Connections to Wolfner Library Writing Program

Wolfner Library had five entries for the Connections to Wolfner Library Writing Program.  These poems and essays were written in honor of Wolfner Library's 80th Anniversary.  Excerpt of these works appeared in the Fall 2018 Edition of Wolfner News.


“Wolfner Library” by Emily Jack


Wonderful books,





Empowering me to



Large Print for

Individuals with

Blindness and low vision,

Recommended reading lists


Ready for



 “My Wolfner Library Connection” by Anna Hyman


The first time Wolfner Library and I connected, I was an 18 year old with attitude.


A counselor for the blind came to visit me and I treated him down right rude.


He’d try convincing me that I’d enjoy listening to Wolfner Library talking books.  I’d given him some disbelieving looks.


That day the counselor did leave a talking book behind in hopes that I’d give listening a try.  One day I did and afterward I had a good cry for I knew what I’d been missing and how wrong I’d been.


A whole new world opened up to me then,  Over the years since I’ve read many books in categories from romance to science fiction and from cookbooks and biographies to travel adventures in nonfiction.  Wolfner Library and talking books has truly enriched my life.


Another important connection for me with Wolfner Library has been “the Wolfner Newsletter.”


Through the information provided in the Wolfner newsletter, I’ve obtained help that has made my life better.


One program that I read about results in my obtaining some badly needed low vision aids.  With these aids some life altering changes were made.  I became self-sufficient and more independent.


Most recently in Wolfner News I benefitted from the information provided about affordable internet access (the TAP program) and where to find special needs user devices.


Wolfner Library News announces seasonal reading contests, recommended reading lists and the newest talking books available-great for us series fans.


I look forward to reading each publication of the Wolfner Newsletter.  Many times it has made aspects of my life better.  It has become an important and useful tool.  As a Wolfner Library connection, the Wolfner News quarterly newsletter is to me super cool!


I’d like to thank Wolfner Library for many years of multiple services.  Wolfner has made a real and significant difference in a lot of our lives.


Congrats in your 80th anniversary Wolfner Library!


“Thank You, Wolfner” by Mary Holt


Wolfner Library-what joy you bring

To those who can not see

The books I love

Thanks for sending them free to me.

I am never without a book to hear,

You should all be proud for helping so many,

I know it means so much to me.

From the time I was ten,

I loved going to our library

I spent hours there,

I love remembering then.

I cannot see now, but thanks to you,

I can still “read” when I want to.


 “My Friends, The Story Characters” by Jennifer Skeens


One by one they arrive.  Shyly, quietly bouncing out excitedly, or stepping out confidently, from the digital book they slip.  Characters-ready to take the stage, speak there lines, and act out the story from the book.  They are there to be my friends and to keep me company as the narrative unfolds.  Each time I push the read or green button the characters are ready.  “Hello, here we are again.”


When it is time to close the book, the characters quietly fold themselves away, ready for the next reader.  I sadly bid them, “good bye.”


I then start a new book.  “Hello, here we are….”


“Life with Wolfner” by Chris Mitchell


Before I finished second grade, I became a patron of Wolfner Library back in the 1970’s, when it was called Wolfner Memorial Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  While my younger brother was playing with his Fisher-Price record player, Wolfner provided me with a real record player and started to send me books on record format.


I would eagerly wait for mailman Clarence to come to my home with the big black box that contained a book on record.  I would eagerly open the container to see what adventure I would be taken on next.


Every record arrived carefully packaged in bubble wrap.  I recall trying to resist the temptation of popping every single bubble on that plastic sheet before returning the record back to the library.  Sorry, Wolfner, temptation always won and nearly every record I returned arrived at your library with all the bubbles popped.


Before I finished grade school Wolfner transitioned from records to cassette tapes.  My parents returned my record player when the new special tape player arrived ahead of the books on tape.


The tapes arrived in a small, rectangular, plastic green box.  Although I was disappointed that the books on tape arrived without bubble wrap, I was not at all disappointed in the improved sound quality of the new adventures I was exploring.


Throughout my childhood years, I solved mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys and even one Nancy Drew.  I time traveled back to the 19th century and became friends with Laura Ingalls through all the Little House books.


Before completing grade school, I had fallen in love with the St. Louis Cardinals via the voice of the late great Jack Buck and Mike Shannon on KMOX radio.  I knew that I had zero chance to play professional baseball due to my disabilities and my lack of any athletic ability.  I could live the dream through reading – and Wolfner had a book for me.  Although I do not recall the title, I still remember reading to book about the life of a baseball player, both on and off the field.


During my middle school years, my tastes in books changed.  I started to read books that adults would read.  Since I was wanting to be a funny person, I read a few books from Erma Bombeck.  Through Wolfner I learned a valuable life lesson from Mrs. Bombeck about enjoying the moment that still guides me today.


The one book I received from Wolfner the year before high school made the biggest impact on my life was “White Coat, White Cane: The Extra Ordinary Odyssey of a Blind Physician” (DB 14361).


I read “white Coat, White Cane” many years before the ADA laws and reasonable accommodations were even thought about.  Back in the late 1970’s, being legally blind “White Coat, White Cane” gave me the belief that despite my visual limitations, I can do anything that my sighted peers could do.  After all, if a blind person could success in the visually demanding and challenging career of a physician, I could do anything with my life.


After high school and a year into college, something changed in my life – my address.  I relocated to California and was forced to change from Wolfner to the state of California library.  Although they also had books on tape, it was not the same as being a patron of Wolfner.


Nearly twenty years later, now married and with a second disability – a spinal cord injury from an ischemic stroke, I returned to my home state of Missouri.  One of the first things I did when I returned was the re-apply to be a patron with Wolfner.


I worked with a wonderful read advisor, Diann Stark. Mrs. Stark was very warm and friendly.  She helped me through the process of re-applying for membership to the library.  Once she received all my paperwork she quickly send out the newest book reader, the digital book player, and assisted me in learning about BARD.


My tastes in books have changed from when I was a child, a youth and a teen.  I now enjoy reading spiritual and inspirational books along with memoirs of people living beyond any obstacles to achieve their dreams.  Recently I have read the Michelle Knight story “Finding me: a decade of darkness, a life reclaimed: a memoir of the Cleveland kidnappings” DB 78946, “Stronger” by Jeff Bauman DB 78603, “Beyond belief: finding the strength to come back” by Josh Hamilton DB 68489, a few books by Joel Steen and several Chicken Soul for the Soul books.


It had been more than four decades since I received my first book from Wolfner.  Through the years technology has changed resulting in an improved sound quality and clarity of each book this reader enjoys.


What I like most about Wolfner is that every volunteer who lends his or her voice to the recording of a book brings that story to life.


Every fiction book is read in a way that I can “see” in my mind the images in every scene.  When I was reading Laura Ingalls Wilder book “By the Shores of Silver Creek[sic]”[1] (DB21197) from the Little House on the Prairie series, reader Laura Giannarelli so vividly described the train station, the train and the train ride I felt I was sitting on the train across from Laura Ingalls and her family.


Every nonfiction book I’ve read has been read by a volunteer who conveys the same passion in their voice that the author of the book put into his or her own words when the book was written.


Being a patron of Wolfner for nearly 50 years has been a pleasurable experience.  I hope I live long enough to continue being a patron of the library for another 50 years!

 [1] Should be “On the Shores of Silver Lake.”