Secretary Of State
The Secretary of State's Office has many diverse responsibilities, all linked by the common theme of information. The office is responsible for collecting, compiling, storing and publishing a variety of state documents. The Secretary of State, as keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, authenticates official acts of the Governor. In addition, the Secretary of State serves as the chief elections official in Missouri.
Functions of the Office are divided into six areas: Elections, Securities, Business Services, State Library, Records Services, and Administrative Services. The Executive Deputy Secretary of State is charged by law with implementing the policies and procedures of the secretary, and supervising day-to-day operations of the office. There are approximately 260 employees of the secretary of state's office.
The major functions of the State Library are to provide direct library and information service in support of the executive and legislative branches of Missouri state government, to provide library service to blind and physically handicapped residents of Missouri and to promote the development and improvement of library services throughout the state.
Sara Ann Parker is the Missouri State Librarian. She began her duties as State Librarian in June of 1995. Parker oversees divisions for library development, reference services, and the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library.
Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library
The mission of the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library is to provide informational and recreational books and magazines on cassette, on record, and in braille formats free-of-charge to Missourians who are unable to use standard print materials due to a physical disability. Wolfner Library is part of the National Library Service (NLS) national network of cooperative libraries. The purpose of the network is to make recorded and braille books and magazines available in a manner which is both accessible and convenient for the readers who use the library. Therefore, circulation is done through the mail.
Before 1924, the St. Louis Public Library loaned braille books to the adult blind. In 1931, Congress passed the Pratt-Smoot Bill, and eighteen (18) regional libraries were selected, including the St. Louis library, to become the National Library Service for the Blind. In 1937, private citizens raised funds for a building, which was dedicated in memory of Dr. Henry L. Wolfner, a noted St. Louis eye specialist. In 1977, Wolfner Library became a division of the Missouri State Library. In 1985, the library was moved to Jefferson City.
In the ensuing years, additional federal laws broadened the eligibility for the library to include children and the physically challenged. The book and magazine collections were made more accessible by providing materials not only in braille, but also on record and on cassette. To assist readers in reading the "talking" (recorded) books, Wolfner Library loans playback machines at no charge.
Books are available through Wolfner Library in braille, on cassette and on record. In addition, the library houses a small collection of large print books, mainly children’s titles. Books in any or all of these media can be borrowed. Wolfner Library’s cassettes and records are recorded at a slower speed than commercial recordings; the cassettes will not play on a standard cassette player. Also, the cassettes are recorded on four tracks. This means that there are four (4) sides to every cassette. Wolfner Library loans special equipment on which to play recorded books. There is no charge or deposit required for the equipment.