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NLS Narrators

Watch your favorite talking book narrators at this year’s National Book Festival! This past September, voice actors Michael Kramer, Kimberly Schraf, and Dawn Ursula gathered in DC for a panel on the art of creating an audiobook. Complete with surprising anecdotes from their decades of recording work and entertaining live narrations, their session will give you a new appreciation for the audiobooks you know and love.

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Do you have a few favorite narrators? You can search for them as easily as you can your favorite authors. Visit our catalog and BARD to learn more or contact your network library for help.

While the NLS talking-book program primarily contracts with commercial recording companies for book production, the program also produces a number of titles each year at a professional in-house studio. Staying involved in the process of producing talking books helps NLS keep abreast of evolving techniques and technology. It is common that persons who narrate NLS talking books also pursue other activities using their voice. Many narrators are professional actors and/or voice-over artists who have won awards for skills in their fields.

NLS narrators also often contribute to Say How?: A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures, which lists over 11,000 names, and the ABC Book: Acronyms, Brand Names, and Corporations. Longtime narrator Ray Hagen was instrumental in the initiation and development of these great resources; now everyone has access to them via the internet. They are meant to be living documents, so please send addition or corrections to Laura Giannarelli at [email protected].

Who Currently Narrates at NLS?

Learn more about some of our narrators who have shared their stories.

Jamila Bey
Ryan Dalusung
Anne Damman
Nicola Daval
Laura Giannarelli
Don Hagen
Ray Hagen
Brit Herring
Michael Kramer
Bruce Nelson
Paige O'Malley
Barbara Rappaport
Jon Reynolds
Michael Russotto
Kimberly Schraf
Erik Synnestvedt
Gary Telles
Dawn Ursula

How Can I Become an NLS Narrator?

The NLS in-house studio hires new narrators infrequently. When a position opens, it will be announced through multiple channels.

Many network libraries use volunteer readers to record materials for local use, some of which is circulated to the larger NLS network. You may contact a network library to see if they have current openings for volunteer narrators. Directory of Producers of Accessible Reading Materials may list other organizations that use volunteer narrators.

Production studios awarded NLS contracts generally recruit and hire professionals highly skilled in the art of audiobook narration. Currently, NLS has recording contracts with American Printing House for the Blind, Potomac Talking Book Services, Benefit Media, Books to Life, and Talking Books Publishers.

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