One of the more interesting programs that Lions Clubs support is the Kansas Audio-Reader Network in Lawrence.

One of the more interesting programs that Lions Clubs support is the Kansas Audio-Reader Network in Lawrence. It is a reading and information service for the blind, visually impaired, and print-disabled persons in our region. If you know of someone who for any reason has difficulty reading normal printed material, then they need to enroll in this free program.

Everything in this article is from their brochure or you can access it online at I believe the oldest service, which started in 1971, is the Audio-Reader service by which people read daily and weekend newspapers, magazines, and best-selling books over secure signals received by special radios through this program. Now their services are also available online via the internet. Once you are registered for the service, you will receive a program schedule.
You can also use the telephone reader service that offers dial-up recordings of selected publications that are read by both human and computer voices. They read the Kansas City Star, Leavenworth Times, and many other regional and national publications, newsletters, and bulletins. The telephone reader also provides recently broadcast radio shows and readings from magazines, newspapers, etc.

After dialing, the listener can navigate directly to articles using the touch-tone buttons and you can control reading speed and volume. They recommend using the speaker phone or a headset if you are going to use this function regularly.

They also have Special Request Recordings by which you can have documents read to you. You can request newspapers not already covered, appliance manuals, recipes, medical information and newsletters. The recordings are made on CDs or you can access them on the telephone reader system. For information about this service call 785-864-2685.

Another really cool feature is for visually-impaired persons attending live events at selected venues in Lawrence and Kansas City. By wearing small headphones, listeners will hear audio-reader volunteers read from the printed program and describe visual details including how the stage looks, where the actors are moving, etc. For this service, call 785-864-8604.

If you go to Lawrence and visit the Garden of the Senses next to the Baehr Audio-Reader building, you can experience a garden designed to stimulate your senses. It is fully accessible to the visually impaired and has many interesting features. You can even schedule a tour or buy a commemorative engraved brick for the garden walkway.
All of this is available free of charge to Kansas and Missouri residents thanks in part to donations from Lions Clubs in the region. I recommend that you might consider making a donation to the service and that you certainly should contact them if you know anyone who could benefit.

I suspect that this service may come as a surprise to many persons who write for or to the Leavenworth Times. Trying to be as nice as possible, it is my observation that anything that you write is more of a reflection on who you are than on whomever you may be writing about on any day. Free speech is a wonderful thing, but just remember that the reading or listening audience may be a lot larger and widespread than you thought.

If you are aware of anyone who could benefit from this free service, please put them into contact with the Audio Reader Service and please make a donation so that this service will continue far into the future.

Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.