Arts and Culture

You’ve heard Jack Fox’s voice before, even if you don’t know him by name.

Think back to the last time you were at the airport — any airport, really. Remember that voice that alerts you to the fact that “the moving walkway is now ending?” That’s Jack Fox.

But Fox also uses his voice for something a little closer to home. He is one of about 30 narrators who record in Louisville at the American Printing House for the Blind for the National Library Service’s “Talking Books” program.

It’s a partnership that has been going strong since the 1930’s, and this weekend, the public is invited to learn all about it at APH’s “That All May Read” reception.

In 1936, APH produced its first audio book — “Gulliver’s Travels” — for the program. Shortly thereafter, the service also established the motto “That All May Read.” Since then, these “talking books” have touched the lives of thousands who are visually impaired, blind, or have a physical impairment that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page.

Mike Hudson is the director of the APH museum. He says this weekend’s event will give attendees an opportunity to learn a complete history of the program.

“Today there are regional libraries all around the country that circulate recorded books — of course today they are digital, but they were originally on 33-⅓ rpm records,” Hudson says. “So what we will be doing in our program is tracing the development of talking books.”

Today, APH has 11 recording studios in which their narrators read for two-hour sessions (the average amount of time it takes to get through many novels).

Many narrators who record for APH also use their voices professionally elsewhere, like Jack Fox. There’s Scott Reynolds of  WAVE-TV, WFPL’s own weekend host Jill Fox, and Barry Bernson, formerly of WDRB.

“Our narrators are really the heart of our talking book program,” Hudson says. “They are the ones who bring those books to life.”

“That All May Read” will take place Saturday, Sept. 24. It begins at 10:30 am. More information is available here. 

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.