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South Dakota State Library
MacKay Building
800 Governors Dr.
Pierre, SD 57501

1-605-773-6962 (FAX)
(SD Only) Email

Hours: Mon-Fri
8 am - 5 pm CT
7 am - 4 pm MT

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Braille & Talking Book Library | Volunteers


Volunteering with the South Dakota State Library Braille and Talking Book Library is an interesting, rewarding experience that produces materials that benefit South Dakotans who are unable to read standard print. Volunteers with the Braille and Talking Book Library work in our recording studios. By donating their time and energy, volunteers make an invaluable contribution to thousands of South Dakotans.


There are two positions available to volunteers in the recording studio: Reviewer and Narrator.

Basic Requirements for Reviewers:

  • 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 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.

Basic Requirements for Narrators:

  • 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.

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 works, 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.

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.

Contact Us

The South Dakota State Library has two volunteer recording studios. These studios are located at the MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre and at Siouxland Libraries' Main Library, 200 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls. If you are interested in volunteering to record books, please call 800-423-6665 for more information.

On behalf of the South Dakota State Library Braille and Talking Book Library and the people we serve across South Dakota, we thank you for your interest in the Volunteer Recording Program. For more information about volunteering, please contact us at 1-800-423-6665 or email us at Email Link.

Summer 2017 Prairie Trails Newsletter
 Volume 12, Issue 3 | Summer 2017
Articles include "Helpful Information", "First Book Discussion", "BARD Express", "Brains of Blind People", "Series Suggestions", "Headphones", "Upcoming Book Discussion", "Authors who died in 2016", "Volunteer Highlight", "10 Squared Club", "Kids News", "South Dakota Collection"

Also available in Large Print PDF PDF Download, Audio Newsletter MP3 Download

BARD LOGIN web link to n l s bard dot l o c dot gov
 National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Downloadable Books and Magazines

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