Special Needs

Contact Person: Cynthia Chalker



Talking Books is a reading program for blind and handicapped patrons. It is sponsored by the National Library Service, and funded by federal, state and local sources. Books, magazines, and some music materials are produced in audio and Braille formats and sent to patrons with the playback equipment.


Anyone who, because of a physical disability (either temporary or permanent), is unable to use normal print is eligible for this service. The disability may be due to blindness, partial vision, the inability to hold a book, or any other condition which precludes reading normal print.


Applicants must be citizens of the United States or its territories. Preference shall be given at all times to the needs of blind and other physically impaired honorably discharged veterans. The application forms are available from the Talking Books Consultant or may be downloaded from . A certifying authority must sign the application.


After the completed application has been processed, patrons will be sent a specialized digital player as requested. Specific reading materials can be selected from Talking Books Topics. Published six times per year, this is available in large print or in audio format. Braille materials are listed in Braille Book Review. Books can also be sent automatically to patrons from a list of preferred subject areas as noted on the application form.

Magazines are also available at no charge in three formats: Braille and audio.


Talking Books are issued on a turn around basis. As books are returned, new books are automatically sent out. Books are returned postage-free through the U.S. Mail in plastic containers marked Free Matter for the Blind and Handicapped. When a patron receives his book, the accompanying address card is turned over to reveal the return address of the Regional Library in Emporia.


Equipment remains the property of the U.S. Government, National Library Service, and must be returned when no longer in use by qualified patrons. Return of the equipment is the responsibility of the user. Machines can be returned postage-free in the original container; simply flip the address card over and mail it–the back of the address card should be addressed to the Regional Library in Emporia.

Those not having the original box and address should call the Special Needs Consultant at 800-279-3219 for instructions, or drop the machine off at an SEKLS library. For efficiency of return and to guarantee greater numbers of returns, SEKLS libraries will be considered drop-off sites.


In addition, persons interested in learning about music may receive materials directly from the Music Section of National Library Service. Music scores, textbooks and books about music are available in Braille and harmonic are available in recorded form. Elementary instruction for voice, piano, organ, guitar, recorder, accordion, banjo and harmonica are available in recorded form. Recorded music for recreational listening is NOT available through this program.




The Recreational Therapy Aids collection is intended to enhance programs at senior living centers, for individual use in home recovery programs, and for inter-generational use in activity programming with children and adults. The collection includes videos, group games, low vision games, musical instruments, and coordination and exercise equipment. For a list of items in the collection, contact the Special Needs Consultant at SEKLS, or see the SEKLS website

Items are available to individuals and institutions through interlibrary loan from SEKLS. Patrons request items at their local library.


A special collection of childrens print/Braille and print/Braille/picture books is available. These may be used by blind children with sighted parents, blind parents with sighted children, or adults with worsening low vision needing to evaluate the possibility of using Braille.

Print/Braille/picture books replicate with clear Braille overlays the text of the story. All original illustrations are included. Print/Braille books have lines of Braille with text duplicated below, but no illustrations. Bibliographies of these books are on the SEKLS website . Contact the Special Needs Consultant at SEKLS for more information.


Bifolkal products are designed to prompt universal memories, enabling older persons to share those common memories in a group social setting. A variety of kits, activity sheets and binders are available on loan to institutions and individuals at no charge. They are ordered at the local library, picked up and returned there after use. Items are loaned for up to three weeks, except Actiphiles. Because of their seasonal content, Actiphiles are loaned for one week. Please give alternate choices if possible when ordering.

  • Complete Bi-folkal kits include slides, video, sing along cassette, activity pages, tactile artifacts from the period, and a leaders guide.
  • Bi-folkal Mini-kits, designed for a shorter program, include a media presentation, leaders guide, and activity page.
  • Bi-folkal Actiphile Activity Folders contain at least twelve different master sheets to copy for your groups individual needs.
  • Bi-folkal Activity Binders have reproducible pages for a variety of activities for senior groups.
  • Bi-folkal Reminiscing Picture Sets are individual sets of twelve glossy 8×11-inch nostalgic photos of selected topics for group discussions and reminiscing. The majority of photos are from the 1930s to the present.

There are no eligibility requirements to borrow any of the listed items. Items may be ordered at no charge by institutions, schools, or individuals with a valid library card.