Recording Studio

Recording Studio with microphone in sound booth

Talking Books CT/

Connecticut Volunteer Services for the Blind and Handicapped

Dedicated to recording books for persons with visual and physical accessibility needs, Talking Books CT/CVSBH Inc. is an all-volunteer 501-c3 non-profit agency founded by Margaret Reventlow in 1975.  Library studios are located in Milford, Ridgefield and Southbury. The Connecticut State Library for Accessible Books (CT LAB), formerly known as The CT Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, (LBPH) located in Middletown, distributes the recordings to patrons. The finished recordings are free and are available to anyone who cannot read or hold printed material. Distribution of recordings and playback devices are provided free of charge by the National Library Service and through CT LAB.

The Southbury “Talking Books” unit was established in 1985 through the efforts of Belle Bernstein and a group of concerned friends. They raised the funds to purchase the soundproof booth, tape recording equipment and furnishings for a small studio in the Southbury Library, then located on Main St. The current state-of-the-art studio is housed in the new Southbury Library built on Poverty Road in 2006. Our 39-year history reflects the unwavering support of town selectmen and library officials, Friends of the Library, the Lions Club, and hundreds of individual donors from the greater Southbury community. 

Each of Southbury’s all-volunteer staff devotes about 2 hours a week to produce about 10 books each year. In the last five years, volunteers have recorded over 30 books. Each recorded book represents the efforts of a narrator, a monitor, and a reviewer.  A prospective narrator must first audition and be accepted by an Evaluation Panel. A narrator always works with a monitor who manages the technical aspects of the recording as the narrator reads. The reviewer works independently, listening carefully to ensure the recording follows the text and logging edits, which are returned to the narrator and monitor for correction. Recordings are also evaluated by a panel that judges the finished material for overall quality of voice, expressiveness, and clarity.  When accepted, the recording is outsourced to be edited for use in a special playback device.  Finally, it is encrypted and uploaded to the National Library Service via BARD (Braille & Audio Reading Download) which allows patrons to download to their own audio device. The completed “talking book”, is catalogued and circulated through CT LAB in Middletown. 

To ensure quality and continuity, all volunteers are asked to remain with a project until it is completed, which can take from a few months to over a year depending on the book. Although training is provided, all positions except narrator require some computer literacy. 

Please contact Valerie Annis if you are interested in more information. If you wish to volunteer, indicate your preferences in your response. If you or someone you know wants an application to initiate free talking book service, include a mailing address. Donations are always appreciated.

Valerie Annis, Coordinator, Talking Books CT/CVSBH-Southbury Studio

Southbury Library, 100 Poverty Road, Southbury CT 06488

203-262-0626 X145 Studio