, monitor, and narrator. The reviewer's job is to ensure a quality recording by scouring the audio for errors in narration, unwanted noises from the recording booth, as well as general misrepresentation of the author's intent. The monitor assures that the narrator’s reading is accurate and that the digital equipment is recording properly. Orientation and training are provided by Recording Studio staff. A volunteer who has worked with the studio for a minimum of six months can audition to become a narrator.
The Talking Book Program is a free library service for Texans of any age who have a visual, physical or reading disability. The free program offers alternative formats in braille, large print and digital audio. For more information about the program visit www.TexasTalkingBooks.org. For more information about volunteering contact 512-475-4605 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.