Volunteering with the South Dakota State Library Accessible Library Services is a rewarding experience that produces materials benefitting South Dakotans who are unable to read standard print. Volunteers with the SD ALS work in our recording studios.
The SD ALS has five volunteer recording studios:
- Rapid City
- Sioux Falls
Narrator Auditions! Lend your voice so That All May Read.
Recording studio set up at the South Dakota School for the Blind in Aberdeen.
South Dakota School for the Blind
605 14th Avenue SE
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Volunteer Twila Merkwan smiles for the camera while narrating a book in the Pierre studio.
South Dakota State Library
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2235
1-800-423-6665 (SD Only)
Rapid City Public Library recording studio.
Rapid City Public Library: Downtown
610 Quincy St
Rapid City, SD 57701
Siouxland Libraries Downtown Branch's recording studio.
Siouxland Libraries: Downtown
200 N. Dakota Ave
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Freshly constructed in 2019, this brand new recording studio is in the Vermillion Public Library.
Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library
18 Church Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
There are two positions available to volunteers in the recording studio: Reviewer and Narrator. Contact the BTBL Volunteeer Coordinator at the contact information below.
The reviewer operates the Media Player software to listen to the recorded material. The reviewer's job is to ensure a quality recording by scouring the recording for errors in narration, unwanted noises from the recording booth, and general misrepresentation of the author's intent. The reviewer's objective criticisms are crucial to the production.
- Good vision and hearing.
- Exceptional listening skills.
- Ability to offer objective feedback and criticism as well as appropriate solutions.
- Sensitivities to the technical and aesthetic challenges involved in translating a printed text into the spoken word.
- Broad literary background.
The narrator presents the text of the book in a professional, yet conversational manner. The narrator must prepare for each session by researching pronunciations of difficult words, and practicing awkward phrases. The narrator is the only member of the production team that cannot be replaced because he or she must read the book from start to finish.
- Voices that are clear and distinct.
- Ability to sustain energy over a long period of time.
- Voices that are free of regional coloration or accents.
- Voices that are free of mannerisms such as lip smacks and other oral and guttural interferences.
- Skill in securing proper emphasis.
- A sense of timing and inflection.
- Ability to read in a conversational manner.
- Ability to retain a collective understanding of the material.
Every volunteer who is interested in being a narrator must pass an audition. The audition consists of reading two selections onto a digital cartridge: one that contains dialogue and the other narrative. The audition is a cold reading that determines if the volunteer has the natural ability to read both kinds of materials. If accepted as a Narrator, the volunteer will be assigned materials suitable to his or her voice.